For the next couple of seasons, the focus of the Chicago White Sox will not be competing for the AL Central crown or a wildcard spot; it will be the prospects that will be debuting for the team within the next 2 seasons. 2017 is going to be a big step for the White Sox rebuild, as the major components of the future will get to see their first action on the South Side. 5 prospects in particular should be in store to take big steps for the White Sox this season.
1. Carson Fulmer, RHP
The White Sox selected Fulmer with the 8th overall pick in the 2015 draft. Fulmer quickly rose through the organization and made his major league debut on July 17th, 2016 in Los Angeles. Fulmer’s experience in 2016 came out of the bullpen. Some speculation would point to Fulmer possibly being a reliever in the long term, but the Sox are going to give him every chance to start. Look for him to spend time in the rotation this season.
2. Zack Burdi, RHP
Another White Sox draft selection, Burdi was taken with the 26th overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Louisville. Burdi has a power arm, and he has proven to be able to consistently throw in the upper 90s, and has even hit triple digits on multiple occasions. Burdi has been a quick riser within the Sox system, as he saw time in A ball, AA, and AAA in the 2016 season. He posted a 3.32 ERA in 26 minor-league appearances, and he is expected to pitch for the Sox at some point this season.
3. Yoan Moncada, 2B
Yoan Moncada came over from the Boston Red Sox as part of the return for Chris Sale. Moncada is currently ranked #1 among all prospects in baseball. Moncada is a switch-hitting infielder with an outstanding bat and an above average glove. The highly touted prospect can play either second base or third base, but has been said to prefer second. Moncada made his MLB debut with the Red Sox towards the end of the 2016 regular season. White Sox GM Rick Hahn said that Moncada will begin the 2017 season with AAA Charlotte, but he will see action with the White Sox this year as well.
4. Lucas Giolito, RHP
One of 4 right-handed pitchers on this list, Giolito is baseball’s #3 overall prospect heading into this upcoming campaign. Giolito was acquired this offseason from the Washington Nationals along with Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning in exchange for Adam Eaton. 5 seasons removed from Tommy John surgery, Giolito will most likely begin the season in the minors. He did appear in the majors for Washington in 2016, so he will most likely crack the Sox roster at some point this season.
5. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP
Another piece of the Adam Eaton deal, Reynaldo Lopez currently ranks as the #4 prospect in the Chicago White Sox organization. Lopez made his MLB debut for the Nationals in 2016. Reynaldo Lopez has shown nasty stuff, displaying a fastball that tops out in the mid to upper 90s and a wicked breaking ball that is about 15 mph less than the fastball.
Photo: Scott Merkin, MLB.com