Is Dylan Axelrod a legit prospect?


Is Dylan Axelrod a legit prospect?

It's the season for prospect lists, and Friday, Marc Hulet at FanGraphs rolled out his top 15 White Sox prospect rankings complete with Dylan Axelrod at No. 5.

That's as high as I've seen Axelrod on any list. Hulet comes to this prediction about Axelrod's potential:

"Axelrod has a modest ceiling but his four-pitch mix, control and pitchability should allow him to succeed as a No. 4 starter especially on a second division team. He may eventually wind up in the bullpen as a middle reliever if he finds his way onto a playoff-caliber team."

Essentially, Axelrod could crack a rotation on a non-contender. That's both good and bad news for the White Sox -- the bad news is, they're shaping up to be a non-contender this season. The good news is that Axelrod maybe could give them some quality innings.

Axelrod was actually pretty darn good last year in the minors for the Sox, doing a great job limiting home runs and walks while striking out about eight batters per nine innings.

The biggest concern I have is his lack of a third pitch right now -- in 18 23 innings with the Sox last September, he threw a fastball or slider on over 90 percent of his offerings. If he can develop a changeup and occasionally mix in a curveball to keep hitters off balance, then maybe he'll have a shot at sticking in the Sox rotation. If not, he could be a somewhat reliable long relieverspot-starter.

Axelrod's role on the 2012 Sox is contingent on a trade of John Danks or Gavin Floyd, though, or an injury to one of the current starters. It's also contingent on him beating out Zach Stewart for whatever fill-in starts trickle down.

The one thing to keep in mind with Axelrod's placing on this top 15 list, though: He probably doesn't sniff the top 10, maybe not even top 15 in most other organizational prospect lists.

Four top prospects among 19 players invited to White Sox big league camp

Four top prospects among 19 players invited to White Sox big league camp

Four of the team's top-10 prospects and a former All-Star are among the 19 nonroster invitees to White Sox big league camp this spring.

The team announced Monday that prospects Michael Kopech, Zack Collins, Zack Burdi and Spencer Adams have all been invited to camp next month. Everth Cabrera, an All-Star in 2013 for the San Diego Padres, Cody Asche, Cory Luebke and Geovany Soto are among the eight minor league free agents who also received an invitation. Pitchers and catchers report to camp in Glendale, Ariz. on Feb. 14 while the team holds its first full-squad workout on Feb. 18.

Kopech was acquired in the Chris Sale trade in December while Collins and Burdi were both selected in the 2016 amateur draft. Adams was drafted in 2014.

Signed earlier this month, Soto is expected to earn a spot on the 25-man roster. Soto, who played for the White Sox in 2015, finished last season with four home runs and an .809 OPS in 86 plate appearances for the Los Angeles Angels.

Cabrera, who produced 4.6 Wins Above Replacement between 2012-13, hasn't played in the majors since he appeared in 29 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 2015. Luebke, who has twice had reconstructive elbow surgery, finished with a 9.35 ERA in nine games for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. Asche blasted 31 homers with a .240/.298/.385 slash line in 1,287 plate appearances since 2013 with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Other minor league free agents include: left-handed pitcher David Holmberg, right-handers Blake Smith and Anthony Swarzak, and catcher Roberto Pena.

White Sox minor leaguer pitchers Aaron Bummer, Brian Clark, Jace Fry and Matt Purke, infielders Nicky Delmonico and Danny Hayes, and outfielder Courtney Hawkins also have been invited to camp.

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