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Chicago White Sox Top 10 Fantasy Prospects

The White Sox have not made the playoffs since 2008, due in large part to their inability to build from within. Are reinforcements on the way?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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 that must be rehashed 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 off-season, and so how we view a player may evolve significantly over time. 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

The tiers are here though to provide some clarity when comparing players 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 that do not have prospects for certain teams.

Tier 1 - The Elite Prospects

These prospects are expected to be in the top-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 don't have anyone in 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 - Zack Collins (C)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 22
ETA: 2018

Collins was one of the top prospects in the 2016 draft class, and the reasoning behind that was on full display in his professional debut. The 21-year-old slashed .258/.418/.467 in 153 PA at High-A, with 6 HR and nearly as many walks (33) as strikeouts (39). He also showed fringe to solid-average defensive tools behind the plate, and most seem to agree that he can stick back there for the next several years. And a catcher that is capable of batting .280-plus with 20-plus home runs is fantasy (and real life) gold.

#2 - Carson Fulmer (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 23
ETA: 2017

This is a tenuous position for Fulmer, due to his struggles with command and control. His stuff is not in question, as the Vanderbilt products has a low-90s fastball with terrific movement, a power curveball that grades as a future plus pitch, and a promising change-up that looks like an average offering. He worked to tone down the wild leg kick in his delivery as the season progressed, which did help his control late in the season, and that is the key to any success he will have in the future. Fulmer has the stuff and build to be a solid mid-rotation starter.

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 - Spencer Adams (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 20
ETA: 2018

Adams is an interesting prospect, due to both his potential and his surprising amount of polish. The 20-year-old has flashed borderline elite control as a professional (1.4 BB/9), and pounds the lower third of the strike zone with a heavy fastball that sits in the 89-92 MPH range. He also throws an above-average slider in the low to mid-80s, a solid average change-up, and a curveball that teeters on fringe average territory. Adams does not have a true swing-and-miss pitch, though, and largely profiles as a 4th starter as a result. However, here's where the potential comes in - he sat in the 92-94 MPH range in high school, and he was flirting with that late in the season. With that added velocity and increased separation between his fastball and off-speed stuff, he could be closer to a 3.

#4 - Alec Hansen (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 22
ETA: 2019

Tell me if you've heard this one before - Hansen has tremendous stuff, including a mid-90s fastball with some run, an above-average to plus slider in the mid-80s, a big curveball, and a somewhat promising change-up; he simply doesn't know where those pitches are going sometimes. The 6'7" righty has inconsistent mechanics, which leads to bouts of wildness and surprising hittability for a pitcher with his level of stuff. The risk here is tremendous, as he could fall anywhere from top of the rotation starter to flameout, and few would bat an eye.

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 - Jordan Stephens (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 23
ETA: 2018

Stephens has two red flags - Tommy John Surgery in 2014, and having Rice University as his alma mater. The latter may not sound ominous, but pitchers from that school have a nasty tendency to struggle with injuries. That being said, Stephens has above-average command of all of his offerings, including an average low-90s fastball, an above-average curveball in the upper-70s, and a solid cutter that serves as his change-up (this is sometimes called a slider). He lacks a big swing-and-miss pitch, but he otherwise looks like a 3rd or 4th starter.

#6 - Jameson Fisher (OF)

Age on Opening Day 2017: 23
ETA: 2018

Fisher batted .342/.436/.487 in his pro debut last year, with 4 HR and 13 SB in 219 PA. Considered the best pure hitter in last year's class by some scouts, he is capable of driving the ball to all fields and making consistent, hard contact. He has the ability to hit in the .270 to .290 range, with double-digit home runs and steals. His defensive home is in question, though - he played 3B in college, and the White Sox have played him there in instructs, as well.

#7 - Zack Burdi (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 22
ETA: 2017

Burdi is on the border of Tiers 4 and 5, due to his status as a reliever. In a real world ranking, he could be much higher - here, he is limited by his ability to garner saves. The 21-year-old works in the mid to upper-90s with a sinking fastball, boasting a plus to plus-plus slider and solid change-up. His delivery has a great deal of deception, which makes him even more difficult to square-up, but it also leads to some control woes. Burdi should be a special reliever, and is on the fast track to the Majors; he'll need to close to be valuable in most fantasy leagues, though.

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 - Adam Engel (OF)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 25
ETA: 2017

This is the point where the White Sox system thins out (at least in fantasy terms), and we are left with limited players. Engel has elite speed and strong base-running instincts, but is limited by his fringe-average hit and power tools. He is capable of stealing 60 bases in a full season, and could hit in the .260 range - but he'll have to prove that pitchers at the highest level can't knock the bat out of his hands.

#9 - Trey Michalczewski (3B)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 22
ETA: 2018

Michalczewski is fringe-average to average across the board, and should be able to stick at third (which he'll need to do to have fantasy value). There is a great deal of swing-and-miss in his game, and he might be little more than a .240 to .250 hitter, but he could hit 15-plus home runs and steal some bases. He's still just 21, though, and he is a patient hitter that utilizes most of the field, so there's a bit of potential to be unearthed.

#10 - Charlie Tilson (OF)
Age on Opening Day 2017: 24
ETA: 2017

Tilson's 2016 season ended early with a torn hamstring, and his ability to regain his plus to plus-plus speed remains a somewhat open question. Speed is his best tool, and will make or break him as a fantasy player. He does have an average to above-average hit tool, and profiles as a .270ish hitter - but his well below-average power will result in pitchers challenging him in the zone.