On July 19, 2017, Yoan Moncada is called up to join the White Sox, and fans finally get their first taste of the promising future of the rebuild. Despite how new and exciting that felt for Sox fans, it’s a moment that will be repeated plenty of times through the next few seasons.
After a plethora of July trades, the Sox have a wide array of prospects set to join the south siders in time. Presently, however, it’s difficult to project exactly when these farmhands will make their debuts. It doesn’t hurt to try though!
We’ll start with an easy one. At a seminar in Boston on Saturday, Hahn told attendees to “Maybe buy tickets for Friday night.” That statement followed Lopez being named the Sox’ July Pitching Prospect of The Month, and Hahn indicating in interviews that Lopez was close.
Called up previously by the Washington Nationals, Lopez came into 2017 expecting to contribute in Chicago. With his 3.79 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 131 Ks in 121 innings, he’s earned his chance. Today, Rick Hahn officially announced that Lopez will take the bump on Friday versus the Kansas City Royals.
Debut Prediction: August 11 (You can take that one to the bank)
The former No. 1 pitching prospect in all of baseball, Lucas Giolito’s career has been a rollercoaster since his senior year of high school. During that campaign, he sprained his elbow and his draft stock fell, since he needed Tommy John Surgery. The Nationals were patient, and Giolito pitched fantastically before an up-and-down 2016 that brought about questions surrounding his velocity and command. He hasn’t righted the ship this year, but recently Giolito’s thrown the ball a lot better.
Over his last six starts, containing 32.2 IP, Giolito is sporting a 3.07 ERA with 34 Ks. Though his numbers aren’t major-league ready, Giolito would benefit from spending time with White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper. Cooper has worked wonders for homegrown pitchers over his tenure (Mark Buehrle, Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, etc.), and he might as well put it some work with Giolito now.
Therefore, I think Giolito is definitely going to be called up around September 1 when major league rosters expand to 40 available players.
Call-Up Prediction: September 4
Unlike Giolito, there’s really no silver lining here. Not only are Fulmer’s numbers worse than Giolito’s, Fulmer is older and has regressed in 2017. Formerly Chicago’s top prospect, Fulmer has fallen to #12 in the organization in lieu of his 5.56 ERA this season.
Thinking optimistically, it’s not unreasonable to believe this is nothing more than an anomaly in his career. He had only pitched 126 innings in his entire pro career before this season, and he could still be figuring things out. When he’s on, his plus fastball and curveball arsenal is deadly, and he exhibited that with five consecutive 1-run outings towards the start of the 2017 campaign. Like Giolito, Fulmer might benefit from instruction at the hands of Cooper, so I expect the Sox to call him up before season’s end.
Prediction: September 8
Yes, 2017 has been a down year for the former top-100 prospect, but the White Sox surrendered Dan Jennings (to Tampa Bay) for Gillaspie for a reason. At 24 years old, Gillaspie has an MLB-ready bat that hasn’t shown up this year (.228/.299/.353) in the midst of high expectations. Projections have him reaching the bigs in 2017, and I tend to agree. When rosters expand, Gillaspie can provide some much-needed rest for Jose Abreu at first base.
Prediction: September 4
A few weeks ago, Hahn continued his trade streak by dealing reliever Anthony Swarzak to the Brewers in exchange for Cordell. Though his numbers (.284/.349/.506) are undoubtedly juiced because he played in Colorado for half of his games, Cordell has been solid offensively, and possess adequate speed and fielding skills as well. Considering he’s 25 and well-rounded, I would expect him to assume the center field spot soon in place of the struggling Adam Engel.
Unfortunately, Cordell is recovering from a back injury, and Rick Hahn said there’s a possibility he misses the rest of the season. Maybe he’ll be healthy before then, but there’s little point in calling him up for two series. Despite my guess, I’m putting him in the 2017 category because he would be in the majors soon barring the injury.
Prediction: September 2017 / Opening Day 2018