The New Prospect Rankings Are Here!

We take a break from your regularly scheduled free agent outfield rumors, because the new phone books are here! Tim Anderson is somebody!

Monday was “White Sox Day” over at Baseball America and with that came our first glance of a Top 10 prospects list from any major outlet ahead of the 2016 season. While several more will likely be coming soon, this provided us with our first opportunity to see where the farm system stands, in some respect, following a 2015 season with several promotions and an offseason that saw a few guys shipped away.

So let’s take a look at how BA ranked the Top 10 prospects in the White Sox organization:

  1. Tim Anderson SS
  2. Carson Fulmer, RHP
  3. Spencer Adams, RHP
  4. Trey Michalczewski, 3B
  5. Jacob May, OF
  6. Tyler Danish, RHP
  7. Adam Engel, OF
  8. Jordan Guerrero, LHP
  9. Courtney Hawkins, OF
  10. Corey Zangari, 1B

For comparison’s sake, here’s BA’s list in February 2015:

  1. Carlos Rodon, LHP
  2. Tim Anderson, SS
  3. Spencer Adams, RHP
  4. Micah Johnson, 2B
  5. Francellis Montas, RHP
  6. Micker Adolfo, OF
  7. Tyler Danish, RHP
  8. Trey Michalczewski, 3B
  9. Courtney Hawkins, OF
  10. Jacob May, OF

There has been a significant amount of movement, most notably the graduation of Rodon to the majors and the trade that sent both Johnson and Montas to the Dodgers. While that trade brought back a significant major league contributor in Todd Frazier, it did rob the White Sox of organizational depth as while Johnson and Montas (as well as Trayce Thompson) aren’t projected for stardom, they are all guys you could see contributing at the major league level in 2016 and/or beyond.

What the White Sox find themselves with now is a very top-heavy farm system. The positive side of this is that the top three (Anderson, Fulmer and Adams) all have a solid shot at finding themselves on most Top 100 Prospects lists as we get closer to the start of the season (definitely for Anderson and Fulmer, and possible for Adams). Anderson, for what it’s worth, will likely be in the Top 20-40 range depending on the list, and the White Sox haven’t had a positional prospect ranked as highly as him since … well, I don’t want to go there (it was Gordon Beckham).

The rest of the list is far from impressive, which is one of the reason’s BA’s Matt Eddy, in a chat Monday, said the White Sox currently have a bottom-third system.

That's not to say the White Sox have been reckless in giving away prospects as they've certainly guilty of in the past. When moving guys like the aforementioned three who went to Los Angeles, they have been calculated moves that simultaneously aim to improve the currently club without sacrificing too much future value. This is a welcome change from giving away valuable prospects for past-their-prime veterans. (Royce Ring for Roberto Alomar always comes to mind, even though Ring didn't pan out).

Likewise, the state of the White Sox's farm system was in such disarray a few years ago — it wasn't long ago that Addison Reed was the team's top prospect — that a gradual increase in the team's ranking (albeit with some fluctuation) coinciding with a gradual increase in the success at the major league level (TBD) is a step in the right direction.

The players in the 4-10 bring to mind a lot of skepticism and "really, him?" reactions. Michalczewski, for example, will be 21 at the start of this season and, per Friend of the Blog Mau Rubio, a prospect writer for 2080 Baseball, has the potential to develop power but will likely be a utility guy who can't stick at third base.

Machalczewski, May, Engel and the rest of the Top 10 don't exactly move the needle, but that's expected when you're looking at a team with a slowly improving farm system that is simultaneously trying to win games at the major league level.

The White Sox farm system rankings in 2016 aren't as impressive as they were in 2015, but that downgrade coincides with what we expect to be an improved major league team in 2016.

And after all, that's the point. The goal is to win the World Series. Not have the best farm system.

Follow Collin Whitchurch @cowhitchurch and The Catbird Seat @TheCatbird_Seat.