The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Yu Darvish, the New York Yankees landed Sonny Gray and the Chicago White Sox became a whole lot younger.
Typically, when we look at Major League Baseball trade deadline winners, we focus on the buyers. The Dodgers and Yankees did a lot to put their foot on the proverbial gas pedal. The Chicago Cubs were strong performers, too. That said, perhaps the biggest winner at this deadline—at least long-term—was the other team in Chicago.
The Sox began their rebuild in earnest this past offseason by shipping out Adam Eaton and Chris Sale for a load of top prospects, including second baseman Yoan Moncada and right-handed pitchers Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez—four of the team’s top seven prospects.
Chicago continued with the asset collection during this deadline. General manager Rick Hahn moved Jose Quintana a couple weeks ago for a package that included outfielder Eloy Jimenez and right-hander Dylan Cease from the Cubs. The franchise then added outfielder Blake Rutherford and left-hander Ian Clarkin in a deal with the Yankees for Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle. Both relievers were former Yankees.
The merchandise kept flying off the shelf with Melky Cabrera going to Kansas City, Dan Jennings going to Tampa Bay, and Anthony Swarzak headed for Milwaukee. In return came right-hander A.J. Puckett, first baseman Casey Gillaspie and outfielder Ryan Cordell.
In short order, the Sox were able to add eight of their top 11 prospects according to MLB Pipeline via trade within the last year. They’ve added a few other quality pieces within the top-30 that way, too. If you consider the signing of Luis Robert, each of the team’s top eight prospects is new to the organization.
Before the season started, MLB Pipeline ranked the White Sox as having the third-best farm system. The Atlanta Braves were first and the Yankees second. New York spent a few prospects to get better this year while the Braves remained relatively stagnant. By many accounts, the ChiSox are now the best.
After all, this team did just deepen its farm with the deadline acquisitions of No. 2-ranked Jimenez, No. 5-ranked Rutherford, No. 8-ranked Cease, No. 14-ranked Gillaspie, No. 19-ranked Cordell, No. 24-ranked Clarkin and No. 25-ranked Puckett.
Amongst the Baseball America midseason 2017 top-100 prospects, eight are now under White Sox control, including the top-ranked Moncada and No. 5-ranked Jimenez as two of five falling within the top-45.
In the midseason top-50 list put out by Baseball Prospectus, five White Sox prospects are listed, including Moncada No. 1 overall and Jimenez at No. 8. As is typical for Baseball Prospectus, it varied quite a bit from MLB Pipeline and Baseball America rankings. The publication is much higher on right-hander Alec Hansen, ranking him No. 45 on its list, ahead of guys like Robert, Rutherford and Lopez.
Overall, the team has made a major jump after ranking near the bottom of the pack in terms of its minor league system as little as one year ago. Back then, the now-No.12 ranked Carson Fulmer led the way, following Tim Anderson’s promotion to The Show. The Sox now seem to be following the path set by the other Chicago team a few years ago: asset acquisition.
While the future is bright, the present is a huge question mark on the South Side of Chicago.
We’re starting to see the future emerge. Left-hander and de facto ace Carlos Rodon is back and throwing again. Moncada has been up for a couple weeks, and Tim Anderson remains at shortstop after signing a nice contract. That’s all good on paper, but the results haven’t been there.
Rodon is 1-4 in his six starts, while Moncada is batting .105 in 12 games. Meanwhile, Anderson—after a solid offensive debut is 2016—is batting .235 with a .608 OPS in 92 games this season.
Beyond that, Chicago is dealing with a completely revamped bullpen. Four of the top five pitchers in terms of appearances are gone. Only Chris Beck remains. Along with Jake Petricka, Beck and company will now need to fill in for a team strength turned weakness.
At the start of the week, the team ace was gone, slugging third baseman Frazier was adjusting to life in the Bronx, and Cabrera was taking hacks in Kansas City. Factor in an injured Avisail Garcia and there’s not too much to get excited about in 2017. This is not a team to bank on in our MLB Pick ‘Em Contests, but the future is bright.
Until that future arrives, though, Sox fans will have to be content watching Jose Abreu help guide Moncada, while Matt Davidson continues his all-or-nothing approach with 22 home runs and 124 strikeouts.
How long before the next wave of prospects arrive for manager Rick Renteria?