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Sox system still features solid talent

Sox system still features solid talent

Before the 2008 season began, MLB.com took an in-depth look at every big league team's Minor League system. Now it's time to recap and analyze all 30 organizations, from top prospects to the recent Draft class.

While the White Sox gave up a lot of their Minor League depth last winter to pick up a few experienced big leaguers, it's hard to argue with the immediate on-field results, particularly the emergence of slugger Carlos Quentin before his season-ending injury. And while the trade may have thinned the ranks of the White Sox system, it didn't completely empty it.

The organization added to its already impressive depth in starting pitching in the 2008 Draft, notably by selecting Old Dominion teammates Dan Hudson and Dexter Carter.

There were several familiar names called in the Draft, including outfielder Kenny Williams Jr. and outfielder Jordan Danks, brother of pitcher John (this a year after drafting infielder Oney Guillen, son of Ozzie, in the 36th round).

The club is not afraid to be aggressive with its Draft picks, sending several top selections, including Danks, straight to full-season Kannapolis rather than short-season clubs.

The Sox organization compiled an overall 415-417 record (.499), 17th-best of the 30 Major League clubs. Double-A Birmingham (74-63) and Class A Advanced Winston-Salem (71-68) went to the playoffs, while short-season Great Falls (39-37) won the Pioneer League title behind the aforementioned duo of Hudson and Carter.

Organizational Players of the Year

MiLB.com Preseason Picks

John Shelby III, 2B: Our prediction that second baseman John Shelby III would be the organization's player of the year was very close -- instead, it was outfielder John Shelby III. Shelby, the son of Baltimore Orioles first base coach John "T-Bone" Shelby (and known to family and friends as "Treybone"), put up strong numbers in 2007, his first full season, hitting .301 with 16 homers, 79 RBIs and 19 stolen bases at Class A Kannapolis. We theorized that his combination of tools and work ethic would produce similar stats at higher levels. He proved us right in 2008, hitting .295 with 15 homers, 80 RBIs and 33 steals at Winston-Salem. Those numbers ranked eighth, fifth, second and first, respectively, in the White Sox.
Shelby hits three homers


•  Monday, Oct. 6: Washington Nationals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 7: Seattle Mariners
•  Wednesday, Oct. 8: San Diego Padres
•  Thursday, Oct. 9: Pittsburgh Pirates
•  Friday, Oct. 10: Baltimore Orioles
•  Monday, Oct. 13: Atlanta Braves
•  Tuesday, Oct. 14: San Francisco Giants
•  Wednesday, Oct. 15: Cincinnati Reds
•  Thursday, Oct. 16: Colorado Rockies
•  Friday, Oct. 17: Detroit Tigers
•  Monday, Oct. 20: Kansas City Royals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 21: Oakland Athletics
•  Wednesday, Oct. 22: Texas Rangers
•  Thursday, Oct. 23: Cleveland Indians
•  Friday, Oct. 24: Arizona Diamondbacks
•  Monday, Oct. 27: Florida Marlins
•  Tuesday, Oct. 28: Toronto Blue Jays
•  Wednesday, Oct. 29: St. Louis Cardinals
•  Thursday, Oct. 30: Houston Astros
•  Friday, Oct. 31: Minnesota Twins
•  Monday, Nov. 3: New York Yankees
•  Tuesday, Nov. 4: New York Mets
•  Wednesday, Nov. 5: Los Angeles Angels
•  Thursday, Nov. 6: Chicago White Sox
•  Friday, Nov. 7: Milwaukee Brewers
•  Monday, Nov. 10: Chicago Cubs
•  Tuesday, Nov. 11: Boston Red Sox
•  Wednesday, Nov. 12: LA Dodgers
•  Thursday, Nov. 13: Tampa Bay Rays
•  Friday, Nov. 14: Philadelphia Phillies

Aaron Poreda, LHP: A 2007 first-rounder out of the University of San Francisco, Poreda is a power southpaw who dominated at Great Falls that summer, posting a 1.17 ERA and limiting Pioneer League hitters to a .181 average. We felt, correctly, that the 6-foot-6, 240-pounder would move up quickly. He combined to go 8-9 with a 3.13 ERA at Winston-Salem and Birmingham, striking out 118 over 161 innings. Don't be surprised to see him in the big leagues at some point in 2009 -- with his outstanding fastball and improving secondary pitches, he is the system's top pitching prospect.
Poreda notches his seventh K

MiLB.com Postseason Selections

John Shelby III, OF: Shelby easily could have moved up from Winston-Salem to Birmingham during the season, but remained with the Warthogs to work on his defensive play in the outfield (he was a middle infielder at the University of Kentucky). He's a great athlete and a hard worker with tremendous makeup. In a system that is not overloaded with offensive prospects, he should go far.

Clayton Richard, RHP: Richard edged Poreda for postseason laurels after going 12-6 with a 2.47 ERA at Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, earning the start for the U.S. team in the All-Star Futures Game and a spot on the White Sox postseason roster. He posted a 1.42 ERA in 6 1/3 playoff innings, which led all AL pitchers who tossed at least one inning per game. He was 6-6 with a 2.47 ERA at Birmingham and didn't miss a beat moving up to Charlotte, where he was 6-0 with a 2.45 ERA. The control freak walked only 20 in 127 2/3 Minor League innings while fanning 86. Richard was an eighth-round pick in 2005.
Richard earns his first big-league win
Richard's three-hitter

Climbed the Ladder

Brandon Allen, 1B: A 2004 fifth-round pick, Allen followed up his 93-RBI season at Kannapolis in 2007 with another huge campaign. The slugger combined to hit .278 with 29 homers and 75 RBIs in 130 games at Winston-Salem and Birmingham, adding 17 stolen bases while being caught only four times. His 67 extra-base hits were tied for seventh in the Minors. His .527 slugging percentage with the Warthogs led the Carolina League and, while he lacked the at-bats to qualify for the Southern League title, he posted a .614 slugging percentage after his promotion.
Allen drives in seven

Chris Getz, 2B: This 2005 fourth-rounder out of Michigan finished the season in the big leagues, where he hit .286 in 10 games. He could be in Chicago to stay. After hitting .299 at Birmingham in 2007, he batted .302 with 11 homers and 52 RBIs in 111 Minor League games this season. His batting average led all full-season players in the system. He may project as a do-it-all utility infielder who has no outstanding tools but no deficiencies, either.
Getz's diving forceout at the Futures Game
RBI single is Getz's first Major League hit

Aaron Poreda, LHP: See selections above.

Clayton Richard, RHP: See selections above.

Adam Russell, RHP: A 6-foot-8 reliever who posted a 4-0 record and 5.19 ERA after his big league callup, Russell struck out 22 over 26 innings and earned a spot on the White Sox postseason roster. He sported a 2.89 ERA in 25 relief appearances at Charlotte, limiting International League hitters to a .203 average. He was a 2004 sixth-round pick out of Ohio.
Russell perfect in his big league debut

John Shelby III, OF: See selections above.

Kanekoa Texeira, RHP: A 22-year-old with a great slider, Texeira posted a sparkling 1.33 ERA at Winston-Salem and Birmingham, striking out 60 in 61 innings. He had a 0.93 ERA in 36 games for the Warthogs before compile a 2.01 ERA with the Barons. The Hawaii-born Texeira was a 22nd-round pick out of junior college in California in 2006 and had 16 saves and a 3.69 ERA at Kannapolis in 2007, his first full season.
Texeira strikes out the side

Carlos Torres, RHP: Taken out of Kansas State in the 15th round of the 2004 Draft, Torres' out pitch is a plus cutter that could take him to the big leagues in 2009. He was 9-5 with a 3.20 ERA in 101 innings this year, fanning 93 while walking 29.
Torres picks up his fifth K

Kept Their Footing

Jack Egbert, RHP: A 13th-rounder out of Rutgers in 2004, Egbert was sidelined by a sore elbow at the start of the season but came back with a 4-12 record and 4.65 ERA at Charlotte, fanning 117 in 129 2/3 innings. He had a breakthrough season in 2007, when he was 12-8 with a 3.06 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 165 innings over 28 starts at Birmingham. He began 2008 with a 2.99 ERA over four seasons. His good secondary stuff offsets an average fastball.
Egbert fans his seventh

John Ely, RHP: One of two White Sox prospects out of Miami (Ohio), Ely enjoyed a strong first full season, going 10-12 with a 4.71 ERA and 134 strikeouts over 145 1/3 innings at Winston-Salem. After a slow start in which he was 3-11 with a 5.51 ERA, he went 7-1 down the stretch with help from a low-90s fastball, good changeup and 12-to-6 curveball.
Ely retires 19 straight

Jose Martinez, OF: The son of the late Chicago infielder Carlos "Café" Martinez (best known for hitting the home run that bounced off Jose Canseco's head), Martinez is a lanky athlete who turned 20 in late July. Unfortunately, a leg injury suffered in mid-May had ended his season by that point. Before going on the DL, he hit .306 with two homers and 18 RBIs in 39 games. A year ago at short-season Bristol, he batted .282 with seven homers and 12 stolen bases. He has a great arm and good tools across the board.
Martinez smacks a double

Kyle McCulloch, RHP: The Sox's 2006 first-round pick out of Texas, McCulloch went 8-11 with a 4.65 ERA at Birmingham. His 188 hits allowed over 156 2/3 innings tied for 10th-most in the Minors. A converted outfielder, he throws a plus changeup and posted a 3.64 ERA at Winston-Salem in 2007, his first full season.
McCulloch notches sixth strikeout

Slipped a Rung

Lance Broadway, RHP: A tough call, but Broadway, a 2005 first-rounder out of Texas Christian, has been passed by several other White Sox prospects and could be trade bait this offseason. In 2007, he posted a 0.87 ERA in 10 Major League innings and an 8-9 record and 4.65 ERA at Charlotte. Back in the Minors to further develop his pitches, his numbers did not improve. His ERA remained steady at 4.66 over 145 innings and he posted a 7.07 ERA in seven big league appearances, including one start. He was passed over for spot starts down the stretch in favor of Clayton Richard. Perhaps most tellingly, when the White Sox offered him the opportunity to stay with the team during the playoffs even though he wasn't on the roster, he turned it down. He has some of the best off-speed stuff in the system, but whether he'll still be there in '09 remains to be seen.

Juan Silverio, SS: Silverio was heralded this spring as a 17-year-old who could hit to all fields with plus defense. However, there are now questions regarding his real age, making his .228 average at Bristol and need to improve his plate discipline (56 strikeouts and eight walks in 59 games) of more concern. He remains a prospect but one who will require more time than previously thought.

On the Radar

Anthony Carter, RHP: A 26th-round draft-and-follow from 2005, Carter went 11-7 with a 3.99 ERA in his first full season at Kannapolis (5-2, 2.77 ERA) and Winston-Salem (6-5, 4.90 ERA). He recorded 107 strikeouts in 145 innings.
Carter gets his sixth K

David Cook, OF: One of the year's most pleasant surprises for the White Sox, Cook hit .284 at Birmingham and Charlotte, adding 19 homers, 56 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. A 2003 ninth-round pick out of Miami (Ohio), he posted a .410 on-base percentage, thanks to his great plate discipline -- his 93 walks tied for fourth in the Minors. Now 27 years old, it remains to be seen if he's earned a spot on the 40-man roster or if he'll become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.
Cook goes yard

Jon Link, RHP: In his first full season with the Sox after being acquired in a trade with San Diego last summer, Link led the Minors with 35 saves and posted a deceptive 3.02 ERA in 56 2/3 innings at Birmingham. We say deceptive because he struggled in the final week of the season, allowing seven earned runs over three innings. Without that late blip, his ERA would have been 2.01.
Link K's the side for the save

Henry Mabee, RHP: A 2007 19th-round pick, Mabee collected 20 saves in his first full season, 17 of them at Kannapolis, where he had a 1.33 ERA. He earned the remaining three in a non-closer role at Winston-Salem, where his ERA rose to 4.50. He struck out 75 over 80 2/3 innings. A native of Canada who attended Morehead State, Mabee has an outstanding curveball.
Mabee notches a fourth K

Christian Marrero, 1B: The older brother of Nationals prospect Chris Marrero, this 22-year-old signed as a draft-and-follow in 2006, a year after being taken in the 22nd round. After hitting .305 with 12 homers and 63 RBIs at Great Falls in '07, he batted .273 with 10 homers, 29 doubles and 61 RBIs at Kannapolis in his first full season.
Marrero goes deep

Levi Maxwell, RHP: A West Virginia product drafted one round before Mabee, Maxwell tied for fifth in the Minors in wins in his first full season, going 15-5 at Kannapolis with 105 strikeouts and only 29 walks in 124 2/3 innings. He joined the rotation in May.
Maxwell fans 10 in five innings

C.J. Retherford, 3B: Retherford had a standout season in 2007 as a non-drafted free agent out of Arizona State, batting .318 with 13 homers and 48 RBIs at Great Falls. Jumping to Winston-Salem this season, he hit .295 with 16 homers, 71 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Retherford finished seventh in the system in batting, fourth in homers and fifth in RBIs.
Retherford launches one

Draft Recap

1. Gordon Beckham, SS: The eighth overall pick out of Georgia, the versatile Beckham was Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and helped lead the Bulldogs to the finals of the College World Series. He hit .310 with three homers and eight RBIs in only 14 games at Kannapolis in his pro debut. And contrary to some published reports, he has never played polo in his life.
Beckham blasts a homer

2. Brent Morel 3B: With no second-round pick, the White Sox took Morel out of Cal Poly in the third round. He hit .375 at Great Falls and quickly moved up to Kannapolis, where he batted .297 with six homers and 24 RBIs in 45 games.
Morel goes deep

3. Andrew O'Neil, RHP: A fourth-rounder out of Penn State, O'Neil was 2-2 with a 6.97 ERA in 25 relief appearances at Great Falls, fanning 40 over 31 innings.

Others of Note: RHPs Dan Hudson (fifth round) and Dexter Carter (14th round) were roommates at Old Dominion and roomed together at short-season Great Falls, where they helped lead the rotation of the Pioneer League champion Voyagers. Hudson went 5-4 with a 3.36 ERA and led the loop with 90 strikeouts, while Carter limited opponents to a .179 average, led the league with a 2.23 ERA and had one fewer strikeout than his roommate. ... OF Kenneth Williams (sixth round) is the son of Sox GM Kenny and played his college ball at Wichita State. ... OF Jordan Danks (seventh round) hit .325 with two homers and seven RBIs in 10 games at Kannapolis and was assigned to the Arizona Fall League as a late replacement for the injured Stefan Gartrell. ... SS Tyler Kuhn (15th round) led the system in batting with a .375 average and drove in 46 runs at Great Falls. ... RHP Justin Kuehn (19th round) had a 1.80 ERA in 11 relief appearances for Bristol, striking out 25 in as many innings. ... OF Justin Greene (20th round) stole 27 bases at Bristol, good for fifth in the system. ... 2B Andrew Garcia (21st round) hit .299 with eight homers and 37 RBIs at Bristol. ... 1B Jorge Castillo (26th round) hit .365 at Bristol.

Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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