Down on the farm, there isn't much for Sox fans to feel good about when it comes to their team's future.
At least, that's what the experts who evaluate such things say, anyway.
It doesn't say much about what the Sox are developing when their No. 2-rated prospect behind right-hander Addison Reed is Nestor Molina, whom general manager Ken Williams added to the system by trading closer Sergio Santos. And Molina doesn't even have eye-opening stuff. He does, however, throw strikes and there's a lot to be said for that. Right-hander Simon Castro, acquired from San Diego in the Carlos Quentin trade, is also rated in the Sox' top five by one evaluator. Several others in the Sox' top 20 were acquired in trades over the last four months.
The Sox do have a new man in place, Marco Paddy, to oversee a Latin American scouting operation left in shambles by the Dave Wilder scandal. Jerry Krause gave it a go before throwing his hands up and getting out of Dodge to go work for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Maybe Paddy can do better -- he recommended Molina and recently signed a 17-year-old Venezuelan prospect (right-hander Luis Martinez) to a sizable $250,000 bonus, an encouraging indication that the Sox' mending of Latin American fences is beginning.
This is the time of year when teams' prospects are evaluated. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus sized up the White Sox top 20 list this way:
Four-star prospects: Reed.
Three-star: Molina, outfielder Trayce Thompson, right-hander Jake Petricka, Castro, outfielder Keenyn Walker.
Two-star: shortstop Eduard Escobar, right-hander Jhan Marinez, right-hander Myles Jaye, shortstop Tyler Saladino, right-hander Andre Rienzo:
Others: Juan Silverio, 3B; Jared Mitchell, OF; Brandon Short, OF; Pedro Hernandez, LHP; Gregory Infante, RHP; Erik Johnson, RHP; Michael Blanke, C; Dylan Axelrod, RHP; Ozzie Martinez, SS.
If that last name rings a bell, it's not only because he's Sox shortstop named Ozzie. He's the player the Sox received from the Miami Marlins - along with Marinez -- in their trade for manager Ozzie Guillen.