In previous years, the White Sox have sent pretty thin groups to the Arizona Fall League, especially when it came to pitching side. Teams will automatically send their top hitting prospects, but pitching prospects usually stay home if they've been healthy all season.
Thanks to good health luck and thin pitching ranks, the Sox have usually sent fringier prospects -- your Stephen McCrays, your Taylor Thompsons, your Henry Mabees -- to the AFL in the place of pitchers who factor more into their plans.
This season stands as a departure, because all seven White Sox prospects on the initial Glendale Desert Dogs roster are worth watching, even if some bad breaks (some of them literal) forced them to miss some time.
Tim Anderson: The White Sox's No. 1 position prospect missed several weeks with a broken wrist, but he's shown no ill effects since returning, even though he's making his Double-A debut at the same time. He's hitting 10-for-22 over his first five games with the Barons, including his first homer tonight (below). The AFL will give the 21-year-old more reps in an advanced environment.
Rangel Ravelo: The system's breakout position player hasn't generated much buzz despite hitting .309/.387/.471 with 37 doubles and 11 homers in a difficult offensive environment at the age of 22 (he didn't even make MLB.com's top 25 prospects). Being a first-only option on defense hurts his cause, but standing out in this environment can help.
Kevan Smith: Like Ravelo, Smith is having a great season at Double-A. Unlike Ravelo, Smith is 26, which is the only reason to downplay a catcher hitting .295/.377/.439 in Birmingham. He hasn't taken any false steps with his development -- he just started late, and Josh Phegley's presence above him makes it difficult to accelerate his track now.
Frank Montas: Montas' strong showing at Winston-Salem (1.60 ERA, 56 strikeouts over 62 innings) was interrupted by another meniscus surgery. He's working his way back into shape in the Arizona Rookie League, so he won't have to move far to continue down the comeback trail.
Chris Bassitt: A broken hand delayed the start to his season until mid-July, but he's come on strong with the Barons, with 36 strikeouts over 34⅔ innings and a 1.56 ERA. Like Smith, he's another late starter (25 years old) who is trying to fast-track himself. He has a future in relief thanks to his improved slider, but he's keeping his starting hopes alive.
Scott Snodgress: Snodgress' star is going in the other direction, as he'd once been a top-five prospect. His career as a starter has stalled in Double-A, where he posted a 4.33 ERA and a 1.52 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 266 innings the last two years before joining Charlotte's bullpen after a recent promotion. Still, he's 24 and left-handed, so a useful bullpen career remains realistic.
Jefferson Olacio: He's huge (listed at 6'7", 270 lbs.), young (20 years old) and all projection at this point, though it's more likely to happen in relief for him.