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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 56: Luis Curbelo

As he moves his way up the ladder, a big power stroke was unearthed in 2021.

There’s no time for Luis Curbelo to rest, as he will have to keep his power numbers going at tough Regions Field in 2022.
Tiffany Wintz/South Side Sox

Luis Curbelo

Third Baseman
185 pounds
Age: 24
2018 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 29
2019 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 26
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Ranking: 69
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 83
SSS rank among all third basemen in the system: 6

Born in Puerto Rico, Luis Curbelo moved to Florida for his senior year of high school. Before coming to Florida, however, he played for the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, whose most famous alumnus is Carlos Correa. At the time of the 2016 draft, Baseball America tabbed Curbelo as “a physical infielder with promising power potential. He has plenty of strength and produces good bat speed, enabling him to drive the ball out of the park. He has a balanced swing and does a good job of getting to his power. Curbelo is a below-average runner, limiting his range up the middle. He has good hands and a strong arm, giving him a good chance to settle at third base as a professional.”

The Sox drafted him in the sixth round that year, prying him from his verbal commitment with the University of Miami with a $700,000 bonus — more than $413,000 richer than his slot value. As an 18-year-old, Curbelo struggled in his first taste of professional ball with the AZL squad in 2016 when he slashed just .226/.303/.323 with two homers in 45 games.

After a terrific three-game start in 2017 with Great Falls, Curbelo tore his meniscus and missed a year of development time. He struggled a bit with Kannapolis the following year, which wasn’t a huge surprise as he was about 16 months younger than his competitors. For the year in 83 games spanning 317 at-bats, Curbelo slashed .237/.282/.338 with 19 doubles, two triples, three homers, 31 RBIs, 18 walks (5.2%) and 87 strikeouts (25.4%).

In Curbelo’s 2019 return to Kannapolis, he hit rock bottom by slashing just .169/.216/.287 in 64 games with 11 doubles, five homers, 30 RBIs, 13 walks (5.1%) and 105 strikeouts (41.0%). As a result, Curbelo was demoted to Great Falls, where he bounced back in his 56 games to slash .262/.294/.266 with nine doubles, six triples, eight homers, 24 RBIs, 11 walks (4.7%) and 76 strikeouts (32.3%).

After missing the 2020 season due to the pandemic, many of Curbelo’s peripherals in 2021 were similar to his career averages. However, he took a step up in the power department in his first taste of High-A ball. In 109 games for Winston-Salem, Curbelo slashed .223/.290/.464 with 27 doubles, two triples, 22 homers, 66 RBIs, 34 walks (7.7%) and 152 strikeouts (34.4%). In contrast with many of the organization’s players, Curbelo’s fly ball rate (50.0%) nearly doubled his ground ball rate (28.5%). His competition was basically the same age as he, so this season is representative of what to expect going forward. Curbelo is who is at this point — a low-average hitter who doesn’t walk much, strikes out a lot, but hits plenty of homers.

Curbelo is likely to be promoted to Birmingham for 2022.

2022 South Side Sox Top 100 White Sox Prospects

56. Luis Curbelo, 3B
57. Bryce Bush, RF
58. James Beard, CF
59. Xavier Fernández, C
60. Wilber Sánchez, SS
61. Kohl Simas, RHRP
62. Johan Dominguez, RHSP
63. Jagger Rusconi, 2B
64. Ronaldo Guzman, LHSP
65. Laz Rivera, 3B
66. Adam Hackenberg, C
67. Will Kincanon, RHRP
68. Lane Ramsey, RHRP
69. Tommy Sommer, LHSP
70. Randel Mondesi, RF
71. Shawn Goosenberg, 2B
72. Zack Muckenhirn, LHRP
73. Cameron Butler, CF
74. Godwin Bennett, RF
75. Logan Glass, CF
76. Dario Borrero, 1B
77. Craig Dedelow, RF
78. Carlos Hinestroza, RHRP
79. Gunnar Troutwine, C
80. Kade Mechals, RHSP
81: Caberea Weaver, CF
82. Layant Tapia, SS
83. Homer Cruz, RHRP
84. Kaleb Roper, RHSP
85. Jerry Burke, RHSP
86. Emerson Talavera, RHRP
87. Isaiah Carranza, RHSP
88. Davis Martin, RHSP
89. Tyler Osik, 1B
90. Samil Polanco, 3B
91. Manuel Veloz, RHRP
92. Pauly Milto, RHRP
93. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
94. Colby Smelley, C
95. Manuel Guariman, C
96. Everhett Hazelwood, RHRP
97. Garrett Schoenle, LHRP
98. Kyle Kubat, LHRP
99. Anderson Comas, RF
100. Jake Elliott, RHRP