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White Sox place five prospects on Baseball America’s top 100

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Zack Collins is ranked like a real catcher on this one

Zack Collins
Jody Stewart/Winston-Salem Dash

Baseball America completed the big three’s top-100 season by rolling out its list Friday night. By throwing five White Sox prospects on the list, it slotted comfortably in between MLB.com’s (six) and Keith Law’s (four). The first two lists disagreed pretty heavily on a couple prospects, which means BA had the opportunity to step in as a tiebreaker of sorts ... although it didn’t always use it.

Here’s how they stack up:

White Sox on Top 100 Prospect Lists

MLB.com Keith Law BA
MLB.com Keith Law BA
Yoan Moncada (2) Michael Kopech (7) Yoan Moncada (2)
Lucas Giolito (12) Lucas Giolito (13) Lucas Giolito (25)
Michael Kopech (16) Yoan Moncada (17) Reynaldo Lopez (31)
Reynaldo Lopez (46) Zack Collins (95) Michael Kopech (32)
Carson Fulmer (71) Zack Collins (56)
Zack Collins (81)

Friend of the Podcast Jim Callis is on an island by giving Fulmer top-100 status, but the other five prospects appear on at least two lists, allowing us to see how they might disagree.

Yoan Moncada: Law is the low man here, as Moncada preserved his top-three status on both the BA and MLB.com lists despite the ugly major league debut. Still, a top-20 ranking isn’t really a knock. For instance, look at...

Lucas Giolito: BA was the only one to knock the former top-10 prospect down a couple levels, as he’s 20 spots lower than on their 2016 list. Their grades on his stuff show how they came to their own conclusion:

  • MLB.com: Fastball: 65 | Curve: 65 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 60
  • BA 2017: Fastball: 60 | Curve: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50
  • BA 2016: Fastball: 80 | Curve: 70 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 60

He might be the most interesting prospect to follow early on in terms of everything — performance, velocity, mechanics, you name it. Any return to form should be easy to spot.

Michael Kopech: Considering he’s 20 years old and has yet to appear above A-ball, all three outlets can be called enthusiastic about his future. Law is putting himself out there more than the others, but they’re all on board. I liked comparing the grades for Giolito, so let’s do it for Kopech...

  • MLB.com: Fastball: 80 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 55
  • BA 2017: Fastball: 80 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 45
  • BA 2016: Fastball: 70 | Curve: 60 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 50

Reynaldo Lopez: ... as well as Lopez:

  • MLB.com: Fastball: 70 | Curve: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55
  • BA 2017: Fastball: 70 | Curve: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50
  • BA 2016: Fastball: 75 | Curve: 55 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50

Lopez was the No. 92 prospect on BA’s 2016 list, while Kopech was No. 89, so they both made similar jumps. Law doesn’t see how Lopez can start with his delivery, which is why he’s absent on his list.

Zack Collins: Baseball America released its top 10 White Sox prospects list before the Chris Sale/Adam Eaton trades, and Collins ranked at the top. Obviously he’d be their fifth-best prospect now, but BA’s ranking -- the highest of the three -- reflects its belief that Collins can make it to the big leagues as a catcher, although one who isn’t a strong defender. From its White Sox list in November:

His defensive progress was exceptional in his junior year, and he particularly encouraged evaluators with his soft hands. He shows the ability to set a low target and keep his glove hand still, and he’s shown the aptitude to understand umpires’ strike zones and adjust his framing technique in response. Collins has shown the ability to get underneath the ball down and far to his glove side as well as the ability to get his thumb under the ball when he has to extend his glove across his body for pitches towards the righthanded batter’s box. His footwork is what holds him back from being an average defender. Collins has a thick, muscle-filled lower half and isn’t nimble. His extra-large frame allows him to stay in front of the ball well, even if he can’t make acrobatic scoops when pitchers miss their spots. Collins has an average arm with solid accuracy.

Assuming all goes according to plan, more or less, Moncada, Giolito and probably Lopez won’t be on these lists next year due to graduation. If Collins isn’t done improving defensively, he might follow Kopech and Lopez as the guy who jumps 40 spots or so next season.