When Rick Hahn was named general manager last offseason, one of his main goals was to revamp and reshape the White Sox franchise from the top to the bottom.

One of the glaring holes that Hahn inherited was the team’s farm system, which was consistently ranked by baseball writers as bottom of the barrel. Since being named general manager, Hahn has made some great trades and signed some great talent to both compete at the major league level while also replenishing a depleted minor league talent pool.

The White Sox will look to improve in the win column in 2014, but at the same time they will look to develop and acquire more talent to stockpile in Charlotte (AAA affiliate) and Birmingham (AA affiliate). As of now, the White Sox have some promising young players, but the following are the most promising, and the best of the best.

1. Jose Abreu 


After signing a six year, $68 million deal with the White Sox, Jose Abreu looks to be the first baseman of the present and the foreseeable future. Paul Konerko looks to be heading into his curtain call year with the team which means Abreu will have to pick up the slack on the fly. Abreu is a big man and he hits like one too, possessing a  lot of power in his swing, while also hitting for average. However, replacing Konerko is not a one-dimensional process as Konerko also played Gold Glove caliber defense. Thankfully, most scouts and reports seem to all iterate that Abreu is not slouch with the glove and should at the very minimum be an average defender at first base. Abreu will most likely share time, if not start at first base in 2014 and should be on the Opening Day roster barring a bad performance in spring training.

ETA – 2014

2. Matt Davidson 


Another newcomer to the White Sox system is Matt Davidson, a third baseman, formerly of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Davidson enjoyed a nice campaign in the 2013 as he won MVP of the Minor League All-Star game, won the Minor League Home Run Derby, and was rated the Diamondbacks fourth best prospect. A quick glance at Davidson’s numbers will show you that he can hit for power and he has a lot of it. Another good sign is that he gets on base and has a very respectable slugging percentage. Davidson will compete for the starting third baseman job in spring training like Abreu. However, unlike Abreu, Davidson isn’t expected to come into himself as fast, and Rick Hahn and the Sox front office is very comfortable giving him more time in AAA and starting the platoon of Keppinger/Gillaspie instead. Yet, most still think he will be the starter at some point this season.

ETA – 2014

3. Erik Johnson 


Johnson was drafted in second round by the White Sox in 2011 and he seems to be making a run at the 2014 starting rotation, at least with the performance he had last year. Johnson pitched at three levels last year going from Birmingham where he pitched to an 8-2 record and 2.23 ERA, to Charlotte where he lowered his ERA to 1.57 and increased his strikeout rate from Birmingham, to Chicago where he still faired well, but wasn’t as stellar as his two previous stops. The White Sox cannot ignore that type of performance and he will most likely be in consideration to break camp with the Sox in 2014.

ETA – 2014

4. Marcus Semien 


Semein is a third base prospect for the Sox, but he is very versatile, being able to play all over the infield. Semien, like Johnson, is joining the movement of home grown White Sox draftees to start contributing to the big club. Semien, like Johnson, would not be ignored with his impressive 2013 campaign. However, Semien’s strengths weren’t hitting for average, power, or stolen bases, though he can do all of the above. Instead, Semien was called up to the big show because he has the impeccable talent to get on base, and do it insanely often as he compiled a collective .401 OBP in the minors (at both AA & AAA) in 2013. Semien’s ability to get on base and his versatility on the infield may land him a bench spot with the big club in 2014.

ETA – 2014

5. Tyler Danish 


Danish was drafted in 2013, Rick Hahn’s first draft with the Sox, in the second round. Danish started off the year with the Bristol Sox in rookie ball and did well, posting an 8.4 strikeout rate with a 1.4 walk rate. Danish’s great control and funky arm motion help him be even more deceptive, and he will only get better as the minor league staff develops him. Danish was promoted to Class A Kannapolis to end the year and also had success there so he is expected to rise quickly in the Sox system. He expected to be a contributor to the Sox pitching staff in the near future but he is nowhere near ready yet.

ETA – 2016

6. Tim Anderson 


Anderson was the White Sox first round selection in this year’s draft. Anderson, who plays shortstop, is very athletic. He is a line drive hitter, but his below average bat speed and the fact that he hasn’t faced top of the line college level pitching puts him at a disadvantage. One of Anderson’s key strengths is that he is fast. He stole 24 bases this year for Class A Kannapolis and was only caught 4 times. Anderson seems like he’ll be an average player but we won’t see him for awhile as he needs to develop his power, plate discipline, and get adjusted to a higher level of competition.

ETA – 2017

7. Micah Johnson


Johnson was drafted by the Pale Hose in the 2012 draft and he has taken great strides in his first full season of professional baseball. Starting the year in A ball at Kannapolis, Johnson proved that he could get on base at an excellent rate, posting a high of a .422 on base percentage at Kannapolis in over 350+ at bats. Not to mention that when Johnson gets on base, he can almost always get another base as he is a proven speedster stealing 81 bases overall in 2013 across three levels. However, slowing Johnson down is the fact that he may have been moved up to fast and suffered a drastic decline of performance from A+ ball to AA ball. Not to mention that Johnson is blocked currently by Gordon Beckham at second base.

ETA – 2016

8. Chris Beck 


Another recent draftee, Beck, a starting pitcher of the class of 2012, really established himself as a top White Sox prospect in 2013. After performing well at Class A+ Winston-Salem (3.2 BB/9, 4.3 K/9), the front office moved him up to pitch at Birmingham where he pitched even better than at Winston-Salem. Beck saw his walk rate decrease to 1.0 and his strikeout rate increase to 7.1. Another great think about Beck is that he doesn’t give up a lot of home runs. This will especially come in handy should he make the big club in the near future.

ETA – 2015

9. Trayce Thompson 


Thompson has been considered what could be a franchise cornerstone for the past couple of years. Drafted in 2009 out of high school Thompson has had a lot of things to work on, one being his plate discipline. Thompson is a five tool athlete, the hallmark of the Kenny Williams drafting era. Although Thompson can hit the ball a country mile and steal bases he struggles to make contact with the ball and has a amazingly high strikeout rate at 32% of his at-bats in 2013. If Thompson can learn to stop chasing pitches and make more consistent contact he will be that cornerstone player, but until then he will have to continue to try and dethrone perennial trade bait Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo.

ETA – 2015

10. Daniel Webb


Webb is an interesting player. Drafted as a reliever by the Blue Jays in 2009, he did absolutely terrible for them (5.48 ERA in 2011) which lead to his eventual trade to the White Sox in the Jason Frasor deal. 2013 was a turnaround season for Webb’s career as he pitched across all three levels of the White Sox minor league system posting a 1.87 ERA with an outstanding 11.2 K/9 ratio and a 3.9 BB/9 ratio. Webb is a favorite to land with the White Sox bullpen out of spring training, and if he did it would be a hell of a story.

ETA – 2014

11. Courtney Hawkins


Oh how the mighty have fallen. The outfielder who was once considered THE top prospect in the White Sox system, Hawkins can barely hit his weight in A ball and probably strikes out more than Adam Dunn. However, like Adam Dunn, when he makes contact it is devastating as he hit 19 home runs in 2013. Needs a lot of polishing, but he is getting put on the back burner because you need to be able to make contact with the ball to be effective in Major League Baseball.

ETA – 2017

12. Jake Petricka 

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals

Petricka, a relief pitcher drafted in 2010 is another guy who will battle for a bullpen spot come spring. Petricka has been very effective as a power pitcher as he pitched to approximately a 9 K/9 ratio in 2013 across two levels. Despite the high strikeout ratio Petricka still needs to work on his control and bring down the amount of walks he hands out before he becomes an effective major league reliever.

ETA – 2014

13. Carlos Sanchez 


Carlos Sanchez has been knocking on the door of US Cellular Field the past two years begging to be let in. While Sanchez could have probably been a good addition to the club the past two years it’s not due to merit. The White Sox weak lineup was cause for a lineup mix up that called for Sanchez to possibly take on a bench role. However, the call up never happened and Carlos Sanchez seems like he may be buried again with a deep middle infield crop developing under him and Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham above him. Of course, Sanchez could see some action should a trade happen and if that happens you can expect a jack of all trades but a master of none. He has speed, contact ability, a decent glove, and a good baseball IQ. His only glaring weakness is a total lack of power that has seen him only hit three home runs in his four year minor league career.

ETA – 2015

14. Micker Adolfo 


Considered to have the the best raw power in latin america, Adolfo was signed this offseason to a contract that included a $1.6 million dollar signing bonus, the largest in White Sox history for an international signee. He is only 16, so it’s really hard to say too much about this kid. But, whenever you hear power and think, “Hey, he’ll be playing in U.S. Cellular Field!” You can’t help but get excited.

ETA – 2019

15. Jacob May


Drafted this past year in the 3rd round of this year’s draft, outfielder Jacob May got right into it when he arrived at rookie ball hitting .378 with a .481 OBP. He was quickly promoted and did very well at Class A Kannapolis hitting .286 with 8 home runs and 28 RBI in 54 games. If May can keep the hot hand I don’t see a reason as to why he can’t rise through the system quickly. We could see him in the bigs soon.

ETA – 2016

16. Keon Barnum 


Drafted in the 1st round of the 2012 draft after Hawkins, Barnum had decent statistics at Class A Kannapolis. Time will tell if he turns out to be the first baseman/designated hitter of the future, but the signing of Jose Abreu doesn’t instill much confidence in that notion.

ETA – 2018

17. Chris Bassitt 


After two years in A ball Bassitt was promoted to AA Birmingham this year and didn’t do to bad. His 2.27 ERA and 7.0 K/9 ratio show that he has promise. A couple of spot starts when the big club’s starters are injured could be what Bassitt needs to push him over the edge.

ETA – 2017

18. Francellis Montas 


Montas has a power arm with a 10.9 K/9, but he also has a control issue with a 6.3 BB/9 ratio. If he can start to locate his pitches he would be a valuable piece to the bullpen.

ETA – 2020

19. Eric Surkamp


Like Bassitt, Surkamp is another starting pitcher who is on the cusp of a big league rotation. He didn’t fair well during his stints with the Giants big club but maybe some of the White Sox pitching coach magic could push him over the edge.

ETA – 2017

20. Rangel Ravelo


Ravelo is starting to hit well and looks like he might be able to make the jump to AA this year. The problem with Ravelo is that his power numbers do not look promising and he is a first baseman. Unfortunately, the White Sox are loaded with other power hitting first baseman and traditionally fill that spot with a power hitter.

ETA – 2018

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