What you need to know about the newest White Sox

July 29th, 2023

CHICAGO -- In Edgar Quero, the White Sox acquired their catcher of the future. And that future might not be as far away as expected for the 20-year-old switch-hitter. In Ky Bush, they got a potential rotation member who might not be all that much farther away.

The two came to Chicago from the Angels in a trade for right-handed starter Lucas Giolito and righty reliever Reynaldo López on Wednesday. In MLB Pipeline's rankings, Quero is the No. 65 prospect overall and he moved into the No. 2 spot of the White Sox Top 30.

They also acquired some prospects from the Dodgers and Astros in the trades involving Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly and Kendall Graveman.

Here's a closer look at the club's new prospect arrivals.

C , Triple-A Charlotte
Pipeline scouting report: A part-time player in his first two college seasons at California, Lee had a huge year in 2019 batting behind No. 3 overall pick Andrew Vaughn. Most clubs regarded Lee as more of a third-round talent, but the Astros loved his massive raw power and arm strength and made him a surprise first-round pick, signing him for a below-slot $1.75 million at No. 32. He made his big league debut with 12 games with Houston in 2022 but spent all of this season in Triple-A before getting traded to the White Sox for Graveman.

The Astros worked with Lee to quiet his load and shorten his stride after he turned pro, but he was still an extreme power-over-hit guy before 2023. After previously trying to get the most out of his well above-average raw power by launching balls to his pull side, he has settled down this season. Though he's making more contact, he's doing a lot less damage.

Lee didn't become a full-time catcher until 2019 and has yet to start more than 73 games behind the plate in a pro season. While he's quicker and more athletic than most backstops and features plus-plus arm strength, his receiving and blocking skills draw mixed reviews. He has done a better job in 2023 and the consensus is that he's an average defender.

Organizational fit: Lee is working his way back from an oblique issue but could be joining the White Sox soon with a possible stop at Charlotte first. White Sox first baseman Vaughn and Lee were roommates at Cal and Vaughn gave general manager Rick Hahn a strong recommendation for his friend. Lee will be in the catcher's mix for '24.

ETA: 2023

RHP Jordan Leasure, Triple-A Charlotte
Pipeline scouting report: Leasure spent five seasons at NCAA Division II Tampa, missing 2019 following Tommy John surgery and losing most of 2020 to the pandemic. Though his fastball sat in the low 90s, he stood out with his athleticism and a 60/4 K/BB ratio in 2021, so Los Angeles signed him for $125,000 in the 14th round. He struck out 153 in 104 innings and limited opponents to a .188 average in parts of three seasons in the Dodgers system before joining the White Sox in the Lynn/Kelly trade.

Los Angeles helped Leasure improve the velocity and shape of his fastball, which has obliterated Double-A hitters this season. Not only does it sit at 97-98 mph and reach triple digits, but it also comes out of a low release height with plenty of extension, so its gets on hitters very quickly with tremendous carry up in the strike zone. He's making progress with an upper-80s slider that flashes two-plane depth and could become a plus offering with more consistency.

Leasure used a changeup in the past but now attacks hitters with just his fastball and slider. His athleticism should allow him to provide more regular strikes than he does, and his slider can get hit hard when he doesn't execute it well. If he can continue to refine his slider and improve his control and command, he eventually could fill a late-inning role in Chicago.

Organizational fit: The White Sox are challenging Leasure early by sending him to Charlotte. He could be part of their Major League staff as soon as next year.

ETA: 2024

RHP Nick Nastrini, Double-A Birmingham
Pipeline scouting report: Nastrini began 2021 as one of the best college pitching prospects on the West Coast, but he lost the strike zone and fell out of UCLA's rotation after just five starts. The Dodgers knew the local product well enough to believe that his control issues were fixable, a notion that grew stronger after he performed well in a pre-Draft workout and with the summer Santa Barbara Foresters, so they signed him for an over-slot $497,500 as a fourth-rounder. He led the Los Angeles system in strikeouts (169), strikeout rate (13.0 per nine innings) and opponent average (.180) while shooting to Double-A in his first full season, then went to the White Sox in a trade for Lynn and Kelly midway through his second.

Nastrini worked with a 92-94 mph fastball in college but has operated at 94-96 and reached 98 with outstanding carry and pitch characteristics as a pro. His mid-80s slider can be unhittable and features high spin rates, as does his 78-82 mph curveball, which also shows flashes of becoming a plus pitch but doesn't land in the zone as consistently. He's showing increased feel for a mid-80s changeup that bottoms out at the plate and utilized it more often in 2022.

There's no doubt that Nastrini's stuff gives him the upside of a frontline starter, but the question is will he throw enough strikes to reach his ceiling. He does have a repeatable delivery, and some minor adjustments to his tempo and catcher targeting helped him reduce his walk rate from 7.4 per nine innings at UCLA to 4.2 in his first full pro season. He'll be an asset in the rotation if he can develop average control and decent command, and still could be an impact reliever if he doesn't.

Organizational fit: Nastrini is viewed as having a solid four-pitch mix, with command of all four. He has significant upside with the ability to continue his advancement toward Chicago. He's a mid-rotation candidate with the potential of a ceiling for more.

ETA: 2025

Edgar Quero, C, Double-A Birmingham
Pipeline scouting report: A regular on Cuban youth teams, Quero left the island in 2019 and signed with the Angels for $200,000 in February 2021. After a promising pro debut, he won MVP honors in the High-A California League in 2022, slashing .312/.435/.530 as a 19-year-old. He jumped to Double-A this season and was the third-youngest regular in the Southern League before being dealt to Chicago.

A switch-hitter with more power from the left side of the plate, Quero barrels up the ball consistently from both sides. He has an advanced approach with excellent plate discipline, drawing a ton of walks in the early stages of his pro career. He has the chance to be at least an above-average hitter when all is said and done, and his ability to tap into his raw pop took a nice step forward in 2022, with more over-the-fence ability to come as he continues to figure out when to attack pitches in the zone.

Quero moves well behind the plate and has a solid arm. There's still work to be done on other facets of his defensive game, from his receiving to his game calling, though he's still just 20 and has plenty of time to arrive. The White Sox acquired him with hopes that he'll be their starting catcher of the future.

Organizational fit: There are talented catchers in the White Sox organization, but the club really likes Quero’s overall mix offensively and defensively. He already has a good knowledge of the strike zone at a young age and is developing as a game caller. Catcher was a spot of need as the White Sox made this move approaching the Trade Deadline.

ETA: 2025, possibly late '24

Ky Bush, LHP, Double-A Birmingham
Pipeline scouting report: After turning down the Royals as a 40th-round pick in 2018 out of Fremont High School in Plain City, Utah, Bush bounced around from Washington State to Central Arizona College to Saint Mary's before signing with the Angels as a second-rounder in 2021. He jumped to Double-A and pitched in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in 2022, then returned to that level after missing the start of this season with a lat strain.

Bush hasn't thrown as hard in pro ball as he did at Saint Mary's, with his fastball now sitting at 91-93 mph and topping out at 97 mph, though it can be effective thanks to its arm-side run and carry. His best pitch is a plus low-80s slider with depth and his fading mid-80s changeup is a solid option. He also works in a decent mid-70s curveball to give hitters a different look.

Though his control wasn't as sharp as usual in his initial starts after the lat injury, Bush usually provides plenty of strikes from a high three-quarters arm slot. He doesn't have a huge ceiling, but he fills a hole in the White Sox system by giving the organization a polished left-hander in the upper levels.

Organizational fit: By the time the White Sox trade work is complete, Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech figure to be the only current starting pitchers still with the team moving into 2024. The club is also thin on Major League-close starters in its system, so with a good four-pitch mix, the White Sox see a healthy Bush as someone who could move quickly through the system. It’s a good return for the South Siders.

ETA: 2025