Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Top 5 White Sox Outfield Propsects

Courtney Hawkins (MiLB.com)

1. Courtney Hawkins - Considered by most to be the top prospect in the entire organization (working on my list), Hawkins tops the list in a position where some of the top White Sox prospects play.  Drafted 13th overall last year, Hawkins batted .284/.324/.480 combined with Bristol, Kannapolis, and Winston-Salem last year.  Also, Hawkins had 8 HRs, 33 RBIs, and 11 SBs.  Hawkins rapidly moved through the ranks last year, spending time with three different teams in his first year.  Hawkins finished the year with a .983 OPS in Kanny and then a .882 OPS in a brief stint with Winston-Salem before the season ended.

The 18-year old is very athletic and raw.  Hawkins possesses a MLB body right now, excellent speed for a big guy, plus power, and a great arm.  Hawkins also pitched in high school where he had a low-90s fastball and an ERA below 1.  His arm will definitely be a great asset in the outfield where he can either play right or center (scouts are divided whether he can play CF).

2. Trayce Thompson - Thompson is another prospect with immense power.  Last year, he smashed 25 homers and drove in 96.  He, like Hawkins, is also athletic enough to be a threat on the bases as he successfully stole 21 bases last year (only thrown out 3 times).  Overall, Thompson batted .253/.328/.482 and had an OPS north of .800.

Thompson and Hawkins are similar players.  Both players are athletic, raw, and have a very high ceiling.  For Thompson, like many other prospects like him, he needs to improve his plate discipline.  In the Arizona Fall League this past month, Thompson drew just as many walks as strikeouts which is encouraging.

3. Keenyn Walker - Walker's greatest asset is his elite speed (some scouts give him an 80 on the 20-80 scale).  Last year, with Kanny and Winston-Salem, Walker swiped 56 bases and was named the fastest baserunner in the organization for the second consecutive year by Baseball America.  According to scouts, Walker has some untapped power which should lead to many doubles and triples in the future.  Walker batted .267/.378/.379 last year and can better that line with improved plate discipline.  He had a K% of around 29% last year and had a high BABIP.

4. Jared Mitchell - Mitchell was drafted in the 1st round in 2009 out of LSU.  He missed the entire 2010 season after an ankle injury.  Mitchell is a speedster, but lost some of it after the injury.  He started off hot, but ended the year with a line of .237/.358/.420 between Birmingham and Charlotte.  He also hit 11 HRs and stole 21 bases too.

I was very tempted to put Shoemaker ahead of Mitchell, but Mitchell's upside is much, much higher than Shoemaker's.  Mitchell needs to improve his horrendous K% (approaching Adam Dunn level) if he ever wants to make the big leagues.

5. Brady Shoemaker - Shoemaker batted .300/.416/.486 and had an OPS of .902 combined with Birmingham and Winston-Salem last year.  He also hit 17 HRs and had 85 RBI.  Shoemaker is old (25), but he did end the year in Birmingham.  You can knock the age, but he has been tearing up the minors throughout his career (above an .850 OPS in each of his four years in the minors).

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