After fully embracing the need to rebuild following the 2016 season, the White Sox saw their efforts pay off four years later. Chicago ended a 12-year playoff drought in 2020 and came within a game of winning the American League Central while serving notice that it should contend for years
After fully embracing the need to rebuild following the 2016 season, the White Sox saw their efforts pay off four years later. Chicago ended a 12-year playoff drought in 2020 and came within a game of winning the American League Central while serving notice that it should contend for years to come.
For the second straight year, the White Sox introduced a rookie outfielder who looked like a future superstar. Luis Robert showcased some of the best all-around tools in the game and punctuated his season with a 487-foot homer in the playoffs.
Chicago has more outstanding youngsters on the way, with five Top 100 Prospects set to contribute in 2021. Second baseman Nick Madrigal's bat-to-ball skills, left-hander Garrett Crochet's power arsenal and right-hander Dane Dunning's polish were as good as advertised in their first taste of the big leagues this summer. Slugging first baseman Andrew Vaughn and fireballing righty Michael Kopech could claim starting roles next year.
Beyond that group, however, the White Sox system lacks much depth. They do have hopes that investing $7.1 million and three early picks in the last two Drafts in high school right-handers Jared Kelley, Matthew Thompson and Andrew Dalquist will help restock their pitching. Returns to health by outfielder Micker Adolfo and third baseman Jake Burger would bolster their hitting talent.
FARM SYSTEM RANKINGS
2020 Midseason: 6 | Preseason: 11
2019 Midseason: 9 | Preseason: 4
2018 Midseason: 3 | Preseason: 3
2017 Midseason: 1 | Preseason: 3
2016 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2015 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
Only the top 10 systems were ranked from 2015 to 2019 preseason; the top 15 systems were ranked 2019 midseason.
TOP FIVE PROSPECTS
1. Andrew Vaughn, 1B (No. 13 on Top 100)
2. Michael Kopech, RHP (No. 18)
3. Nick Madrigal, 2B (No. 36)
4. Garrett Crochet, LHP (No. 89)
5. Dane Dunning, RHP (No. 98)
Complete Top 30 list »
Draft: Garrett Crochet, LHP, 1st round (No. 4); Jared Kelley, RHP, 2nd round (No. 6); Bailey Horn, LHP, 5th round. Complete Draft list »
The first player to go straight from the Draft to the big leagues since Mike Leake, Crochet averaged 100 mph with his fastball as a reliever and also showed the makings of a wipeout slider. A consensus first-round talent, Kelley fell into Chicago's lap in the second round and also can light up radar guns.
2021 IMPACT PROSPECT
Nick Madrigal, 2B (No. 3): He hit .340/.376/.369 in 23 games with the White Sox, showing why his bat-to-ball skills are held in such high esteem but also why there's some question as to exactly how much offensive impact he'll provide.
2022 TOP PROSPECT
Jared Kelley, RHP (No. 6): Signed for $3 million as the 47th overall pick in June, he can hit 98 mph with his fastball with little effort and also has an advanced changeup for a teenager.
Hit: Nick Madrigal
Power: Andrew Vaughn
Run: James Beard
Arm: Micker Adolfo
Field: Yolbert Sanchez
Best athlete: Matthew Thompson
Fastball: Michael Kopech
Curveball: Jonathan Stiever
Slider: Michael Kopech
Changeup: Jared Kelley
Control: Bernardo Flores
HOW THE TOP 30 WAS BUILT
Rule 5 Draft: 1
The first five players on Chicago's Top 30 are first-round picks, three by the White Sox (Vaughn, Madrigal, Crochet) and one each by the Red Sox (Kopech) and Nationals (Dunning). Catcher Yermin Mercedes is the only Rule 5 selection on any Top 30 list, and he was taken in the Minor League phase.
TOP 30 BY POSITION
The only organization to feature a first baseman (Vaughn) as its top prospect, the White Sox also are tied with the D-backs, Pirates and Rockies for having the most first basemen on their Top 30 list with two.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly MLB Pipeline Podcast.