(Fort Mill, SC) -- On Monday, November 12, Baseball America released its Top 10 Prospects in the Chicago White Sox system.
Last season, RHP Addison Reed topped the list and six players on that list made their way through Fort Mill in 2012 (Nestor Molina, Simon Castro, Trayce Thompson, Jhan Carlos Marinez, Tyler Saladino, and Ozzie Martinez). Martinez was traded mid-season to the Dodgers organization. The rest of the players are all still in the organization.
On this year’s list, four of the Top 10 players spent time with the Charlotte Knights in 2012.
Here is the Top 10 list, as ranked by Baseball America:
1. Courtney Hawkins, of
2. Trayce Thompson, of
3. Carlos Sanchez, ss/2b
4. Erik Johnson, rhp
5. Keenyn Walker, of
6. Scott Snodgress, lhp
7. Andre Rienzo, rhp
8. Keon Barnum, 1b
9. Jared Mitchell, of
10. Chris Beck, rhp
Last year at this time, Thompson was ranked as the fourth-best prospect in the White Sox system. Also at the time, the California native was tabbed by Baseball America as the Best Power Hitter in the system.
Thompson, the son of former NBA first overall pick (1978) Mychal Thompson and brother to two NBA players (Klay and Mychel), began the 2012 campaign in Winston-Salem and had a marvelous year. In 116 games, he hit .254 with 22 home runs and 90 RBIs.
The 6’3” right-handed slugger was then promoted to Double-A Birmingham and continued to produce. In 14 games, he hit .280 with three home runs and six RBIs. On August 29, Thompson was promoted to the Knights roster to help the club down the stretch. Thompson is currently playing in the Arizona Fall League along with Sanchez, Rienzo, and Santos Rodriguez.
Sanchez came a long way in 2012. He began the year as a 19-year-old and finished it as a polished defensive and offensive prospect. After hitting .250 with Bristol and .288 with Kannapolis in 2011, Sanchez hit .315 in 92 games for Winston-Salem.
The Venezuelan infielder was then promoted to Double-A Birmingham where he continued to impress. In 30 games for the Barons, he hit a remarkable .370. His solid play in Birmingham led to his arrival with the Knights. He hit .256 over 11 games and played phenomenal defense. Sanchez is currently tearing it up with the bat in the Arizona Fall League.
Rienzo was originally signed by the White Sox as a free agent on November 17, 2006. Since then, the Brazilian native has been stellar on the mound.
The 24-year-old right-hander began the season with Winston-Salem and went 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts. He then posted a 4-3 mark with a 3.27 ERA in 13 starts for the Barons.
Rienzo earned a promotion to the Knights on August 30 and made one regular season start for the club. In a no-decision, Rienzo fanned 10 batters over 6.2 innings pitched. He allowed one unearned run on five hits.
As for the postseason, he struck-out seven batters in the opening game of the Governors’ Cup Finals against the PawSox. He entered the game in the first inning when starter Charlie Leesman was injured and had to leave the game. Rienzo took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits over 5.2 innings pitched.
Currently, Rienzo is pitching in the AFL and he leads the league in innings pitched and strikeouts.
Mitchell entered the 2012 season ranked by Baseball America as the Best Athlete in the White Sox organization. This year, he enters the 2013 season ranked by the same publication as the ninth best prospect in the organization.
A former baseball and football standout at LSU, Mitchell began the 2012 campaign with Double-A Birmingham and hit .240 with a Southern League best 12 triples. He also swatted 10 home runs, stole 20 bags, and drove in 54 runs.
On July 24, 2012, Mitchell was promoted to Charlotte and became an immediate starter. He appeared in 36 games for the club and hit .236 with one home run and 13 RBIs.
The 2012 Knights promoted 17 players to the White Sox. Who will be the next player promoted? Stay tuned for an exciting 2013 season. There should be some talented players coming through Fort Mill in the final season at Knights Stadium.