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Five White Sox make Baseball America’s Top 100

You have to wait till Wednesday to find out who they are ... but we have some guesses

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago White Sox at Seattle Mariners
No. 4, with a bullet: Looking for a benefit to Eloy staying the minors to “work on his defense? He should become the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Is it possible that the Chicago White Sox place five players in the Baseball America Top 50?

BA’s list of Top 100 Prospects in baseball will be released on Wednesday. But in an exclusive given only to South Side Sox, Baseball America tells us it will be placing five White Sox in its 2019 preseason Top 100.

Last year, BA had four White Sox in the Top 100:

4. Eloy Jiménez, OF
11. Michael Kopech, P
58. Luis Robert, OF
82. Dane Dunning, P

Baseball America’s 2018 midseason Top Prospects, released in July, were:

1. Eloy Jiménez, OF
2. Michael Kopech, P
3. Nick Madrigal, 2B
4. Luis Robert, OF
5. Dylan Cease, P
6. Dane Dunning, P
7. Zack Collins, C
8. Luis Basabe, OF

So by midseason, Madrigal slotted in right behind Jiménez and Kopech, and ahead of Robert, who at the time was still sidelined with his thumb injury. Cease’s extraordinary first half in 2018 saw him leapfrogging Dunning, who wasn’t shabby at all to that point, either.

A final clue to the puzzle of who the mystery five will be comes from BA’s current listing of top five prospects:

1. Eloy Jiménez, OF
2. Michael Kopech, P
3. Dylan Cease, P
4. Nick Madrigal, 2B
5. Luis Robert, OF

which indicates Cease has taken a farther leap, squeezing past Madrigal for a top-three placement.

So, presuming these are the five White Sox who have cracked BA’s Top 100, where will they place?

Robert was ranked the lowest a year ago, at No. 58, and in spite of a fabulous Arizona Fall League probably slips a bit due to his near-seasonlong thumb injury in 2018. There’s an outside, outside chance that Robert makes the modest leap into the Top 50, which would likely place five White Sox in that elite group.

There’s a chance Madrigal doesn’t place in the Top 50, but I’m skeptical. It seems the South Siders may be placing four guys in the Top 50 in all of baseball! Not bad.

With Ronald Acuna (No. 1 in 2018) and Shohei Ohtani (No. 2) graduating to the majors, it seems certain that Jiménez will move up to No. 2 overall, behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (No. 3 last year).

How will the other White Sox fare? It’s plausible that a healthy Cease could leapfrog the TJS-rehabbing Kopech, possibly even into the BA Top 10. How far does Kopech fall, if at all? And how bullish is Baseball America on Madrigal; will he be considered a Top 25 player this preseason?

Find out on Wednesday at Baseball America, which provides free newsletters and an e-edition of its magazine, and offers subscriptions starting at $6.25/mo. for access to all things BA.