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Mid-Season 2023 Top 30 White Sox Prospects: #1-15

by Michael Suareo

With the MLB Draft and the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, it is time to look back at the White Sox farm system and do a mid-season reranking of their top 30 prospects!

This season, the White Sox have infused their organization with a plethora of new young talent through both trades and draft picks. While all of us Sox fans can agree that this is not the position we thought we would be in a few years ago, the Front Office took a step in the right direction by selling off some expiring contracts in exchange for prospects with the potential to make a positive impact n this roster down the road.

This year, Sox on 35th’s own Michael Suareo and Thatcher Zalewski each mocked up their own top 30 prospect lists, while also identifying other prospects who deserved a mention despite missing the cut. They then combined each of their lists to come up with one consensus ranking.

In the final installment of our series, we reveal the top half of our Top 30 list. In this group, we take a look at the prospects within the farm system who have a real chance to be part of the next core of this Chicago White Sox team. Many of these players have impact upside, and perhaps the next face of the franchise is on this list!

Don’t miss the previous installments of our rankings here:

15. Peyton Pallette, RHP

Michael’s Ranking: 14

Thatcher’s Ranking: 17

Last year’s second-round pick made his professional debut this year with the Kannapolis CannonBallers after he missed all of his 2022 Junior season recovering from Tommy John surgery. That injury hurt his draft stock, as he very likely could have been a first-round pick if not for the injury. The 22-year-old has drawn comparisons to Dodgers starter Walker Buehler. Pallette features a fastball that can reach up to 99 miles per hour and a curveball which can be labeled as his best pitch. 

Pallette has made 18 starts so far in Low-A and could be on his way up to High-A before the end of the year. He currently has an ERA of 4.18 in 60.1 innings pitched. He has 67 punchouts, but 30 walks. He has been pitching about three innings per start to help rebuild that arm strength and velocity that he may have lost due to the Tommy John Surgery. 

14. Wilfred Veras, OF

Michael’s Ranking: 13

Thatcher’s Ranking: 29

Wilfred Veras, despite having a very productive 2023 season, is still overlooked within this organization. While he hasn’t fully been able to tap into his plus raw power, he has been able to make consistent hard contact despite being younger than the average level of competition. In 2023, he found a home defensively in right field and was productive enough at the plate to earn a promotion to Double-A at just 20 years old.

At High-A, Veras slashed .277/.316/.438 and slugged 11 home runs with 26 additional extra-base hits. Despite not being known as a plus runner, he also added a surprising 18 stolen bases at the level. His defensive home had been speculated on for some time, but he seems to fully have transitioned to right field, where he is still a work in progress but has the arm to stick. It is his potential at the plate, however, that will carry him through the system.

13. George Wolkow, OF

Michael’s Ranking: 18

Thatcher’s Ranking: 10

The 6’7 17-year-old slots as the 13th-best prospect in our rankings, mainly due to his massive upside. Wolkow was selected in the seventh round in the 2023 draft and signed for $1M (equivalent to second-round value). Wolkow has played both right and center field for the White Sox in the Arizona Complex League, but projects to the corner spot long-term. Due to his size, he has drawn comparisons to Aaron Judge, although those are rather lofty expectations to put on a 17-year-old. Wolkow is a left-handed hitter who, due to his size, raises some concerns about having a longer swing. He would’ve most likely been a first-round pick in the 2024 draft but decided to reclassify to get a head start on the competition. 

Wolkow only has a brief stint so far down in Arizona, and he shouldn’t be expected to produce massive numbers as one of the youngest players at the level quite yet. Wolkow has natural power at his size and will continue to add muscle and build upon that power. He may have one of the highest ceilings in the system right now due to his age and massive raw power, and will certainly be an exciting prospect to follow heading into next year. It is possible he stays in the ACL through 2024, as he is at the same stage as many international players who begin in the DSL and take 2-3 years before joining full-season affiliates.

12. Jonathan Cannon, RHP

Michael’s Ranking: 12

Thatcher’s Ranking: 11

The White Sox representative in the All-Star Futures Game, Jonathan Cannon has made a name for himself this season in the organization. While he doesn’t possess overwhelming stuff, Cannon has excellent command of his pitches and projects to be a mid-back end starter at the major league level.

In 72.2 innings with High-A Winston Salem, Cannon held a 3.59 ERA and averaged just under a strikeout per inning. His strong showing led to a promotion to the Double-A level, and while he hasn’t been as strong there as of yet, his high ground ball rate suggests better things to come. His fastball has solid velocity and heavy sink, forcing plenty of weak contact. His cutter might be his best pitch, as he misses more bats with that than any of his other offerings. He was seen as a fast riser coming into the 2022 draft and could be ready to make his MLB debut in 2024.

11. Cristian Mena, RHP

Michael’s Ranking: 10

Thatcher’s Ranking: 13

Cristian Mena has risen his way up the rankings in the White Sox system over the past year. Mena pitched across three levels last year, as he started the year in Low-A and finished the year with the Barons in Double-A. He has a solid upside with a relatively high floor and a strong four-pitch mix that features a fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup. His hammer curveball is currently his best pitch, as it projects to be a plus offering at the major league level. he has shown the ability to be a high-strikeout pitcher despite being the youngest pitcher for much of the 2023 season in Double-A. He currently has 126 punch outs on the year which already ties his total from last season. 

Mena has had an up-and-down season in Birmingham this year but seems to have found his groove, as he has lowered his ERA from 5.66 to 4.90 in his last 10 starts. Mena is only 20 years old and could feature as a front-line starter but as of now projects as a middle-of-the-rotation type starter. Mena is also going to reach his career high in innings pitched this year and will only be 21 years old at the start of next season. 

10. Lenyn Sosa, 2B/SS

Michael’s Ranking: 8

Thatcher’s Ranking: 12

Sox fans are familiar with Lenyn Sosa at this point, as he has had stints with the White Sox both in 2022 and 2023. He has been a very productive minor-league hitter over the past couple of years but hasn’t been able to translate that into MLB success yet, although that may be due to a lack of consistent chances. He currently holds an OPS above .800 in Triple-A, and very well could be back up with the White Sox at some point this season.

Sosa has always been a slow starter when being challenged with a promotion. However, once he adjusts he shows a knack for making consistent hard contact. He is still an overly aggressive hitter at the plate, but his bat-to-ball skills are unquestioned and his power plays. With Elvis Andrus hitting the open market, Sosa is currently the top in-house option to take over at second base in 2024.

9. Ky Bush, LHP

Michael’s Ranking: 9

Thatcher’s Ranking: 9

At 6’6 240 lbs, Ky Bush is an imposing presence on the mound. Acquired alongside Edgar Quero in the Lucas Giolito trade, Bush is a polished left-handed pitcher who could very well be in the White Sox starting rotation sometime in 2024. While he isn’t expected to be a front-line starter, he can be a very effective backend pitcher who eats innings and keeps games winnable.

Bush has a full arsenal of usable pitches, with his fastball consistently sitting in the 92-94 range. His best pitch is his slider, which at its best can be a true out pitch. He also uses a curveball and a changeup effectively. While his control has been a bit shakier as of late, he is generally very good at pounding the strike zone and attacking hitters head-on.

8. Jose Rodriguez, 2B/SS

Michael’s Ranking: 11

Thatcher’s Ranking: 8

Jose Rodriguez made his MLB debut this year but didn’t receive an at-bat. He did, however, score a run during his time with the White Sox. Rodriguez has been in the White Sox system since 2018 and has hit at pretty much every level. In 2021 Rodriguez earned himself two promotions. He went from Low-A to High-A and then High-A to Double-A. Rodriguez’s season ended early last year due to injury, but he’s come back strong this year. 

Rodriguez is currently slashing .257/.291/.446 with 15 home runs in 70 games. Hitting 15 home runs in Birmingham is an already impressive feat, but for a guy that likes to go the opposite way and isn’t known for his power tool, it makes it even more impressive. His season got off to a slow start, but really got rolling in early July and has since been a consistently reliable hitter in the Birmingham Barons lineup. Rodriguez should most likely be in Charlotte playing for the Knights by the end of the year. Don’t be surprised if Rodriguez is getting consistent playing time with the White Sox in 2024 though. 

7. Nick Nastrini, RHP

Michael’s Ranking: 7

Thatcher’s Ranking: 7

The 23-year-old righty was the main prospect acquired in the Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. While Nastrini gets rave reviews for his fastball and slider, he also sports a very promising curveball and a changeup. His curveball is slowly becoming a secondary pitch for Nastrini; he just needs to throw it for strikes more. Nastrini is a pitcher who has frontline starter stuff with high strikeout rates but needs to limit the walks to reach that potential. 

Nastrini has made three starts for the Barons now and is slowly getting better and better. In Nastrini’s second start, he threw 5.2 innings with eight strikeouts and three earned runs and just fell one out short of recording a quality start. Nastrini seems to be getting comfortable now and will hopefully continue to get better. He has the potential to make the White Sox roster out of spring training next year but he will most likely start the year in Charlotte and be one of the first pitchers called upon in a spot start situation. 

6. Jacob Gonzalez, SS

Michael’s Ranking: 6

Thatcher’s Ranking: 6

Gonzalez was selected 15th overall and has played across two levels for the White Sox so far, beginning in the Arizona Complex League and now in Low-A Kannapolis. His numbers haven’t been eye-popping yet, however, he is still very early in his career and there is little doubt his bat will come around. The White Sox selected him due to his potential ability to be a fast riser throughout their system. 

Gonzalez was touted in college for the combination of his over-the-fence power and his bat-to-ball skills. These combined had talent evaluators predicting that he has the ability to potentially hit 25+ home runs in a season. Gonzalez is another left-handed bat who raises some questions about if he can stick at shortstop due to his athleticism, and he may profile better at either second or third base. At only 21 years old, though, he is just getting started. 

5. Bryan Ramos, 3B

Michael’s Ranking: 5

Thatcher’s Ranking: 4

Bryan Ramos’ evaluations are a bit all over the place, as some outlets see him as a borderline, if not solid, top-100 prospect, while others believe there are several other prospects who are ahead of him within the White Sox organization. One thing is for sure – when Ramos is healthy, he is always a threat to opposing pitchers at the plate.

Ramos’ 2023 season got off to a delayed start due to a groin injury, and it took him a bit of time to truly get rolling. He has since brushed the rust off and become an impact hitter for the Double-A Birmingham Barons. At just 21, he is one of the younger players at the level, but that isn’t holding him back from being a force in the middle of the Barons’ lineup. He has shown an ability to hit for both average and power and has showcased an impressively patient approach at the plate with a walk rate of over 13%. Ramos is athletic and has a strong throwing arm, and he has improved his defense enough to lead scouts to believe that he will be able to stick perfectly fine at third base.

4. Jake Eder, LHP

Michael’s Ranking: 4

Thatcher’s Ranking: 5

One of the biggest surprises of the trade deadline was the White Sox’s decision to trade Jake Burger to the Miami Marlins. The return they received, however, has a chance to be incredibly impactful for the Sox’s future rotation. Jake Eder, a 6’4 lefty, has dealt with some injuries over the past couple of years, including Tommy John Surgery in 2021. When healthy, though, he displays a plus fastball/slider combo that gives him number-two starter potential. He also has a changeup that has shown some promising development.

This year, he hasn’t fully regained his stuff yet, leading to some underwhelming numbers on the mound. With that being said, he still displayed a knack for missing bats, as proven by his 11.5 K/9 rate with the Marlins Double-A Affiliate. He has not logged that many innings this year, and he missed all of 2022, so an adjustment period is to be expected. The main goal for Eder, for now, is to stay healthy and log innings on the mound, and get back to 100% for 2024. If he regains his stuff, he could be a name that jumps into the top 100 list by mid-next season.

3. Edgar Quero, C

Michael’s Ranking: 3

Thatcher’s Ranking: 2

The top prospect brought back in the Lucas Giolito trade with the Los Angeles Angels was switch-hitting catcher Edgar Quero. Quero currently slots in as the 87th-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, and is firmly one of the top three prospects in the White Sox organization. Currently, he is of the youngest players currently in Double-A at only 20 years old. There were questions about whether or not this promotion to this level was too aggressive by the Angels, however, the White Sox decided to keep him there, as he hasn’t looked overmatched at the plate. 

Quero has appeared to catch fire since the trade, as he is currently slashing .340/.379/.500 in 13 games with the Barons. He does have some pop in his bat, as in Low-A last year he hit 17 home runs. One of the key offensive traits Quero has been his discipline at the plate, where he currently has roughly as many walks as he does strikeouts. He also showcases a strong arm behind the plate and improved actions that can allow him to stick behind the dish in the future. 

2. Noah Schultz, LHP

Michael’s Ranking: 2

Thatcher’s Ranking: 3

There is no debate about who the top pitching prospect in this organization is, as Noah Schultz has broken out this year as a true force on the mound. Taken with the 26th overall selection in the 2022 MLB draft, Schultz had to wait until June of this year to make his professional debut. In doing so, he completely skipped rookie ball and went straight to full-season Low-A Kannapolis. While most high school draftees spend at least some time in Arizona to adjust to competing against other professional baseball players, Schultz has proven that he was ready for the aggressive assignment. In 2023, despite a limited amount of innings, the 6’9 left-handed pitcher has been absolutely dominant.

The biggest concern for pitchers of Schultz’s size is keeping their bodies in sync. With so many moving parts, it is easy to lose your mechanics and end up with shaky control. That hasn’t been the case for Schultz yet, as his athleticism has allowed him to control his delivery and demonstrate impressive command of his pitches. This is a big reason why national outlets have taken notice of him and ranked him on top 100 lists.

While he doesn’t blow away opposing hitters with velocity, his low-mid 90’s fastball has plenty of life and should. be at least an above-average pitch. His slider is his best pitch, clocking in the low 80s and possessing elite spin rates. It is a pitch that, combined with his lengthy low three-quarter delivery, is incredibly difficult for left-handed hitters to make contact with. He has also been working on his changeup, which is at least a usable third pitch. Overall, his pure stuff combined with the control he has shown early in his professional career give him the ceiling of a true ace.

1. Colson Montgomery, SS

Michael’s Ranking: 1

Thatcher’s Ranking: 1

There is very little doubt about who the best prospect in the White Sox organization is right now, as Colson Montgomery has established himself as one of the very best prospects in baseball. That fact is further backed up by MLB Pipeline, who just recently ranked him as the 17th best prospect in their mid-season Top 100 prospects list. The 2021 first-round pick is currently in Double-A right now where he currently has a slash line of .179/.465/.357 with one home run and as many walks as strikeouts in only nine games with the Barons. 

Montgomery has spent the majority of the year in High-A with the Winston-Salem Dash where he played in 17 games and proved that he was ready to make the jump to Double-A. During his time in Winston-Salem this season, Montgomery slashed .345/.537/.552 and hit three homers. One of the concerns with Montgomery is that he won’t be able to stick at shortstop due to his frame, and he currently has a fielding percentage of .944 across three different levels this year. 

Montgomery, who is still only 21, has all the tools it takes to be an everyday contributor at the big league level. It is entirely possible that he could reach the big leagues at some point next year if he continues to hit his way through the White Sox system.

Overall Top 30

  1. Colson Montgomery
  2. Noah Schultz
  3. Edgar Quero
  4. Jake Eder
  5. Bryan Ramos
  6. Jacob Gonzalez
  7. Nick Nastrini
  8. Jose Rodriguez
  9. Ky Bush
  10. Lenyn Sosa
  11. Cristian Mena
  12. Jonathan Cannon
  13. George Wolkow
  14. Wilfred Veras
  15. Peyton Pallette
  16. Terrell Tatum
  17. Korey Lee
  18. Jacob Burke
  19. Grant Taylor
  20. Ryan Burrowes
  21. Seth Keener
  22. Abraham Nunez
  23. Calvin Harris
  24. Norge Vera
  25. Jordan Leasure
  26. Jared Kelly
  27. Matthew Thompson
  28. Tanner McDougal
  29. Jake Peppers
  30. Adam Hackenberg

Michael Suareo’s Top 30

  1. Colson Montgomery
  2. Noah Schultz
  3. Edgar Quero
  4. Jake Eder
  5. Bryan Ramos
  6. Jacob Gonzalez
  7. Nick Nastrini
  8. Lenyn Sosa
  9. Ky Bush
  10. Cristian Mena
  11. Jose Rodriguez
  12. Jonathan Cannon
  13. Wilfred Veras
  14. Peyton Pallett
  15. Terrell Tatum
  16. Korey Lee
  17. Grant Taylor
  18. George Wolkow
  19. Abraham Nunez
  20. Seth Keener
  21. Ryan Burrowes
  22. Calvin Harris
  23. Jacob Burke
  24. Jared Kelly
  25. Tanner McDougal
  26. Jordan Leasure
  27. Norge Vera
  28. DJ Gladney
  29. Eric Adler
  30. Matthew Thompson

Thatcher Zalewski’s Top 30

  1. Colson Montgomery
  2. Edgar Quero
  3. Noah Schultz
  4. Bryan Ramos
  5. Jake Eder
  6. Jacob Gonzalez
  7. Nick Nastrimi
  8. Jose Rodriguez
  9. Ky Bush
  10. George Wolkow
  11. Jonathan Cannon
  12. Lenyn Sosa
  13. Cristian Mena
  14. Jacob Burke
  15. Korey Lee
  16. Terrell Tatum
  17. Peyton Pallette
  18. Tim Elko 
  19. Norge Vera
  20. Ryan Burrowes
  21. Calvin Harris
  22. Jake Peppers
  23. Matthew Thompson
  24. Jordan Leasure
  25. Abraham Nunez
  26. Adam Hackenberg
  27. Grant Taylor
  28. Loidel Chapelli 
  29. Wilfred Veras
  30. Ryan Castillo

Follow us @SoxOn35th for more throughout the season!

Featured Image: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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