CHICAGO -- No definitive news in relation to the White Sox finalizing their pursuit of premium free agents Manny Machado or Bryce Harper made its way to SoxFest at the Hilton Chicago this weekend.So, instead of dealing in the hypothetical, let's talk about something real and impactful in relation to
CHICAGO -- No definitive news in relation to the White Sox finalizing their pursuit of premium free agents Manny Machado or Bryce Harper made its way to SoxFest at the Hilton Chicago this weekend.
So, instead of dealing in the hypothetical, let's talk about something real and impactful in relation to the South Siders. As they enter Year 3 of their well put-together rebuild, the White Sox continue to have one of the best Minor League systems in baseball.
That point clearly was reinforced by MLB Pipeline's Saturday night announcement of the game's Top 100 Prospects prior to the 2019 season, which featured six from the White Sox. That group ran from outfielder Eloy Jimenez at No. 3 down to right-handed pitcher Dane Dunning at No. 80, and certainly didn't catch anyone who knows this team by surprise.
"We have a good group of players that continue to develop," said White Sox director of player development Chris Getz, before taking part in the final SoxFest seminar Sunday. "We've acquired them in different ways: the Draft, international signing, trades.
"It's coming together. A lot of these guys had good years last year and they're excited to continue that in 2019. It's a testament to all of our scouts, internationally, domestically. Our acquisition process is sound when you have players who have been recognized like they have been."
If you go by prospect points, meaning 98 points awarded for Jimenez at No. 3 and right down the line, the White Sox sit third with 397 behind the Padres (574) and Braves (429). They had 359 from the Top 100 in '18 and 379 in '17, when this rebuild first took shape.
Current players in the Top 100 such as Jimenez, Dylan Cease (No. 21) and Nick Madrigal (No. 47) could graduate to the White Sox this season, while Michael Kopech (No. 18) certainly will move off this list once he works his way back from Tommy John surgery, which cost the talented right-hander the '19 campaign, and outfielder Luis Robert (No. 40) isn't far behind. Their system standing, in turn, figures to change.
Take the Cubs, as an example. They had 393 prospect points in '14 and 424 in '15, but have dropped to 0 and 8, respectively, in the last two years. They also have a World Series title (2016) and four straight playoff appearances, aided by their own young crew and the trade of top prospects to bring in key veterans for playoff pushes.
So even if the White Sox don't convert on Machado and Harper, they have prospect currency to make big moves. Another model is the Astros, who have gone from rebuild to champion, but still had 307 prospect points in the latest rankings.
"Regardless of what is happening at the Major League level, it doesn't change our approach when it comes to development," Getz said. "We want to bring in as many quality players and develop them as best we can. The more we can provide the Major League team or [manager] Rick [Renteria] and the rest of the group to make decisions to help improve our Major League club or however we want to use some of those players, we'll continue to do that.
"When trades are made with some of our Minor League guys, it's still kind of a marker of success. But we need to continue to draft well and develop. Right now, we feel very good where our players are at. We've been recognized here with some of these publications, but we'll continue to grind because there will be setbacks, some won't perform at the pace we like, so we will continue to push."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.