Major League Baseball’s owners may have locked out the players, triggering the league’s first work stoppage since 1994-95 and bringing the offseason to a halt, but that doesn’t mean we’re letting it derail our typical offseason plans. Indeed, CBS Sports is in the process of highlighting the top three prospects for all 30 teams, as well as naming the top 50 prospects in the minors, regardless of team affiliation.
That journey finds us today focusing on the Chicago White Sox’s farm system.
Do note that these lists are formed after conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development folks from around the league. There is personal bias baked in, as one would expect from subjective exercises, so some disagreement is to be expected.
Now, onto the gasbaggery.
1. Colson Montgomery, SS
The White Sox took Montgomery with the 22nd pick in July’s draft. He subsequently hit .287/.396/.362 as part of a 26-game stint in rookie ball. Montgomery engendered Corey Seager comparisons during his amateur days because of his tall frame (he’s listed 6-foot-4) and a left-handed stroke that should provide plenty of power at his peak. Obviously those comparisons should be taken with a grain of salt since they make a good outcome (Montgomery becoming a fine starting-caliber shortstop) into a potential disappointment, but they’re fun to think about now and again, aren’t they?
2. Wes Kath, 3B/OF
Chicago followed up drafting Montgomery by selecting Kath, another tall, left-handed hitting infielder. Alas, his introduction to pro ball didn’t go as well as Montgomery’s; he batted .212/.287/.337 with five extra-base hits and 42 strikeouts in 115 plate appearances — that’s nearly 37 percent, for those without a calculator handy. Kath was never going to stick at shortstop, and the White Sox wasted no time plopping his big arm down at third base. (They also gave him a game in right field.) Ultimately, Kath is going to have to tap into his big-time raw power, and reel in his contact woes, in order to live up to his promise.
3. Norge Vera, RHP
Vera signed with the White Sox for $1.5 million in February. He’s yet to make his stateside debut, however, as he spent the year making eight appearances in the Dominican Summer League. Vera dominated the competition, striking out 34 of the 69 batters he faced and allowing no runs on nine hits in 19 frames. Vera already has a well-above-average fastball, but he’ll need to work on his changeup and command (the way almost every young pitcher does) to become a mid-rotation starter or better.