It was with good reason that the Chicago White Sox were widely praised as the winners of the 2016 Winter Meetings.Seeing an opportunity to build for the future by capitalizing on this year's dearth of free agents, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn dealt lefty ace Chris Sale to the
It was with good reason that the Chicago White Sox were widely praised as the winners of the 2016 Winter Meetings.
Seeing an opportunity to build for the future by capitalizing on this year's dearth of free agents, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn dealt lefty ace Chris Sale to the Red Sox and outfielder Adam Eaton to the Nationals on back-to-back days, respectively. In the process, the organization added tremendous upside to a farm system that had been lacking in that area, particularly in its upper levels.
In return for Sale, the White Sox received a pair of Top 100 prospects in Yoán Moncada, MLBPipeline.com's No. 1 overall prospect, and right-hander Michael Kopech (No. 30), as well as center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe and righty Victor Diaz, two more young, high-ceiling talents. The deal marked the first time in at least 25 years that baseball's top overall prospect had been traded, based on the rankings done by MLB, MLB Pipeline and Baseball America.
The following day proved equally eventful for the South Siders, as they shipped Eaton to the Nationals for Lucas Giolito, MLBPipeline.com's top-ranked pitching prospect (No. 3 overall), Reynaldo López (No. 38 overall) and 2016 first-rounder Dane Dunning.
Moncada and Giolito are clearly the best prospects to be traded since the offseason began, but with plenty of other young talent dealt, here's a look at the 10 best prospects moved, six of whom ended up with the White Sox:
1. Yoan Moncada, 2B/3B, White Sox (from Red Sox)
The recipient of the largest signing bonus in history for an amateur player ($31.5 million) when Boston signed him in 2015, Moncada hit .294/.407/.511 with 15 home runs and 45 stolen bases in the Minors last season in his first full pro campaign before debuting with the Red Sox in early September. The 21-year-old switch-hitter has easy 20-20 potential and arguably the best combination of tools among all prospects, though he still has some gains to make on both sides of the ball.
2. Lucas Giolito, RHP, White Sox (from Nationals)
The White Sox landed a team's top-ranked prospect for a second straight day with the acquisition of Giolito, whose inconsistent velocity and subpar command last season during a 21 1/3-inning trial in the big leagues clearly lowered his value within the Nationals' front office. Though his star has indeed faded a bit, the 22-year-old righty is still in the conversation for baseball's top pitching prospect heading into 2017, and it's far too soon to consider writing off his longstanding projection as a frontline starter.
3. Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox (from Red Sox)
That Hahn was insistent on getting Kopech in any deal with Boston speaks to how much the 20-year-old right-hander's stock has taken off in the past year. The No. 33 overall pick in the 2014 Draft dominated (13.7 K/9, .156 BAA) across two Class A leagues in 2016 and then turned in an impressive campaign in the Arizona Fall League. Kopech's fastball consistently touches triple digits, sitting comfortably in the 95-97 mph range with late movement, and he complements his heater with a low-90s slider and a changeup that should be at least a Major League-average offering. Combined with his strong, athletic frame and durability, all the ingredients are there for a future front-of-the-rotation piece.
4. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP, White Sox (from Nationals)
The arrival of Giolito in 2016 may have generated more hype, but Lopez proved the more effective pitcher of the two for the Nationals. A more consistent and linear delivery resulted in improved strike-throwing ability for the 22-year-old righty, who continues to miss bats with his elite fastball, excellent curve and improved changeup. And after he pitched meaningful games for Washington down the stretch, Lopez stands to be the first of Chicago's offseason acquisitions to crack the rotation in 2017.
5. Mauricio Dubon, SS/2B, Brewers (from Red Sox)
Signed for $75,000 as a 26th-round pick in 2013, Dubon made it to Double-A in 2016 before his 22nd birthday and proceeded to hit .339/.371/.538 with 32 extra-base hits in 62 games. In early December, the Red Sox packaged him with Travis Shaw and Josh Pennington in a deal to Milwaukee for Tyler Thornburg. While the Honduran-born shortstop may never offer much in the way of power, his other four tools each grade as at least above-average and fuel his potential as a top-of-the-order, up-the-middle asset.
6. Luis Alexander Basabe, OF, White Sox (from Red Sox)
After Moncada, Basabe, a 20-year-old, switch-hitting center fielder, owned arguably the best collection of tools in Boston's system, all of which were on display during his 2016 full-season debut. He may be raw and need time to develop, but if it all clicks, Basabe could eventually be a dynamic offensive presence capable of sticking in center.
7. Dane Dunning, RHP, White Sox (from Nationals)
The least-experienced hurler acquired in the Eaton deal, Dunning spent much of his pro debut with Class A Short-Season Auburn after Washington drafted him 29th overall and gave him a $2 million bonus. While he pitched largely out of the bullpen last spring for the Florida Gators, Dunning absolutely profiles as a starter, with three pitches that are at least Major League average and suggest a middle-of-the-rotation future.
8. Albert Abreu, RHP, Yankees (from Astros)
Abreu, 21, joined the Yankees in November, when he was dealt to New York with Jorge Guzman in a trade for Brian McCann. The quick-armed righty will run his fastball up to 99 mph and sits comfortably at 93-97 mph, backing up his heater with a pair of breaking balls as well as a changeup that will flash plus. Abreu has the chance to pitch in the front half of a big league rotation based solely on stuff, and his control and command should improve as he learns to better repeat his delivery.
9. Mitch Haniger, OF, Mariners (from D-backs)
Originally drafted 38th overall by Milwaukee in 2012, Haniger didn't blossom as a prospect until '15, following a trade to Arizona. He was the D-backs' Minor League Player of the Year in 2016 and received his first taste of the big leagues while hitting a career-high 30 home runs between the Minors and Majors, only to be traded to Seattle in November as part of the deal for Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte. At 25, Haniger's power and solid defense could help him carve out a role as a productive fourth outfielder, perhaps even more.
10. Luis Torrens, C, Padres (from Reds)
The Reds nabbed Torrens from the Yankees with the third pick in this year's Rule 5 Draft and immediately flipped him to the Padres in exchange for third baseman Josh VanMeter. Signed for $1.3 million out of Venezuela in 2012, Torrens, 20, is an athletic, defensive-minded catcher who also shows some promise at the plate. He sat out 2015 following surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, then returned and hit .230 in 40 games at Class A Charleston this summer. While defense could help Torrens stick as the third catcher on the Padres' roster, he's likely to face an uphill battle at the plate against big league pitching.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.