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 42
This one should have been called early, as Danny Mendick rode his great spring deep into the hearts of the SSS electorate, taking 53 of 79 (67%) votes. Mendick finished No. 38 in last year’s poll.
2019 South Side Sox Prospect Vote Winners
2019 South Side Sox Prospect Vote Top Shortstops
More information on our polling.
Who is the 43rd-best prospect in the White Sox system?
This poll is closed
2018 SSS poll ranking N/R
2018 High Level Kannapolis (A)
Overall 2018 stats 124 games ▪️ 18 HR ▪️ 65 RBI ▪️ .241/.324/.445 ▪️ 7-of-11 SB ▪️ 46 BB ▪️ 129 K
Frost hit fairly well, if unexceptionally, with the Gonzaga Bulldogs. His junior season largely paralleled his collegiate career, as he slashed .284/.372/.442 with five doubles, one triple, nine homers, 38 RBIs, two stolen bases, 25 walks (10.00%) and 39 strikeouts (15.60%) in 215 at-bats. While Frost was consistent at Gonzaga, he didn’t do anything especially well. As a result, he fell to the 15th round of the 2017 MLB draft. Frost reported to Great Falls after being drafted and slashed .261/.331/.465 in 142 at-bats, with seven doubles, five triples, four homers, 26 RBIs, 13 walks (8.13%) and 33 strikeouts (20.63%).
In 2018, Frost let things rip a bit with Kannapolis. In a tough place to hit, he provided decent power numbers by slashing .241/.324/.445 in 407 at-bats, with 21 doubles, four triples, 18 homers, 65 RBIs, seven stolen bases, 46 walks (9.91%) and 129 strikeouts (27.80%). It appears Frost sacrificed average and contact for power; that sacrifice may pay dividends in an hitting-friendly environment like Winston-Salem, but could come back to haunt him if he wins a promotion to Birmingham. Frost’s splits are fairly even (.244 vs. southpaws, .240 vs. righties), so a platoon doesn’t appear in his immediate future.
Frost has an above-average arm, as he threw out 13 baserunners this year. Expect a promotion to Winston-Salem for 2019.
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.
RIght-handed relief pitcher
2018 SSS poll ranking N/R
2018 High Level Birmingham (AA)
Overall 2018 stats 6-1 ▪️ 43 games ▪️ 2 saves ▪️ 75 1⁄3 IP ▪️ 1.55 ERA ▪️ 76 K ▪️ 29 BB ▪️ 1.142 WHIP
Thompson, despite his stuff and imposing build, didn’t exactly overwhelm at nondescript Texas-Arlington during his three-year college career. His junior season wasn’t quite as good as his freshman year, but was a marked improvement over his sophomore campaign. In that junior season, Thompson posted a 4.64 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 16 games (all starts). In 87 innings, Thompson relinquished 97 hits and 32 walks while striking out 62. However, despite those modest numbers, the White Sox selected him in the fifth round of the 2014 draft due to his impressive stuff and imposing build.
Over 353 innings in the White Sox system from 2014-17, Thompson combined for a 4.31 ERA and 1.42 WHIP, to go along with a 10.1 BB% and 18.90 K%. Due to the lack of results, which had more to do with a lack of repertoire and poor control than velocity, Thompson was converted from the rotation to the bullpen to begin 2018.
In 2018, in a combined 43 games with Winston-Salem and Birmingham encompassing 75 1⁄3 innings, Thompson posted an exceptional 1.55 ERA and 1.14 WHIP by surrendering just 57 hits (.206 OBA) and 29 walks (9.4%) but striking out 76 batters (24.5%). After the minor league season was over, he pitched for Glendale in the Arizona Fall League and acquitted himself well, posting a 2.70 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 13 1⁄3 innings by allowing 10 hits and six walks while striking out 15.
In 2017, MLB Pipeline graded Thompson out with a 60 fastball, 55 curveball, 40 changeup and 40 control. With only two solid pitches and poor control, it was somewhat inevitable that Thompson would shift to the bullpen as a reliever. His changeup may have been working better in 2018, as lefties hit about 10 points lower against his offerings than righties did. His fastball also may have played up a tick or two, as evidenced by his increased strikeout rate. While his walk rate improved this year, it still wasn’t great — but it should suffice in a seventh-inning type role in the bullpen.
Thompson continues his climb through the system with a berth at Charlotte to begin 2019.
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.