For the next year or two, watching the White Sox and their minor league affiliates will be all about dreaming about the future, much as it was in 2017. There are a lot of prospects and recently-graduated prospects to watch, and there are a lot of different ways they could combine into an interesting team a few years down the round.
That said, it can be difficult sometimes to keep track of all of the young players and prospects and where they fit into the long-term picture. To help with this, I’ve undertaken a new project in graphic design: the White Sox Rebuild Depth Chart. (Click on the image for a full-size version.)
This chart contains most of the White Sox 40-man roster and most of the team’s top prospects. It attempts to provide a longitudinal view of the organizational talent by highlighting and arranging the depth at each position group in the major and minor leagues. The rules to this exercise are as follows:
- Players are grouped by position, with similar positions combined. Each player’s assigned position is his ideal outcome.
- Each position group is sorted by each player’s “impact” on the rebuild. This includes factors such as current ability, prospect pedigree, future value, and trade value
- Several of these players will eventually fall to a less premier position, as indicated by the arrows between position groups. This can happen because the player doesn’t stick at their ideal position or they are blocked from that position by a better player. Either way, falling to a lower position makes the player less impactful, although a player at a low-priority position can still be high-impact (such as Jose Abreu).
- Players in black are already in the majors, and players in dark gray are likely to arrive in the majors this season. Players in light gray are further off, but some could get a cup of coffee in 2018.
Here’s a quick breakdown by position group:
- Shortstop/Second Base: Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson are the middle infielders long-term. Yolmer Sanchez will probably get an extended look at third, and the others are utility candidates.
- Third Base: We’ll see if Jake Burger can stick at third as he progresses up the minors. Other than him, there’s not a whole lot at this position, hence all the Manny Machado talk.
- Catcher: Welington Castillo is a good catcher right now, and Zack Collins could take over if he can stick behind the plate, but it’s starting to look less and less likely.
- Center Field: Luis Robert is the future, but until then there are a whole lot of less inspiring options to sort out. Cordell could end up in a corner if he can’t fake-it-’til-he-makes-it in center.
- Left Field/Right Field: Avisail Garcia can make himself into a extension candidate or a big trade chip if he keeps up his improved performance. If not, he’s still keeping the seat warm for Eloy Jimenez. Nicky Delmonico probably gets a crack at left, but could be headed down to DH.
- First Base/Designated Hitter: Abreu will stay at first to open the year, possibly with Matt Davidson and/or Casey Gillaspie at DH. The Sox can keep these positions open in the future for whichever young players are less defensively gifted, unless Abreu stays beyond 2019.
- Starting Pitchers: This has to be the deepest group in the organization, with something like ten guys who aren’t hard to picture as serviceable starters or better. Of course, injuries and declines make that unlikely to happen, and some starters will fall into relief while others will flame out.
- Relief Pitchers: Because most of the Sox’s best young pitchers are being groomed as starters, this mostly consists of the current major league bullpen and struggling young starters, but a starter or two becoming good relievers (e.g., Carson Fulmer) would be a shot in the arm.
This is a first pass that can be modified as players are added and subtracted and others rise and fall based on performance. What do you think? Are any players too high or too low? Is anyone important missing?