Breaking down the White Sox newest Top 30 Prospects list

August 11th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Scott Merkin’s White Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The White Sox Minor League system clearly is on the rise.

But part of the reason for that prodigious jump is the Major League team's lack of success during the 2023 season; the White Sox entered Friday’s action at 47-69 and 12 1/2 games back in the American League Central.

With that long shot for a playoff bid in mind, the White Sox traded away six veteran pitchers and infielder Jake Burger by the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline, closing the competitive window on this last ultimately disappointing rebuild and leaving the window open to start another one. General manager Rick Hahn and the front office added six names to their midseason Top 30, according to MLB Pipeline.

This total doesn’t include the four new names on the list that were added through the ’23 Draft. 

“It's been good to be around those guys,” said right-handed pitcher Nick Nastrini, the No. 6 White Sox prospect, who was acquired from the Dodgers in a trade for Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly. “It's definitely good to see that there's a core group of young players in the Minor League system that can kind of progress through together.

“We can get to The Show together, help bring a World Series to the White Sox. That's what we all want to do.”

Here’s a look at the White Sox top prospects:

(Top 100 ranks in parentheses when applicable)

Biggest rises and drops
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the preseason list:

Jump: Jacob Burke, CF (Preseason: NR | Midseason: 22) – The right-handed hitter has proven to be an on-base machine, reaching base in 52 straight games, including all 35 played for Single-A Kannapolis and 17 straight after a promotion to High-A Winston-Salem. The 11th-round pick in the ’22 Draft has a .417 on-base percentage in 67 total games this season, to go with 48 runs scored, 26 extra-base hits and 17 stolen bases.

Fall: Norge Vera, RHP (Preseason: 12 | Midseason: NR) – Injuries have derailed the talented hurler. The international signee, announced on Feb. 26, 2021, with a $1.5 million signing bonus, walked six over 1 1/3 innings covering two appearances for Winston-Salem on April 12 and April 19 before being shut down until July 29. Vera, 23, is working his way back through three outings with the Arizona Complex League White Sox since July 29, but has pitched in just 26 games covering 59 1/3 innings during his career.

New to the list
Here are the players added to the Top 30 from outside the organization:

3. Quero, C (Acquired from Angels in Lucas Giolito/Reynaldo López trade)

4. Gonzalez, SS (15th pick overall in 2023 Draft)

5. Eder, LHP (Acquired from Marlins in Burger trade)

6. Nastrini, RHP (Acquired from Dodgers in Lynn/Kelly trade)

9. Ky Bush, LHP (Acquired from Angels in Giolito/López trade)

13. Grant Taylor, RHP (Second-round selection in ’23 Draft)

14. Seth Keener, RHP (Third-round selection in ’23 Draft)

17. George Wolkow, OF (Seventh-round selection in ’23 Draft)

18. Korey Lee, C (Acquired from Astros in Kendall Graveman trade)

20. Jordan Leasure, RHP (Acquired from Dodgers in Lynn/Kelly trade)

Impact callup
Korey Lee isn't going to lead the White Sox to the playoffs, but the club should start to find out if he's ready to become their starting catcher next year after acquiring him from the Astros for Graveman. Andrew Vaughn's former California teammate and fellow 2019 first-round pick has well above-average raw power and arm strength, though he's hitting just .282/.324/.396 with five homers in 75 Triple-A games.

Best tools
Players are graded on a traditional 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.

Hit: 60 -- Montgomery

Power: 60 -- Montgomery (Wolkow)

Run: 65 -- Terrell Tatum

Arm: 70 -- Lee

Defense: 55 -- Montgomery (Jacob Burke, Tatum)

Fastball: 80 -- Leasure

Curveball: 60 -- Peyton Pallette (Eric Adler, Cristian Mena)

Slider: 65 -- Noah Schultz

Changeup: 55 -- Nastrini (Bush)

Control: 60 -- Jonathan Cannon (Keener)