The White Sox haven’t exactly been hiding what they desired in return for their ace pitcher. Depending on your opinion of what qualifies a player as an “elite” prospect, they may have gotten what they were asking for.
Before dissecting this trade, we need to pause on the fact that less than a year ago there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell the White Sox would deal one of their top players to their “rivals” on the North Side. It’s a sign of an organization maturing and fully committing to the plan they’ve drawn up.
Now to the players.
Everyone knows this name. The top prospect in the Cubs’ minor league system and a guy consistently within the top 10 on every prospect list in existence. With this acquisition the Sox fill a future void in the outfield, as Jimenez spends his time mostly at the corner spots.
He was rated the top talent in the 2013 international signing class, above other top prospects Gleybar Torres (Yankees) and Rafeal Devers (Red Sox). Not-so-subtlety described as an “animal”, he’s drawn physical comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton and is projected as a power-first bat. His defense overall, including arm strength and accuracy, is average at best which goes right along with the White Sox rebuilding theme of collecting explosive offense first.
The lesser-known but still uber-talented Cease checks in towards the tail end of the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect list. Speaking of that number, with Cease the Sox put another arm in their minor league system that can reach triple digits with his heater.
He does come with risk, as does any pitcher these days. Cease had Tommy John in 2014 and was kept on a short leash by the Cubs after he was drafted in the 6th round that year. Though some may say they would prefer a pitcher who has already had his TJ surgery considering a UCL tear has become just as common as the flu.
In addition to Cease and Jimenez the Sox also received Matt Rose and Bryant Flete, both of whom will serve as minor league depth until further notice. It’s worth mentioning that the Chicago Tribune released an article two days ago suggesting the Cubs were ready to promote both Jimenez and Cease.
With this trade finalized, the White Sox now have some serious firepower in their top ten prospects:
- Yoan Moncada
- Eloy Jimenez
- Michael Kopech
- Luis Robert
- Reynaldo Lopez
- Lucas Giolito
- Dylan Cease
- Carson Fulmer
- Zack Collins
- Zack Burdi
Nine of the players listed above are or at one point were listed on the Baseball America Top 100 list. If we’re using the Chris Sale trade as the starting point to the rebuild, the White Sox have made extraordinary progress in a little over half a year and they still have pieces left to trade.
In the words of Hawkaroo, “don’t stop now, boys!”