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Duke Ellis has literally stolen his way into our Top 40.
Tiffany Wintz/South Side Sox

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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 37: Duke Ellis

Like speed? The outfielder will steal your heart

Duke Ellis
Left Fielder
180 pounds
Age: 25
2022 High Level Birmingham (AA)
Age relative to high level -0.2 years
SSS rank among all left fielders in the system 1
Overall 2022 stats 109 games ⚾️ 8 HR ⚾️ 29 RBI ⚾️ .275/.363/.397 ⚾️ 57-of-66 (86.4%) SB ⚾️ 48 BB ⚾️ 116 K

Duke’s father, Robert, was a White Sox third-round selection from Panola College (Carthage, Tex.) in the third round of the 1990 MLB draft. Robert, a pitcher who was traded in 1996 to the Angels for catcher Pat Borders, ended up pitching parts of four years for four different major league squads before hanging up his cleats in 2005.

Fast forward to 2017, when Duke played for his dad’s alma mater Panola in 2017 and slashed .415/.491/.615 with 21 stolen bases in 53 games. After refusing to sign with the San Diego Padres upon being selected in the 20th round that year, Duke spent his remaining three years playing center field for the University of Texas Longhorns. Despite not wielding a powerful bat, Ellis still made his presence felt during his senior year as he slashed .302/.441/.377 with seven stolen bases during a 2020 season cut short by the pandemic. Oh, and he finished his collegiate career with 32 consecutive stolen bases without getting caught!

Because the 2020 draft went only five rounds, Ellis went unselected but opted to sign a minor-league deal with the White Sox. Before he even played a game, he was ranked the organization’s best defensive outfielder thanks to his stellar, highlight-reel plays while in college.

Due to the pandemic, Ellis didn’t partake in any minor league action in 2020. He was given an aggressive assignment with Winston-Salem to begin professional ball in 2021, however, and struggled offensively as a result. In 73 games totaling 290 at-bats, Ellis slashed just .200/.274/.277 with eight doubles, four homers, 18 RBIs, 23 walks (7.9%), 77 strikeouts (26.6%), 23-of-27 stolen bases and a 55 wRC+. While he played against competition typically the same age as he, his opponents’ experience in minor league play may have made a difference.

The 2022 season sang a different tune, however, as Ellis established himself as an offensive weapon while mostly repeating Winston-Salem; overall, he slashed .275/.363/.397, with steals in 57-of-66 attempts. The new rules skewed to help base runners allowed Ellis to run wild, with a stellar 86.4% success rate; Billy Hamilton might not be the perfect comp, but it’s something to meditate on.

Ellis’ Baseball Cube player ratings
Speed 93
Durability 85
Runs 60
Hitting 58
Contact 41
Power 33
XBH 25
RBIs 13
Team Winning Percentage .494

Ellis got a cup of coffee at the end of the summer with Birmingham, and that’s where he will begin his 2023. Given the relative lack of young outfield talent at Triple-A, however, a path is clear for Ellis to swipe a spot in Charlotte sooner than later.

2023 South Side Sox Top 101 White Sox Prospects

37. Duke Ellis, LF
38. Nicholas Padilla, RHRP
39. Dylan Burns, RHSP
40. Gil Luna Jr., LHRP
41. Eric Adler, RHRP
42. Garrett Schoenle, LHSP
43. Lane Ramsey, RHRP
44. Caleb Freeman, RHRP
45. Hunter Dollander, RHSP
46. Chase Solesky, RHSP
47. Godwin Bennett, RF
48. Wilber Sánchez, SS
49. Tyler Neslony, LF
50. Mario Camilletti, 2B
51. Sammy Peralta, LHRP
52. Jacob Burke, CF
53. Moisés Castillo, SS
54. Victor Quezada, 3B
55. Edgar Navarro, RHRP
56. Craig Dedelow, RF
57. Darío Borrero, 1B
58. Michael Turner, C
59. Tyler Osik, 1B
60. Haylen Green, LHRP
61. Mark McLaughlin, RHRP
62. Terrell Tatum, LF
63. Shawn Goosenberg, 2B
64. Randel Mondesí, LF
65. Emerson Talavera, RHRP
66. Declan Cronin, RHRP
67. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
68. Colby Smelley, C
69. Ethan Hammerberg, RHRP
70. Lincoln Henzman, RHRP
71. Vince Vannelle, RHRP
72. Brooks Baldwin, 3B-2B
73. James Beard, CF
74. Gabriel Rodríguez, RHSP
75. Ronny Hernandez, C
76. Troy Claunch, C
77. Brooks Gosswein, LHSP
78. Tim Elko, 1B
79. Yoelvín Silven, RHRP
80. Trey Jeans, LHRP
81. Jerry Burke, RHSP
82. Carlos Jiménez, 1B
83. Mason Adams, RHSP
84. Frankeli Arias, LHSP
85. Ernesto Jaquez, RHSP
86. Laz Rivera, 3B
87. Xavier Fernández, C
88. Álvaro Agüero, CF
89. Ben Norman, RF
90. Erick Bello, RHRP
91. Adisyn Coffey, RHRP
92. Arnold Prado, RF
93. Alsander Womack, 2B
94. Johan Domínguez, RHSP
95. Evan Skoug, C
96. Noah Owen, RHSP
97. Javier Mora, 2B
98. Will Kincanon, RHRP
99. Yohemy Nolasco, RHSP
100. Billy Seidl, RHRP
101. José Rodulfo, RHRP

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