By Simon Farber, Staff Reporter
While the White Sox’ 2015 season was filled with lots of disappointment and frustration, there were still a few bright spots from inside the organization. With the season having come to a close, we take a look back at Chicago’s top prospects and their performances during the 2015 campaign. The rankings are based on Baseball America’s preseason prospect list.
10. Trayce Thompson, OF (.295 AVG, 5 HR, 16 RBI at MLB White Sox)
Despite playing in the shadow of his older brother, and NBA star, Klay Thompson, Trayce only needed 44 games to emerge as one of Chicago’s most promising young stars. After being promoted to the majors on August 3rd, Thompson compiled 36 hits in his 122 at-bats, including 8 doubles and 3 triples. The Los Angeles native played an outstanding center field, showing off his quick feet and athletic build. Thompson figures to have earned himself a spot on the 2016 roster as one of Chicago’s four outfielders.
9. Courtney Hawkins, OF (.243 AVG, 9 HR, 41 RBI at AA Birmingham)
The White Sox’ 2012 1st round pick had struggled in his first few professional seasons, and 2015 was no different. Hawkins, known for striking out at a high rate, was rung up 100 times over just 78 games playing for the Double-A Birmingham Barons. Hawkins’ biggest tool, power, also did not show up this season, as he was only able to muscle nine balls out of the ballpark. However, entering the 2016 season season at just 22 years old, Hawkins is far from being dismissed as a future star on the South Side.
8. Trey Michalczewski, 3B (.259 AVG, 7 HR, 75 RBI at Single-A+ Winston-Salem)
Michalczewski continues his impressive professional career in the White Sox organization, as he roped 35 doubles over 532 plate appearances en route to completing his first full season at Single-A affiliate Winston-Salem. The third base prospect is still a little while away from the major leagues, but his power and patience have given him an upper hand so far in the minor leagues. At 20 years old, Trey will most likely receive a promotion to Double-A Birmingham to begin next season.
7. Tyler Danish, SP (8-12, 4.50 ERA, 90 SO at Double-A Birmingham)
After graduating from the ranks of Single-A baseball, Danish was thrust into a starting role on the Birmingham Barons’ pitching staff. Over 26 starts, the 21 year old compiled 142.0 innings and 90 strikeouts. Despite having a WHIP(walks+hits per innings pitched) of 1.65 and an ERA above four, Danish should signs of improvement. His outstanding changeup/slider helps him keep the ball in the park.
6. Micker Adolfo, OF (.253 AVG, 3 2Bs, 10 RBI at Arizona League White Sox)
Adolfo’s season was cut very short due to injury early in the season, limiting him to just 22 games in 2015. The 19 year old, who was signed out of the Dominican Republic, is far from helping the MLB team but his raw speed and power provides something to look forward to as Adolfo grows as a professional baseball player.
5. Francellis Montas, SP/RP (4.80 ERA, 20 SO, 1.53 WHIP at MLB White Sox)
Montas, a september callup, showed lots of promise out of the bullpen for the White Sox over the last few weeks of the season. Montas struggled in his first two major league starts, being ruffed up for two losses. The 22 year old can hit 100mph with his fastball consistently, and his longevity as a pitcher appears to be as a closer. However, the White Sox have not given up on the idea of Montas as a starter, and he should see some time at Triple-A Charlotte in 2016 to tune his skills.
4. Micah Johnson, 2B/DH (.315 AVG, 8 HR, 36 RBI at Triple-A Charlotte)
Johnson hit very well at Triple-A during the 2015 season, ripping 17 doubles and driving in 36 runs over 78 games. However, in Johnson’s 100 at-bats with in the majors this season, he managed just 23 hits and four doubles. Johnson would have stuck at the MLB level earlier in the season if not for his lack of fielding skill. Johnson paled defensively in comparison to Carlos Sanchez, who assumed most of the starting role at second base for the Sox in 2015. Don’t count out Micah as a producer in 2016 though, as his speed and hitting would be a crucial man to have off of the White Sox’ bench
3. Spencer Adams, SP ( 12-5, 2.99 ERA at Single-A and SIngle-A+ Kannapolis and WS)
Adams, who was drafted in the second round of the 2014 MLB draft out of Cleveland, lived up to the hype in his first full professional season. Over 24 starts at both Kannapolis and Winston-Salem, the 19 year old compiled 96 strikeouts and a WHIP of just 1.24. Adams’ slider was one of the best in the draft, and is a main reason the White Sox believe he can be a number two starter.
2. Tim Anderson, SS ( .312 AVG, 21 2Bs, 46 RBI at Double-A Birmingham)
The White Sox drafted Anderson in the first round of the 2013 MLB draft in hopes of him eventually replacing the aging Alexei Ramirez at shortstop. The 22 year old is right on pace for that, as he batted over .300 in 125 games at Birmingham while ripping 33 extra-base hits and stealing 49 bases. With Ramirez having just one season left on his contract, Anderson seems to be the easy bet as the starting shortstop on Opening Day 2017.
1. Carlos Rodon, SP (9-6, 3.75 ERA, 139 SOs at MLB White Sox)
Rodon, the Sox’ 2014 first round pick, was every bit as good in 2015 as the scouts said he would be. Despite some early struggles with command, Rodon struck out 139 batters over 139.1 innings for the White Sox. The rookie was able to develop his changeup to go along with his devastating slider. A WHIP of 1.443 is something to work on in the future, but Rodon has emerged as one of Major League Baseball’s top young pitchers, and will pitch dangerously in a rotation that includes Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.