The top eight 2014 top White Sox prospect lists

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Erik Johnson stands tall as the consensus No. 1 prospect, but the big board is more notable for the kind of player who couldn't crack most of the rankings

As some of you have seen -- and fought in -- John Sickels released his Top 20 White Sox prospects list at Minor League Ball, which finally brings prospect-ranking season to a close.

That means we can update the big board, although thanks to the Jose Abreu signing, we have to include an asterisk or two. Half the board included Abreu in their top prospects list, on the basis that he hasn't played a game in the majors. The other half left him off, because he's not expected to spend any time in the minors, which means he's not a reflection of their development system.

For consistency's sake, I removed Abreu from the lists, and bumped all other names up one spot. That way, we can better compare the players the White Sox farm system aims to produce.

Anderson
E. Johnson
E. Johnson
E. Johnson
E. Johnson
Davidson
E. Johnson
E. Johnson
E. Johnson
Davidson
Anderson
Anderson
Davidson
Hawkins
Hawkins
Davidson
Hawkins
Semien
Davidson
Hawkins
Anderson
E. Johnson
Semien
Semien
Davidson
Anderson
Semien
Beck
Hawkins
Anderson
Beck
Anderson
Semien
M. Johnson
M. Johnson
Danish
M. Johnson
Thompson
Anderson
Hawkins
Sanchez
May
Hawkins
Semien
Semien
Beck
M. Johnson
Beck
Beck
Danish
Thompson
Sanchez
Thompson
Danish
Thompson
Danish
Thompson
Beck
Beck
M. Johnson
Beck
Semien
Snodgress
M. Johnson
Danish
Thompson
May
Thompson
A. Mitchell
Sanchez
Webb
Thompson
May
Hawkins

Montas
May
J. Mitchell
Bassitt
Webb

*Ranked Abreu No. 1.
** Ranked Abreu No. 3.

The rankings don't matter so much in terms of specific increments. Matt Davidson and Courtney Hawkins play different positions, and they're years apart in terms of age and development stages. The nature of numerical orders automatically make a statement regarding which one is "better," but they're not players who would naturally demand a one-to-one comparison, so, you know, big deal.

But the list format underscores one shift specific to this year -- the dearth of relief-only candidates in the top 10.

In past seasons for the White Sox farm system, Daniel Webb's profile would have been good enough to earn a consensus top-five spot. Now, he represents but a couple of blips on the board. That's no knock on Webb, who has the makings of a fine late-inning, high-leverage option, but OK position players and starters have more to offer.

Some other observations:

*Courtney Hawkins didn't suffer from his down year as much as I expected. Sickels was the only one who was really down on him when ranking him on a list, but even then, he admits that he just doesn't know whether the Sox broke him in, or just broke him down.

*Carlos Sanchez took the brunt of it, though. He ranked no lower than fourth across the big board last year, and now he's largely absent from most columns.

*Tyler Danish probably engenders the most disagreement about his ceiling, but when you listen to his biggest fans talk about him, their enthusiasm is contagious. There are a number of more important prospects in the White Sox system, but Danish is the guy I most want to see for myself.

*Micah Johnson's stolen-base spree earned him a lot of fans, even though it's quite unclear where he goes from here.

*MLB.com's list immediately sticks out for putting Matt Davidson in the first spot, but it makes sense in a cross-section like this, because it's possible that Davidson turns out to be that good. When you go from scrolling horizontally to vertically, FanGraphs' list registers the most confusion -- and that's before considering that Marc Hulet ranked Abreu third.

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