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Chicago White Sox Top 10 Fantasy Prospects

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The White Sox had a rough season on the South Side, but there is some help on its' way from the minors. Let's look at their top 10 fantasy prospects.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the playoffs in full swing, that means it will be time for teams to assess their needs for next season and start planning for a longer than hoped offseason. We're at the same point for fantasy owners in dynasty leagues, and we're here to help you with the information you need as you prepare for your minor league drafts.

In previous years, we have done rather intensive top 10 prospect lists, including an organizational rundown, opportunities in the coming season, as well as the top fantasy prospects. However, we have found that a number of these topics are covered as we continue through the offseason, and specifically through profiles done as a part of our preseason redraft rankings. As a result, this year's top 10 lists will be primarily that: a list of the prospects with brief writeups rather than the 4000-8000 word opuses that have occurred in the past. We feel that this year's format will both suit the goal better (of providing fantasy relevant information and rankings) as well as allow us to move through them much more quickly so that they can be completed by the Christmas holiday.

The schedule itself is fairly basic: We cover a division, going in alphabetical order of city/location name. This means the next team after this post will be the Indians, and then the Tigers. Once we finish a division, we'll move to the next division to their west, (the AL West in this case). Once we've finished one league, we start over on the East Coast in the National League and do the same.

Our Basis

With fantasy prospect rankings, the key to knowing the usefulness of a specific player is how large and deep of a league you would need to be in for them to end up as a fantasy starter. We will be ranking 10 prospects in each system, but that doesn't mean that every one of them is useful if you play in a 12-team mixed dynasty league. With that said, we're aiming to provide useful information whether you play in a 10-team mixed, a 15-team AL-only, or a 24-team mixed.

Prospect rankings also come with the same caveat I provide every year. They represent a snapshot of how we view the players at the time of publication. There will inherently be more information published throughout the offseason, and so it is very possible that by the end of the offseason, how we view a player may be very different from where we had them originally.  We're going to get some of these right, we're going to get some of these wrong, and in general my reminder is to find information you trust, and use it to your advantage. If that comes from us, that's great and we're happy you're here. If it doesn't, we'll continue to work and hope that you'll keep checking in to see how we're doing.

The Tiers

Something new I wanted to introduce this year is a tier system to help delineate where prospects are likely to fall on the overall top prospect list. We have not completed our top prospects lists yet, and will not likely do so until we are close to finishing all the prospect rankings. The tiers are here though to provide some clarity when comparing between different teams. It's by no means a perfect system, but the goal is to give you a general idea of which players we think are in a similar range in terms of value and ranking. Since the tiers are also expected to be relatively consistent across teams, there may be tiers which do not have prospects for certain teams.

Tier 1 - The Elite Prospects

These prospects are expected to be in the top 25-50 prospects overall, and have the potential to be among the top options at their position regardless of format or league size.

The White Sox have no prospects within this tier.

Tier 2 - The Top 100 Candidates

These prospects are expected to be in the discussion for the top 100 prospects overall, and are expected to be starting options in all formats.

#1 - Tim Anderson (SS)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 22
ETA: 2016

While our writers were in agreement that Anderson was the clear cut top prospect in the White Sox system, there was division about whether he belonged in tier 1 or tier 2. Anderson has shown the potential to be an above-average hitter, providing a high batting average with some power and a lot of speed. The ceiling can potentially be a .300 hitter with 10+ HR and 40+ SB on a regular basis, but there are concerns. Anderson has shown some rather brutal strikeout-to-walk totals (114 to 24 in 2015) due in part to his strike-zone judgment. While it has not affected his numbers to date, it is something you'd like to see improve on in his next stop. It also remains an open question whether he will end up as a shortstop long-term, or will need to move to either second base or center field. He'll likely head to AAA in 2016, but could see time in the majors at some point.

#2 - Carson Fulmer (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 22
ETA: 2017

Fulmer was the top draft pick for the White Sox this year, and is a bit of a divisive prospect as well. The raw tools and pitches point to a potential mid-rotation starting pitcher, capable of providing high strikeout totals and generally profiling as a #2/#3 fantasy starting pitcher. However, the questions about his height (5'11-6'1", depending on the source), build (190-195 lbs), and high-energy delivery led to a number of reports that he may be better suited as a reliever instead. Obviously the White Sox are going to keep him as a starter as long as possible, and while I don't necessarily agree with Alex on the comparison to Sonny Gray, he can still be a very productive starter or closer.

Tier 3 - The Next Group of Starters

These prospects would likely slot into the 100-200 range on an overall ranking list, and would be starters in mid-depth formats like 12 and 14 team leagues.

#3 - Frankie Montas (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 23
ETA: 2016

Montas made his major league debut in 2015, making two starts and five relief appearances in September. The reports on Montas start with his fastball, an 80-grade pitch which routinely hit triple digits in the minors. He also adds a potential plus slider and a changeup that needs work. If he can continue to develop the changeup to be at least an average offering, the other two pitches are good enough for him to be a mid-rotation starting pitcher. If not, he ends up in the bullpen throwing absolute gas with two strikeout offerings and a likely future as a top tier closer.

#4 - Trayce Thompson (OF)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 25
ETA: 2016

Thompson has taken a long time to get to the majors, but after hitting five home runs in 44 games in the majors, looks to be a candidate for the Opening Day roster in 2016. While he hit .295 in the majors this year, he's not expected to provide a lot of batting average long-term, but should still be an excellent play for counting stats provided he gets consistent playing time. A 15 HR/15 SB outfielder should still have a lot of value even if he hits .230-.240.

Tier 4 - Single League and Deep Format Plays

These prospects would likely slot into the 200-300 range on a ranking list, and would have the most value to mixed leagues with 16+ teams and single-league formats with 12+ teams.

#5 - Spencer Adams (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 19
ETA: 2018

The White Sox have moved Adams fairly quickly, finishing the season at High-A Winston-Salem for five starts. Adams has the potential for four average or better pitches, two of which could be above-average or better also. Add in good command, and Adams has one of the higher floors among pitchers in this system. He'll be a starting pitcher in the majors, with the potential for some mid-rotation-level seasons depending on his strikeout totals.

#6 - Micah Johnson (2B)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 25
ETA: 2016

After making the team out of Spring Training, Johnson struggled in the month of April, and ended up demoted back to AAA Charlotte. His value to fantasy owners is going to come from his legs, as he can potentially provide 25-30 steals a season with even a middling batting average. He's not expected to provide a ton of power (around 5 HR a year seems about right), but has shown the potential for a high batting average. The second base job could be his to lose come the spring, so keep his name in mind as a potential late source of steals.

#7 - Trey Michalczewski (3B)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 21
ETA: 2018

Michalczweski returned to High-A in 2015, and while the numbers don't jump off the page, there are definite signs of a strong fantasy producer there. He's shown game power already (35 doubles, 7 home runs), and a solid eye at the plate (nearly 10% walk rate), and as time progresses should continue to see some of those doubles change into home runs. He's probably most likely a .260-.270 hitter with 15-20 home runs and a bunch of doubles, which would be a solid provider at third base. If he has to move elsewhere down the line, that may drop him into deeper formats only, and keeps him out of tier 3 here.

Tier 5 - We Ranked Ten Prospects, We Really Did

These prospects generally will be useful in the deepest of formats. Think 24+ teams for mixed leagues and single-league formats with more teams than the league it uses. In many cases, these will be part-time players or utility-types when they get to the majors.

#8 - Tyler Danish (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 21
ETA: 2017

Danish moved up to AA for the 2015 season, and the performance took a step back from his previous two years. This wasn't a huge surprise given that he was 20 for nearly the whole season, and also with reports that the White Sox were having him work on changes to his delivery at the same time. Danish doesn't have the same kind of upside as the pitchers ahead of him, but can be a back-end fantasy starter that provides solid production without the high quantity of strikeouts you'll be looking for in most leagues.

#9 - Courtney Hawkins (OF)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 22
ETA: 2017

Hawkins missed some time this season due to injuries, but even among a difficult stat line, there were some signs that he may be figuring things out. As Jim Margalus of South Side Sox noted, he had a significantly better split on the road versus at home (.273/.355/.476), giving us a potential step towards actualizing the tools that made him the #12 overall pick. It's unlikely that he figures out the strike zone enough to limit his strikeouts, but even if he hits .220, he could provide double digit home runs and stolen bases with regular playing time.

#10 - Micker Adolfo (OF)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 19
ETA: 2020?

The bottom of the system dries up pretty quickly for the White Sox, as there were a number of back-end type starting pitchers discussed before finally settling on the big international signee from a couple years ago. Adolfo still remains a complete dream, showing flashes of tools but little else so far. The strikeouts in the Arizona Rookie League are concerning (his k% dropped to 26.9% this year from 43% last year), but he's still just 19 years old and can still develop quite a bit. If you're looking for a lottery ticket, this is it.