The White Sox have built the core of their Major League team through great player acquisition and development. However, all the promotions have left their system thin. I like Colson Montgomery and Oscar Colas and believe they could help the Major League club in 2023 or 24. After that, Jose Rodriguez has enticing fantasy tools; if he improves his approach, he could be an exciting player. The pitching depth has some exciting arms, particularly Norge Vera and one of the several – extremely tall pitchers they drafted last July. While nobody grades out as more than a number three starter, they all have talent and need time to develop.
Prospect Quick Shot
- Top Prospect: Colson Montgomery
- Biggest Mover: Jose Rodriguez
- Emerging Prospect: Erick Hernandez
1. Colson Montgomery (SS)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 20 SS or Top 15 1B
- Tools Summary: He’s showing the ability to control the strike zone, and when you combine that with his power potential, there is a lot to get excited about.
The White Sox selection of Colson Montgomery in the first round of the 2021 Draft (pick 22) looks to be a very astute pick. Few questioned his power potential as he has the size and excellent bat speed, but there were concerns about how much he would hit. In 2022 he went a long way to answering those questions as he walked nearly as much as he struck out while posting a 16% strikeout rate in High-A. The power has yet to explode, but I think it will. From a fantasy standpoint, he’s only an average runner, so don’t expect a ton of stolen bases, and at 6-foot-4, moving off shortstop might also be in the cards.
2. Oscar Colas (OF)
- Highest Level: Triple-A ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 60 OF
- Tools Summary: Plus raw power points to 20 home runs, and assuming he continues to make solid contact, he projects to be a full-time regular.
The White Sox inked 23-year-old Oscar Colas to a $2.7 million signing bonus in January of 2021 and assigned him to High-A Winston Salem for the 2022 season. He more than held his showing a solid approach and slugging .500. He has excellent bat speed and assuming he can keep his strikeouts in the low-20%, he should be able to hit 20+ home runs at the highest level. He’s only an average runner, and the speed will likely reduce as he ages. However, there’s enough to project a full-time corner outfielder.
3. Yoelqui Cespedes (OF)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 60 OF
- Tools Summary: Plus raw power points to 20 home runs, but the approach at the plate is so aggressive that success could be challenging at the highest level
Yoelqui Cespedes was the White Sox’s big international signee in 2021 when they inked him to a $2 million signing bonus. While he only stands 5-foot-7 (listed at 5-foot-9), he has the Cespedes bat speed and, therefore, has significant raw power. He showed that power in Double-A, slugging .437 with 17 home runs. He’s got good speed, but he’s far from a burner; but did manage to steal 33 bases last season. While the tools are exciting, the approach is problematic. He struck out 30% of the time while walking less than 6% of the time. The White Sox will likely promote him next season to Chicago, but success at the highest level could be challenging unless he improves his approach.
4. Jose Rodriguez (2B)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2023-24 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 2B
- Tools Summary: He has 30+ stolen base potential if he can continue to improve his approach.
Jose Rodriguez is among the more intriguing prospects in the White Sox system. He’s a double-plus runner who makes excellent contact with enough strength to hit plenty of doubles and the occasional home run. To emphasize that point, he slugged .430 in 104 games in Double-A with 21 doubles and 11 home runs. What gives me pause is his aggressiveness at the plate. While he did walk 8% of the time last season, there’s no question he’s looking to swing the pole first and foremost. That said, you see that in players who make great contact, and Rodriguez does that very well. While there are some warts, the upside is a full-time regular with a chance to steal many bases at the highest level.
5. Norge Vera (RHP)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2023-24 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 SP
- Tools Summary: He checks many boxes to pitch at the top-of-the-rotation. He needs to stay healthy and pitch to knock off the rust.
After signing with the White Sox in January of 2021, he made DSL hitters look silly, striking out 34 in 19 innings. In 2022, his season debut was delayed with a lat injury, and once he did pitch, he didn’t pitch well. The stuff was OK, as his fastball was sitting in the mid-90s and touching the upper 90s, but he had no control. He threw the best in Low-A, striking out 35 and walking 15 in 24 innings. But in 11.1 innings in High and Double-A, he walked as many as he struck out. Despite his struggles, he checks a lot of boxes. He’s long and lean with an athletic delivery, and his arsenal will get hitters out. I think he needs to pitch, and assuming health, that should start next season.
6. Bryan Ramos (3B)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 3B
- Tools Summary: He makes excellent contact with a decent approach and growing power. There is no speed.
Bryan Ramos has been flying under the radar in prospect circles. I like his approach, and he rarely strikes out (16.5% K-Rate). He’s also starting to grow into power, hitting 19 home runs and slugging .471 in High-A last season. The effort got him a promotion to Double-A as one of the youngest players in the league. The best news is that he didn’t look lost and continued to make significant contact. He plays primarily third, but I would not be surprised with a move to second. His lack of speed might limit his fantasy appeal, but he can hit, which should get him to the big leagues.
7. Sean Burke (RHP)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 50 SP with upside
- Tools Summary: He has the size (6-foot-6) and overall arsenal to pitch at the top of the rotation, but his control is currently lagging.
Sean Burke, the White Sox third-round pick in 2021, had a solid season in 2022. The White Sox were aggressive with him, and he split his time between High and Double-A pitching to a 4.28 ERA striking out over 11 per nine but also walking four per nine. The stuff is solid with a fastball that will scrap 96 and a decent slider and change-up. With his size (6-foot-6), he struggles to repeat his delivery and walks too many. If he can solve that, he has a chance to pitch at the top rotation. However, until he can prove better control, I will put a Top 50 starting pitcher ceiling with upside.
8. Noah Schultz (LHP)
- Highest Level: DNP ETA: 2026+ Fantasy Ceiling: Unknown
- Tools Summary: A 6-foot-9 lefty high-risk, high-reward talent with a ceiling from a top-of-the-rotation pitcher to a reliever.
Drafting with pick 26 last July, the White Sox selected Noah Schultz, a 6-foot-9 left-handed pitcher. It was a risky pick, as few lefties with his height have gone on to be All-stars (granted, it’s a limited sample size). But, his delivery is tough to pick up as he throws from a lower three-quarters slot which will make him murder on left-handed batters. I’ve not seen him pitch, but his fastball reportedly taps out at 95 MPH with a feel for a slider. With a lower three-quarters delivery, it will be hard for him to get on top of his change-up, which could ultimately push him to the bullpen. If you decide to draft him in rookie drafts next spring, he’ll likely take several years before we know his true ceiling. At this juncture, it’s all speculation.
9. Peyton Pallette (RHP)
- Highest Level: DNP ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 SP
- Tools Summary: He has a solid arsenal with at least average control. Unfortunately, he missed the 2022 college season due to recovering from TJS.
After selecting a high-risk, high-reward pitching in Noah Schultz with their first pick last July, the White Sox selected Peyton Pallette, another high-risk, high-reward pitcher. But, the circumstances are different. Pallette pitched well at Arkansas in 2021, throwing strikes and showing plus stuff. But he hurt his arm before the 2022 season, had Tommy John Reconstructive surgery, and missed the entire season. Including the missed 2020 season, the White Sox drafted him with 61.2 innings of college ball under his belt. If he returns healthy, it could be worth it as the upside is a number three starter.
10. Jonathan Cannon (RHP)
- Highest Level: DNP ETA: 2025 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 50 SP
- Tools Summary: He has the size and arsenal to pitch as a number three starter.
Jonathan Cannon was the White Sox’s third-round pick last July, with many believing that the White Sox got real value in that pick. He’s 6-foot-6 with a solid three-pitch arsenal, and if it all comes together, his ceiling is a mid-rotation starter. He did not pitch in the minor leagues last season and will likely start in Low, perhaps even High-A in 2023.