White Sox: Catching up with each year’s top prospect this century

Phil Watson
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /
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White Sox reliever Bobby Jenks in 2010. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

White Sox top prospects: Jared Mitchell, OF, 2010

Jared Mitchell was a story of what could have been. Mitchell was part of national champion baseball and football teams at LSU before he was selected by the White Sox 23rd overall in the 2009 draft. Entering 2010, he was the highest-ranked prospect in the Chicago organization and was No. 55 on the top 100.

But in spring training that year, Mitchell tore a tendon in his left ankle while making a catch in the outfield. He eventually had surgery and missed the entire season. While he came back in 2011, his bat took a lot longer to return.

He hit .222 at High-A Winston-Salem in 2011, .237 across Double-A and Triple-A in 2012 and .167 in 2013 as he went from Triple-A back to Double-A.

Released in May 2015 by the White Sox, Mitchell spent time with the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees organizations, released by the Yankees in May 2016. He has played independent ball since then including spending last season with the Eastern Reyes del Tigre in the Constellation Energy League (yes, that is a thing).

Other White Sox in top 100 in 2010: C Tyler Flowers (No. 60), RHP Dan Hudson (No. 66)

White Sox top prospects: Gordon Beckham, SS, 2009

Things started so well for Gordon Beckham, taken eighth overall by the White Sox out of the University of Georgia in the 2008 draft. He hit .394 in the Arizona Fall League that year, hit .299 in 38 games with Double-A Birmingham in 2009 before getting a promotion. After going 13-for-28 in seven games, Beckham was Chicago-bound in early June.

Opening 2009 as the White Sox top prospect, and No. 20 on the top 100, he hit .270 with an .808 OPS in 103 games and 430 plate appearances, with 28 doubles, 14 homers and 63 RBI while finishing fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting in spite of the late start.

As it turned out, that was the high point. Beckham’s hitting slipped throughout most of his tenure with the White Sox. In August 2014, Beckham cleared waivers and was traded to the Los Angeles Angels, with Chicago getting minor-league Yency Almonte in return the following February.

Beckham had already re-signed with the White Sox by then, returning on a one-year free-agent deal, but after hitting .209 in 237 plate appearances, Chicago didn’t pursue him. In parts of seven seasons, with the Sox, Beckham had 6.9 WAR, hitting .242 with a .674 OPS in 839 games, hitting 69 home runs.

He has since played with the Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers and spent last season at the New York Mets’ alternate training site.

Other White Sox in top 100 in 2009: 3B/OF Dayan Viciedo (No. 61), LHP Aaron Poreda (No. 63), C Tyler Flowers (No. 99)

White Sox top prospects: Aaron Poreda, LHP, 2008

The White Sox took Aaron Poreda 25th overall in the 2007 draft out of the University of San Francisco and he made his debut about two years later in June 2009.

He put together 0.4 WAR in 10 appearances with Chicago, with a 2.45 ERA and 1.545 WHIP in 11 innings before he was dealt to the San Diego Padres with Clayton Richard, Adam Russell and Dexter Carter in exchange for Jake Peavy.

Poreda made four appearances with the Padres and pitched out of the Texas Rangers bullpen 26 times in 2014. Released by Texas in November of that year, Poreda pitched two seasons in Japan before he was let go by the Yomiuri Giants in 2016.

Other White Sox in top 100 in 2008: None

White Sox top prospects: Ryan Sweeney, OF, 2007

Ryan Sweeney had bounced around the White Sox organizational rankings but emerged as the No. 1 prospect in 2007 after making his big-league debut the previous September. Ranked No. 55 on the top 100 in 2007, Sweeney had been selected in the second round by the White Sox in 2003 out of Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

He only played 33 games with the White Sox across the 2006-07 seasons, hitting .213 in 84 plate appearances with a .538 OPS. Sweeney hit one homer before he was traded with Fautino De Los Santos and Gio Gonzalez to the Oakland Athletics in the January 2008 swap that brought Nick Swisher to Chicago.

Sweeney spent four years in Oakland — two as a regular — before playing a season with the Boston Red Sox and two with the Chicago Cubs. His last major-league appearance was in 2014.

Other White Sox in top 100 in 2007: 3B Josh Fields (No. 45, but ranked behind Sweeney on the organizational list), LHP John Danks (No. 56), LHP Gio Gonzalez (No. 72)

White Sox top prospects: Bobby Jenks, RHP, 2006

Bobby Jenks had been a top-100 prospect before falling off the list in 2005, just after he had been claimed off waivers by the White Sox from the Anaheim Angels. Jenks, a massive right-hander at 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, had been taken by the Angels in the fifth round out of high school in 2000 and struggled as a starter for five seasons in the minors.

The White Sox turned him into a closer in 2005 and he saved 19 games in 35 appearances at Double-A Birmingham before earning a call-up in early July. Jenks made 19 appearances with six saves the rest of the way and was an All-Star in both 2006 and 2007, saving 41 and 40 games, respectively.

In six seasons with Chicago, Jenks notched 8.3 WAR, saving 173 games and putting up a 3.40 ERA and 1.206 WHIP in 341.2 innings over 329 appearances. His career went south from there. Non-tendered by the White Sox in December 2010, he signed with the Boston Red Sox. putting up a 6.32 ERA and 2.234 WHIP (not a typo) in 15.2 innings in 2011.

He suffered a career-ending back injury, winning a $5.1 million settlement after suing a surgeon who performed spinal decompression surgery in December 2011.

Other White Sox in top 100 in 2006: OF Brian Anderson (No. 51), OF Ryan Sweeney (No. 92)

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