LOD’s 2019 Offseason Top Prospects: Chicago White Sox #5-#1
Here at Legends on Deck our passion is prospects and the offseason presents an outstanding opportunity for us to showcase some of baseball’s top up and comers. Throughout the offseason, we will be bringing you the top ten prospects from all 30 organizations. We will start with the Arizona Diamondbacks and work our way alphabetically all the way through the Washington Nationals. This series is the opinion of Jake Berry, Senior Editor at Legends on Deck and does not reflect any official MLB rankings.
#5 – INF Nick Madrigal
2019 Opening Day Age: 22 ETA: 2020 Top Future Tool: Hit
2018 Stats (High-A): 98 AB’s, .306/.355/.347, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 6 SB
The fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft, you could easily make a case for Madrigal to be as high as number two on this list. The College World Series champion has an advanced hit tool, running ability, and a pretty good glove. While he doesn’t posses a ton of power, he was the best pure hitter coming out of the draft in 2018 and is, in my opinion, the second best hitting second base prospect in all of baseball behind Keston Hiura.
#4 – RHP Dylan Cease
2019 Opening Day Age: 23 ETA: 2019 Top Future Pitch: FB
2018 Stats (High-A/Double-A): 12-2, 2.40 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 160 SO, 50 BB
Again, Cease is a guy you could make a case for to be higher on this list. His triple digit fastball combined with a down right dirty curveball have him as a top five right handed pitching prospect in my book. Not only did he strike out 160 batters in 124 innings, he also held hitters to a .186 average in 2018.
#3 – OF Luis Robert
2019 Opening Day Age: 21 ETA: 2020 Top Future Tool: Power
2018 Stats (High-A): .244/.317/.309, 0 HR, 11 RBI, 8 SB
The Cuban slugger has great raw skills across the board, the only thing hampering him has been injury. There hasn’t been anything too serious, just a lot of little issues popping up. Robert has superstar potential if he can stay on the field.
#2 – RHP Michael Kopech
2019 Opening Day Age: 22 ETA: 2020 Top Future Pitch: FB
2018 Stats (MLB): 14.1 IP, 15 SO, 2 BB, 1.53 WHIP
If you want to bust my chops for any player on any of these rankings that I have done so far, this is the guy. Of course, you know TJ doesn’t scare me away, but you also know I shy away from big arms with trouble finding the strike zone. On top of that, you know I hate small sample sizes! But some guys have something about them that make you believe in them. What I saw from Kopech in the majors this year made me believe in him. I wish I could provide you with more analysis and while it goes against a couple of my main principles to prospect evaluation, I’m all in on Kopech.
#1 – OF Eloy Jimenez
2019 Opening Day Age: 22 ETA: 2019 Top Future Tool: Power
2018 Stats (Double-A/Triple-A): .337/.384/.577, 22 HR, 75 RBI
An elite talent at the plate, many of us thought we were going to see Jimenez at the end of the 2018 season… and we absolutely should have, but that’s a topic for another day. Jimenez is poised to make his big league debut in 2019 and I am convinced he will be a hitter that many pitchers fear right from the jump. He swings a heavy stick, but he swings it smart. The pitch recognition and plate discipline are second to none. Factor in insane strength and the DR native should be making a big league impact in no time. With that being said, he may end up exclusively as a DH due to mediocre defensive skills.
Featured Image: Dylan Cease (Courtesy of Mathew Carper/Legends On Deck)