Continuing forward, by utter and popular demand, it’s the South Side Sox Prospect Vote! (Not to worry, those murdered by the tediousness of, you know, spending some time thinking about second-tier prospects vs. hand-wringing over another 100 losses for the big club, the vote stops at 50. Take a deep breath ...)
We started this out trying to get as many names as possible on the ballot, but that only worked for about a dozen rounds before the results started to get a little wonky — no offense, Lincoln Henzman. So we’re back to the traditional five players out for each round, with combined 2018 stats to help you out in your decision-making process.
As we count down the SSS Prospect Vote, we’ll be counting up the overall list of Top 100 Prospects, with the SSS poll vote counting as a voice in the order of our official SSS Top 100.
Here’s how last year’s prospect vote wrangled out — all 42 picks, with an archive of every article in the 2018 series.
A final note: All copy below the poll, unless otherwise noted, comes from wsm’s Deep Dive series. Credit due. YOTH is just running the numbers.
Sound cool? Now, get voting!
Voting results for Round 36
The infield streak continues, with Corey Zangari taking a close race, with 36 of 96 (42.3%) votes. Zangari was not ranked in 2018.
2019 South Side Sox Prospect Vote Winners
2019 South Side Sox Prospect Vote Top First Basemen
More information on our polling.
Who is the 37th-best prospect in the White Sox system?
This poll is closed
2018 SSS poll ranking N/R
2018 High Level AZL White Sox (Rookie)
Overall 2018 stats 41 games ▪️ 1 HR ▪️ 22 RBI ▪️ .306/.339/.388 ▪️ 5-of-6 SB ▪️ 7 BB ▪️ 26 K
Comas was one of four outfielders who got a large signing bonus with the White Sox on July 2, 2016 — joining Josue Guerrero, Luis Mieses and Anthony Coronado — and Comas’ signing bonus that year ($450,000) was second only to Guerrero’s $1.1 million. Of the nine players who signed that day with the White Sox, the only two players to possibly outshine Comas this year were shortstop Lenyn Sosa (who spent the year with Great Falls) and starter Brayan Herrera.
Comas, a native of the Dominican Republic, enjoyed a respectable rookie campaign in 2017 with the DSL White Sox by hitting .291/.316/.329 with eight walks, 45 strikeouts, and one stolen base (but no homers) over 237 at-bats. The peripherals weren’t anything to get too excited about, but keep in mind Comas was just 17, and a strikeout rate of 18.29% isn’t too bad by today’s standards. Plus, many hitters his age aren’t usually patient enough to coax a high walk rate. Comas did improve significantly, however, after a difficult first month (.216/.272/.257); he hit a combined .325/.339/.362 afterward.
The 2018 season with the AZL White Sox, at 1.4 years younger than league average, saw Comas hit at a .306/.339/.388 clip with one homer, seven walks, 26 strikeouts, and five steals over 160 at-bats. His reduced number of plate appearances didn’t have anything to do with performance — because of the expanded rookie league rosters, there was a plethora of outfielders in Arizona, all needing playing time.
Comas improved his walk rate from 3.25% to 4.19%, dropped his K rate to 15.57%, and improved his K/BB ratio from 5.63 to 3.71. Not only was 2018 a more productive season than the year before, Comas’ numbers also saw an improvement during the year, as he hit .269/.321/.308 in June, .290/.303/.339 in July and .333/.377/.458 in August. The improvements across the board show that Comas isn’t afraid to make adjustments, which could reap him huge dividends over time.
It stands to reason that Comas will gain more weight and muscle as he gets older. He’s got average- to slightly-above-average speed, but should slow down with age (hey, who doesn’t?). However, he’s savvy enough to develop into a double-digit base-stealer as he develops more confidence.
Comas should begin next year in the hitting-friendly confines of Great Falls. Due to his age and system’s current outfield depth, there’s certainly no need to rush him; as a result, he shouldn’t play full season ball with Kannapolis until 2020.
Left-handed starting pitcher
2018 SSS poll ranking 21
2018 High Level Charlotte (AAA)
Overall 2018 stats 10-8 ▪️ 26 games (25 starts) ▪️ 130 1⁄3 IP ▪️ 4.76 ERA ▪️ 120 K ▪️ 47 BB ▪️ 1.496 WHIP
Guerrero, a native of Oxnard, Calif., was drafted in the 15th round by the White Sox as a lanky, 165-pound southpaw from Moorpark High School. His first two years were spent with rookie league Bristol, where he combined for a 3.93 ERA and 1.46 WHIP by allowing 41 hits (.301 OBA) and nine walks (6.2 BB%), while striking out 21 (14.5 K%) Appalachian League hitters over just 34 innings of work.
The spotlight started shining on Guerrero after a stellar 2014 with Kannapolis, in which he pitched in 27 games (nine starts) encompassing 78 innings. He enjoyed a 3.46 ERA and 1.38 WHIP, allowing 81 hits (.266 OBA) and 27 walks (8.0 BB%) while striking out 80 (23.8 K%).
He began the 2015 season as the No. 28 White Sox prospect according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended to No. 9 in midseason rankings during a successful campaign with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem, where Guerrero combined for 3.08 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over 149 innings while allowing just 124 hits (.230 OBA) and 31 walks (5.3 BB%) and striking out 148 (25.1 K%).
Although Guerrero began the 2016 season as the White Sox’s No. 6 prospect, the wheels started falling off that year with Birmingham. Normally the possessor of terrific control, Guerrero walked more hitters (73) in 136 innings than he did in his previous three years (252 1⁄3 innings) combined. His walk rate increased to 12.2%, his punchout rate decreased to 18.1%, and his OBA increased to .260. As a result, his ERA and WHIP rose drastically, to 4.83 and 1.51.
Due to a combination of his 2016 slump and the acquisition of several elite prospects, Guerrero dropped to No. 21 in the organization’s MLB Pipeline rankings. He returned to Birmingham in 2017 with numbers that basically split his 2015 and 2016 results. Guerrero pitched his way to a 4.18 ERA and 1.32 WHIP over 146 1⁄3 innings while allowing 150 hits (.270 OBA) and 43 walks (7.0 BB%), striking out 136 (22.1 K%). Despite the improvements, Guerrero fell off many prospect lists (including MLB Pipeline) and was left unprotected from last year’s Rule 5 draft, to the disgruntlement of Guerrero and many White Sox fans. However, he went unclaimed.
The White Sox surprised many by leaving Guerrero, Spencer Adams, and Jordan Stephens in Birmingham to begin 2018. While Stephens excelled to start the year and was promoted relatively quickly, Adams and Guerrero both struggled out of the gate. Prior to his promotion on June 29, Guerrero suffered through a rather unsightly season, with a 6.06 ERA and 1.58 ERA over 65 1⁄3 innings, allowing 84 hits (.315 OBA) and 19 walks (6.5 BB%) while striking out 58 (19.8 K%) Southern League hitters. A light switch seemed to turn on for Guerrero upon his promotion to Charlotte, as he pitched quite effectively despite working in a much more hitter-friendly ballpark. In 65 innings for the Knights, Guerrero’s ERA and WHIP fell to 3.46 and 1.42 by allowing just 64 hits (.251 OBA) and 28 walks (9.8 BB%) and inducing opponents to whiff 62 times (21.8 K%).
Guerrero, who is 24 and now hits the mound at 195 pounds, has a fastball that can run up to 94 mph according to FanGraphs, but typically clocks in the lower 90s. His changeup is considered by most scouts to be his best pitch — some sites, like FanGraphs, grade it a 60. Guerrero gets in trouble sometimes by living exclusively with the change, which typically works best as a secondary pitch if there’s a big enough disparity between it and the fastball. A third pitch for Guerrero is a curveball, which is average at best, but has hittable slurvy action at its worst. Guerrero’s fourth pitch is a slider, which he’s deployed much more during the past couple of years. Over the course of his career, righties have only hit Guerrero slightly better than lefties; however, while his change works well against righties, Guerrero doesn’t have a consistent out pitch against lefties, as his slider and curve are still works in progress.
Guerrero will begin the season in Charlotte’s starting rotation.
Left-handed relief pitcher
2018 SSS poll ranking N/R
2016 High Level Tampa (A+)
Overall 2016 stats 1-0 ▪️ 6 games ▪️ 1 save ▪️ 7 IP ▪️ 2.57 ERA ▪️ 8 K ▪️ 9 BB ▪️ 1.286 WHIP
After Lindgren was taken in the second round of the 2014 draft by the New York Yankees, he started his meteoric rise to the majors, making it all the way to AA in his draft year. In 2015, Lindgren started the year in AAA, and even made seven appearances in the majors. Unfortunately, his rise was cut short after his first Tommy John surgery in the 2016 season, and the southpaw missed all of 2017. Before the start of the 2018 season, Lindgren signed with the Braves, earning a spot on Atlanta’s 40-man roster. However, he got hurt again, and had his second Tommy John surgery, missing his second straight season.
According to FanGraphs, Lindgren has good 1-2 punch with his fastball and slider. He is supposed to have an above-average fastball (rated at 55) and what could be an elite slider, with a grade at 60. In his limited time in the majors with the Yankees in 2015, Lindgren’s fastball was in the low 90s, and the slider was in the mid-to-low 80s. In terms of value, for what the extremely small sample size was worth almost four years ago, Lindgren’s fastball was one of the worst pitches in MLB at -4.86, but his slider was all what it was supposed to be at 4.03 (per 100 pitches).
In all levels of professional baseball, Lindgren has pitched 61 innings and had 93 strikeouts, thanks to that slider. That type of success made Lindgren a calculated gamble by GM Rick Hahn this offseason, one with little risk and a lot of reward.
However, Lindgren does have a walk problem, free-passing 36 batters in those 61 innings. Again, these stats probably do not mean much because he’s essentially missed the past three seasons, but he’s just 26 — which leaves a lot of room for a breakout year.
Right-handed starting pitcher
2018 SSS poll ranking 20
2017 High Level Winston-Salem (A)
Overall 2017 stats 10-7 ▪️ 25 starts ▪️ 135 2⁄3 IP ▪️ 4.44 ERA ▪️ 119 K ▪️ 51 BB ▪️ 1.423 WHIP
Puckett is an interesting story. He was a promising two-sport athlete in high school before a car accident left him in a medically-induced coma for two weeks to slow his blood loss. After that accident, he made a a full recovery and went to Pepperdine, where he was the West Coast Conference pitcher of the year in 2016 after fashioning the third-longest scoreless streak (45 2⁄3 innings) in NCAA Division I history. All Puckett did in his junior season was pitch 99 innings over 14 starts, posting an incredible 1.27 ERA and 0.92 WHIP; he allowed just 65 hits and 26 walks (2.36 BB/9) while fanning 95 batters (8.61 K/9). As a result of his efforts, the Kansas City Royals selected him in the second round of the 2016 MLB draft, signing him to a $1.2 million bonus.
For the AZL Royals and Lexington (Royals A-affiliate) immediately after the draft, Puckett held his own in 13 starts, with a combined 3.68 ERA and 1.11 WHIP and respectable .231 OBA and 2.30 BB/9, but his strikeouts were down (6.90 K/9). For the Royals A+ team (Wilmington) in 2017, he posted a 3.90 ERA and 1.41 WHIP through July 30 before being traded to the White Sox for outfielder Melky Cabrera. Puckett struggled a bit at hitter-friendly Winston-Salem in his five starts, as he posted a 4.28 ERA and 1.46 WHIP over 27 1⁄3 innings. In those innings, Puckett surrendered 35 hits (.327 OBA) and five walks (1.65 BB/9) while striking out 21 (6.91 K/9).
Puckett began 2018 season as the 23rd-ranked prospect in the White Sox system according to MLB Pipeline, and was slated to move up to Double-A Birmingham. However, due to an ailing elbow, Puckett missed the entire season (just like Andre Davis, the other player acquired in the Cabrera deal).
Puckett, like fellow prospect Spencer Adams, is more about pitchability than power. His best assets are his tumbling changeup, a legitimate plus pitch, and his advanced command. His fastball usually ranges from 90-94 mph with some run and sink, and his curveball can be an average third offering at times, but lacks consistency.
It is believed that Puckett had elbow surgery last month and will miss the 2019 season.
2018 SSS poll ranking 26
2018 High Level Winston-Salem (A+)
Overall 2018 stats 101 games ▪️ 6 HR ▪️ 46 RBI ▪️ .247/.296/.363 ▪️ 16-of-23 SB ▪️ 18 BB ▪️ 75 K
Yrizarri received a whopping $1.35 million signing bonus with the Texas Rangers on International Signing Day of July 2, 2013, when he was just 16. As a Ranger, the Venezuelan had a reasonable amount of success, but was never quite ready to take that next step. He was playing for the Down East Ducks, the Texas’ A+ squad, when Yryzarri was traded to the White Sox for international bonus pool money on July 15, 2017. After the trade, Yryzarri slashed .295/.304/.330 with Winston-Salem with one homer, 11 RBIs, one stolen base, two walks (1.71%) and 21 strikeouts (17.95%) over 112 at-bats.
On his return to Winston-Salem in 2018, Yrizarri hit .247/.296/.363 in 372 at-bats, with six homers, 46 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, 18 walks (4.46%) and 75 strikeouts (18.56%). On the surface, the season was a disappointment. However, Yrizarri easily attained his career high in walks and improved his stolen base efficiency. His slash averages are only slightly below his five-year career of .261/.292/.368.
Yrizarri has an exceptional throwing arm, and if his hitting doesn’t take him further, he may end up having a future on the mound. He is still quite unrefined, but played last year against competition about 1.4 years older than he was. There’s still hope for him going forward. I expect Yrizarri to return to Winston-Salem to begin the 2019 season, but if he may move up fairly quickly if he gets on a bit of a hot streak.