On Tuesday afternoon, Major League Baseball handed down a very stiff punishment to the Atlanta Braves organization for their numerous international free agency rules violations.
The punishment grants 12 of the Braves prospects free agency including their top international prospect Kevin Maitan. In other words, MLB laid the hammer down on the Braves.
The sanctions enforced by MLB indirectly affect the Chicago White Sox, as their farm system is now considered the best in baseball. That is according to one major beat writer.
MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis tweeted out his top farm systems as they stand now.
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) November 21, 2017
Callis is regarded as one of the best at evaluating and projecting talent teams have in their farm system and has spent years doing so.
In years past some of the teams he has touted as having the best farms systems included the Chicago Cubs during their rebuild and recently the New York Yankees, who were led to the American League Championship Series this year by their young talent.
Callis had the Braves ranked number one before today’s decision by MLB to force the Braves to release 12 of their prospects hurting their ranking.
The number one ranking speaks volumes for the White Sox organization as for nearly a decade the team was seen as having one of the worst minor league systems in all of baseball.
In December of last year, general manager Rick Hahn was finally given the power to conduct a total rebuild of the organization in which he began trading of some of the team’s best talent for prospects.
The rebuild began with the trade of the team’s best pitcher in Chris sale to the Boston Red Sox that in return gave the White Sox the number one prospect in all of baseball in infielder Yoan Moncada and others. Hahn was not done as just the next day he traded outfielder Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals in return for two of the top pitching prospects in starting pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez.
Those two trade alone gave the White Sox four prospects who were rated in MLB Top 100 Prospects List and gave the team a top 10 ranking in farms system in all of MLB. Hahn and the White Sox were not satisfied as they traded off more pieces including Jose Quintana, Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and other relievers stockpiling their minor league system.
After a full season of trades, The White Sox now have six players included in the top 100 lists included two in the top 10 of the list who are outfielder Eloy Jimenez and pitcher Michael Kopech.
The White Sox make the top ranking even after seeing Moncada, Giolito, Lopez, and Carson Fulmer were called up during the second half of the season and are expected to be on the opening day roster in 2018. All four players appeared on the Top 100 List at the start of the season. Their ranking will only be reinforced by as the team will have the fourth overall pick in the 2018 Amateur Draft next June.
With the number one ranking, the White Sox organization achieved one of the biggest farm system turnarounds in less than one year’s time.
Heading into the 2018 season, there is intrigue to see how the prospects who were called up last season will perform for a full season in majors and excitement for the possible prospects who could be called up mid-season.
The only way in which today’s decision could have more of an affect on the White Sox is if they were able to sign one of the 12 prospects who were granted free agency, which would then become an early Christmas gift for the White Sox fan base.