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The end of White Sox prospect ranking season

Yoenis Cespedes finally connected in a big way during his slow start in the Dominican League, turning around a 97-mph fastball for a towering home run. Here's the video:

I don't know about you guys, but I really hope the White Sox buy lots and lots of MODESTO.

And while it's a little too convenient to make the comparison, I saw a lot of this guy in the follow-through:

The finish is eerily similar, but while watching their hands, it seems like Cespesdes takes a little more time to get going. If nothing else, this is a reminder that I'm really looking forward to watching Viciedo hit this season.

But should the Sox not sign Cespedes, or trade Gavin Floyd, then we can pretty much close the book on evaluating the farm system. All the major rankings are in. J.J. has it sorted by prospect, and I'll do it the other way.

SSS* Sickels** Goldstein BA FanGraphs**
1 Addison Reed Nestor Molina Addison Reed Addison Reed Addison Reed
2 Nestor Molina Addison Reed Nestor Molina Nestor Molina Nestor Molina
3 Tyler Saladino Tyler Saladino Trayce Thompson Simon Castro Keenyn Walker
4 Hector Santiago Trayce Thompson Jake Petricka Trayce Thompson Trayce Thompson
5 Simon Castro Hector Santiago Simon Castro Jake Petricka Dylan Axelrod
6 Jake Petricka Jake Petricka Keenyn Walker Keenyn Walker Jake Petricka
7 Eduardo Escobar Kevan Smith Eduardo Escobar Jhan Marinez Tyler Saladino
8 Trayce Thompson Dylan Axelrod Jhan Marinez Tyler Saladino Eduardo Escobar
9 Keenyn Walker Andre Rienzo Myles Jaye Juan Silverio Jared Mitchell
10 Brandon Short Erik Johnson Tyler Saladino Ozzie Martinez Hector Santiago
11 Jared Mitchell Keenyn Walker Andre Rienzo Charlie Leesman
12 Jared Mitchell Juan Silverio Brandon Short
13 Eduardo Escobar Jared Mitchell Gregory Infante
14 Charlie Leesman Brandon Short Jhan Marinez
15 Gregory Infante Pedro Hernandez Scott Snodgress
16 Nate Jones Gregory Infante
17 Jeff Soptic Erik Johnson
18 Scott Snodgress Michael Blanke
19 Jose Quintana Dylan Axelrod
20 Blair Walters Ozzie Martinez

* Larry updated his list to put Castro a notch below Santiago, due to Santiago's handedness and Castro's issues with repeatability that may relegate him to relief work.
**List was published before the acquisition of Castro. [Edit: Sickels
revised his list to place Castro at #4.]

Santiago is the oddest duck -- Larry's been a fan since way back, but I would have figured that his successful cup of coffee before September would have warranted more attention from others, but that doesn't appear to be the case. There are other prospects scattered about the chart, but for more solid reasons. I can see Marinez winning some "Pick Your Favorite Power Arm" contests, and we'll have a much better feel for Walker's game after his first full season.

For what it's worth, my getting-on-the-bandwagon-early pick for 2012 is Erik Johnson.


The Baseball America chat took place a week late due to some conflict in Phil Rogers' schedule, and John Manuel ended up handling the questions instead.

Among his insights:

*With Santiago, Manuel pointed out that he struggled upon returning to the minors, but that could be the result of a natural emotional letdown.

*Jared Mitchell still has his bat speed, but said his timetable has been pushed waaaay back.

*Michael Blanke has a chance to be "a Mark Parent type," so he's in the right organization. Manuel loves his arm, grading it a 70.

*Charlie Leesman has top 10 upside, but not top 10 performance or consistency, echoing previous observations that he loses focus during games.

*No White Sox prospect received a "safe" grade, not even Reed. That's a new feature of their annual prospect book, and it will be interesting to see if any other relievers are considered better locks for big-league success on this scale.