PEORIA, Ariz. -- The White Sox have options from within their system that they did not have at this same point last season."It's fair to say that we are not quite where we want to be in terms of being completely self-sustaining," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "I
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The White Sox have options from within their system that they did not have at this same point last season.
"It's fair to say that we are not quite where we want to be in terms of being completely self-sustaining," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "I do feel that the system is taking great strides in the last two to three years, whether it's from some of the premium talent we've been able to procure from the top of the Draft contributing -- or being near ready to contribute -- or even from the other extreme, the work that Marco [Paddy] and his staff has done in Latin America to add a level of depth that we didn't have previously."
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"Especially at the premium positions, we are starting to get a little more depth. It has shown the last couple of years," said White Sox director of player development Nick Capra. "Our system is getting stronger and it hopefully continues to do that over the next few years."
Most of the Spring Training focus has fallen upon right-handed pitcher Carson Fulmer and shortstop Tim Anderson, the team's top two prospects per MLBPipeline. Anderson was reassigned to Minor League camp Thursday, but as his defense develops, he could help the team as soon as this season. He figures to be the team's shortstop going into 2017.
Fulmer, who starts in the night portion of Saturday's split doubleheader, has been extremely impressive with his demeanor and his raw stuff on the mound. He will open the season as part of Double-A Birmingham's rotation but could be one of the first callups when the White Sox need pitching help.
"I feel like I get better each day I'm here at the field," Fulmer said. "It's a great opportunity to help advance my skills and mindsets each and every day."
"There's a handful of guys to come up and got to show some of their skills here at the big league level. It's exciting for us at the Minor League level," Capra said. "All of them have [performed] fairly well, if not more."
Younger players who can fill a niche, at the very least, sit behind the top prospects. Jason Coats has been a proven run producer at every level, and Jacob May almost certainly will contribute in the big leagues soon because of his exceptional outfield defense and ability to use his speed.
This entire system won't get any top-rated plaudits; in fact, the White Sox usually don't crack the Top 20. But with three picks in the Top 50 during the 2016 MLB Draft and then continued work on the international front by Paddy, the White Sox are moving forward.
"Certainly we are pleased with the direction we are headed and progress made," Hahn said.
"We know what we have in the system, regardless of who is grading it out here or there," Capra said. "What our scouts get us is what we work with and we try to make every one of them the same. We try to make everybody better and get to the next level each and every year."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.