Thursday, January 24, 2013

Top 5 White Sox Pitching Prospects

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1. Erik Johnson - RHP- Johnson seems to be the unanimous choice for the top pitching prospect in the Sox system.  Johnson was drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft out of Cal.  Johnson only appeared in 2 games with Great Falls in 2011, but made 17 starts in 2012 with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem.  He only had a record of 6-5, but had a 2.53 ERA, a 1.202 WHIP, and a 8.5 KO/9 rate.

At 6'3/240+, Johnson has a body built for him to become an innings eater.  Johnson possesses two plus pitches in his arsenal; his fastball and slider.  Projections on Johnson seem to differ, I've seen reports that see him as a #4 starter and some as high as a #2 starter.  Either way, expect to see Johnson on the South Side in the next year or two.

2. Scott Snodgress - LHP - Snodgress was taken in the 5th round (2011) out of Stanford where he had an underwhelming career.  Snodgress worked out of the bullpen when he was with the Cardinal, but the White Sox gave him a chance to start.  Snodgress has made the most of the opportunity.  The 6'5 lefty posted a 7-3 record last year with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem along with a 3.00 ERA, a 1.248 WHIP, and a 8.2 SO/9 ratio.

His fastball is in the low-90s and his breaking ball, which he has been developing, has been superb.  Whether Snodgress can continue down the path of a starter or return to the bullpen remains unknown.  However, a 7-3 record in his first full year as a starter is great start.

3. Andre Rienzo - RHP - It seems that I've talked about Andre Rienzo more than any other player so far on this blog.  2012 was the Brazilian's best and breakout year which has seen him explode up the rankings in the White Sox organization.  His stats from last year with Winston-Salem, Birmingham, and a start with Charlotte: a 7-3 record, a 2.53 ERA, and a 1.161 WHIP.  He also put up some great numbers in the AFL this past fall except for one really, really bad inning.

He has a mid-90s fastball, a good curveball, and a developing curveball in his repertoire.  Of course, before his big year, Rienzo had to serve a 50-game suspension for PED usage which he denies.  Like Snodgress, whether Rienzo is a back-end starter or a reliever is unknown.

4. Simon Castro - RHP - Castro was part of the Carlos Quentin trade.  While with San Diego, Castro was considered to be one of the top prospects in the organization and a top 100 prospect overall.  After a disappointing 2011, Castro had a nice first year with the Pale Hose in 2012.  With Bristol, Birmingham, and Charlotte he recorded a 7-5 record, a 3.85 ERA, and a 1.291 WHIP.

Castro primarily uses his fastball/slider combination.  The 4-seam fastball can touch 95, but is usually in the low-90s and the slider, his best pitch, is big league ready right now.  He also works in a 83-85 MPH changeup.  Like Johnson, his projection varies from a back-end starter up to a #2 starter.

5. Chris Beck - RHP - Many thought Beck was going to be a mid-first round selection in the 2012 draft, Beck fell back to 76th overall after a mediocre year with Georgia Southern.  With Great Falls last year, Beck had a 4-3 record, a 4.69 ERA, a 1.562 WHIP, and a 8.0 SO/9 rate.

There was some concern that Beck may have lost some velocity on his fastball after bulking up, but he is back to touching 95 MPH.  He also has two pretty good breaking pitches in a slider and a changeup.  Most see Beck as a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher with the Sox.

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