John Sickels updated his ‘Top 20 White Sox prospects for 2012′ list. #1 and #2 were interchanged and Simon Castro was added at #4:
1) Addison Reed, RHP, Grade B+: The best closer prospect in baseball thanks to superior command of 93-97 MPH fastball and devastating slider. One of my favorite prospects.
2) Nestor Molina, RHP, Grade B+: Acquired from the Blue Jays for Sergio Santos, and immediately became Chicago’s first or second-best prospect. I think he can remain a starter. Molina was a big topic of discussion earlier this winter. I like him a lot.
4) Simon Castro, RHP, Grade C+: Acquired from the Padres for Carlos Quentin. Live fastball, but secondary pitches went backwards last year and will need to rebound if he wants to stay a starter. The change of scenery could help him.
…We’ll start with the good stuff first. Both Nestor Molina and Addison Reed are personal favorites. I originally had Molina one spot ahead because I think he can start. Of course, I think Reed could probably start too, but given how well he pitched last year I can understand their desire to keep him in the bullpen. He should be ready to close sometime in 2012, perhaps out of spring training. I went back and forth on this but in the end I ranked Reed slightly ahead.
BTW, here’s the original list:
1) Nestor Molina, RHP, Grade B+: Acquired from the Blue Jays for Sergio Santos, and immediately became Chicago’s first or second-best prospect. I think he can remain a starter. Molina was a big topic of discussion earlier this month.
2) Addison Reed, RHP, Grade B+: The best closer prospect in baseball thanks to superior command of 93-97 MPH fastball and devastating slider. You can make a case to rank him ahead of Molina, if you think Molina will be a reliever.
3) Tyler Saladino, SS, Grade C+: 2010 seventh round pick out of Oral Roberts developed from draft sleeper into solid prospect. Good power for a middle infielder, and has some idea about the strike zone, scouts like his work ethic. Main issue now is if he can stick at shortstop, and I think he has a decent chance to do so.
4) Trayce Thompson, OF, Grade C+: Highest-ceiling bat in system, tapping into his power now and making good progress on defense. Kills lefties but has serious contact problems against right-handed pitching. Struck out 172 times while repeating Low-A. Has the tools to be a star slugger but also carries a high risk of failure.
5) Hector Santiago, LHP, Grade C+: Came out of nowhere to reach the majors (briefly) in 2011 thanks to development of a new screwball to go with 90-95 MPH fastball. Third pitch still needs work and it is unclear if he starts or relieves in the long run, although recent rumors indicate the Sox will continue to start him. Projects as number three/four starter if third pitch develops, or a power relief arm.
Hopefully Coop will help Castro with his secondary pitches in Spring Training.