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Spirit of 76

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White Sox place six players in Baseball Prospectus’ Top 76 prospects, five in Baseball America’s

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago White Sox at Seattle Mariners
Dinged for defense, right? Eloy Jiménez remains both BA’s and BP’s top White Sox prospect.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus released their lists of preseason Top 100 prospects (word up, BA’s list is behind a paywall).

A big question posed in Monday’s BA exclusive to South Side Sox (letting us know that five Chicago White Sox prospects had landed in its Top 100) was whether all five would crack the Top 50.

Not quite. Would you settle for Top 76? Likewise, would you be OK with six White Sox in BP’s Top 76?

First, let’s take a look at Baseball America’s list (2018 ranks in parenthesis):
3. Eloy Jiménez, OF (up one spot from No. 4)
21. Michael Kopech, RHP (down 10 spots from No. 11)
38. Dylan Cease, RHP (not ranked)
43. Nick Madrigal, 2B (not ranked)
76. Luis Robert, OF (down 18 spots from No. 58)

In a move that was harsh but anticipated after Monday’s news, RHP Dane Dunning, ranked No. 82 in last year’s list, fell out of BA’s Top 100.

Want some even brighter news? BP nearly had four White Sox in their Top 25! Here’s Baseball Prospectus’ list (2018 ranks in parenthesis):
4. Eloy Jiménez, OF (up two spots from No. 6)
15. Nick Madrigal, 2B (not ranked)
24. Michael Kopech, RHP (down seven spots, from No. 17)
26. Dylan Cease, RHP (not ranked)
45. Luis Robert, OF (up 10 spots from No. 55)
76. Dane Dunning, OF (up 13 spots from No. 89)

Six Top 100 picks is swell, but consider that a year ago, the White Sox placed eight: Yep, Alec Hansen (No. 40 in 2018), Jake Burger (No. 84) and Blake Rutherford (No. 90) all fell out of BP’s Top 100.

Nearly every player here is seen somewhat differently by the two outfits. Let’s drill down.

Eloy Jiménez (average rank, 3.5): OK, so I lied. Not much room for contrast between a top-three and top-four ranking.

Michael Kopech (22.5): Kopech didn’t get knocked too hard for a mixed MLB debut or his TJS injury/rehab that will keep him out for 2019. Instead, both lists, while applying some caution to Kopech given the severity of his injury, preferred to place fair weight on his outstanding Triple-A season.

Nick Madrigal (29): Color me a bit shocked here at the Madrigal love from BP. No. 15 places him impossibly, like 2019 call-up, high. Wow. BA seems a bit more realistic.

Dylan Cease (32): The march to the Top 10 continues for Cease, who took mega-leaps on both lists. BP had the good sense to place him in the Top 50 last year, while BA made up for omitting Cease completely by slotting him at No. 38 with a bullet in 2019.

Luis Robert (60.5): The most fascinating contrast of all lands with Robert. BA chose, not completely unfairly, to ding Robert for basically missing all of 2018’s regular season. Meanwhile, BP must have been agog at Robert’s AFL work this fall, moving him up 10 spots in spite of his All-Absentia 2018 season.

Dane Dunning (76): Again, somebody at BP really digs the cream of the White Sox crop. While BA used Dunning’s late elbow issues to drag him off of their list (ignoring a season nearly as inspiring as Cease’s), BP not only kept Dunning in its Top 100, but bumped him up 13 spots.

Next up in this frenzied Top 100 season is MLB Pipeline, which sets loose its list on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT (MLB Network and MLB.com).