The Top 50 Countdown: 20-11

From 50 all the way down to 1, we will continue our countdown of the top 50 prospects in the White Sox organization with 11 through 20. Coming Soon: 1 through 10.

Stats Updated on June 7th, 2003

20. Corwin Malone, 22 – LHP, SP – Birmingham Barons (AA)
2003: 2-2, 7.16 ERA, 27.2 INN, 17 K, 24 BB
2002 (Birmingham-AA): 10-7, 4.71 ERA, 124.1 INN, 89 K, 89 BB
2001 (Birmingham-AA): 2-0, 2.33 ERA, 19.1 INN, 20 K, 12 BB
2001 (Winston Salem-A): 0-1, 1.72 ERA, 36.2 INN, 38 K, 10 BB
2001 (Kannapolis-A): 11-4, 2.00 ERA, 112.1 INN, 119 K, 44 BB
2000 (Burlington-A): 2-3, 4.90 ERA, 71.2 INN, 82 K, 72 BB
1999 (Arizona-R): 0-2, 18.00 ERA, 18.0 INN, 24 K, 19 BB

Corwin Malone is one of the more talented left-handed arms in the minors, but arm and control problems have halted his run to the majors. Malone's best pitch is a 94 MPH fastball with good movement. Last season he got away from using this pitch as much, and that, mixed with control problems, led Malone into a rocky season. Arm troubles would make the season even worse, but it did leave some optimistic, believing that his control problems were because of the injury. This season Malone came in healthy and the Sox had big expectations for him. Now, a couple months into the season, Malone has once again had difficulty throwing strikes and finds himself on the disabled list. Malone is working on adding a change-up to his arsenal that includes a plus over-hand curve, and is slowly fixing his delivery. The key to Malone is to get healthy and get back to work on improving his mechanics. The Sox knew he was raw when they drafted him in the ninth round and although he's had his difficulties the past two seasons, the talent is definitely there.

19. Brian Miller, 20 – RHP, SP – Kannapolis Intimidators (Low A Ball)
2003: 3-4, 8.10 ERA, 43.1 INN, 29 K, 24 BB
2002 (Bristol-R): 7-3, 4.30 ERA, 60.2 INN, 63 K, 30 BB

The Sox drafted Miller out of high school in the 20th Round of the 2001 draft. He was rated as the top prep pitcher in Michigan in 2001 and was committed to the University of Michigan, which led to sign-ability issues. Note: In the draft sign-ability issues either mean they will be looking for more money, or in Miller's case, they were committed to school and didn't appear interested in going pro straight out of high school. The Sox lucked out and were able to sign Miller. Miller didn't make his pro-debut until late 2001 in Bristol (Rookie League), where he won seven games. After being drafted Miller gained strength and improved his velocity. Some scouts believe he will still get a bit stronger. Currently he features a mid-90s fastball and a very good changeup. Without a full season in the league, Miller hasn't had much time to work on developing a third pitch, but it is in the plans and he will likely be working on it with coaches throughout the next few years. As I say for many prospects, the key for Miller will be to stay healthy and develop better secondary pitches. You may not of heard of Miller, but he has one of the highest ceilings in the entire system and a great season in the minors could do big things for his "name recognition".

18. Pedro Lopez, 19 – R/R – 2B – Kannapolis Intimidators (Low A Ball)
2003: .230 AVG, 0 HR, 20 RBI, 7 SB, 12 BB, 22 K
2002 (Bristol-R): .319 AVG, 0 HR, 35 RBI, 22 SB, 20 BB, 27 K
2001 (Arizona-R): .312 AVG, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 12 SB, 16 BB, 24 K

Armed with superior defensive skills and a skilled bat, Pedro Lopez might just be the long-term answer at second base that the Sox have been looking for. Lopez was signed out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 16, and has lived up to his potential in two short-season leagues by putting up very sound numbers. Lopez has shown good plate discipline, speed on the base paths, as well as a sound approach at the plate, but Lopez's defense impresses the most. Lopez was originally signed as a shortstop, but was moved to second base when the Sox drafted Andy Gonzalez in 2001. One might think that the move would hinder Lopez's defensive abilities, but the exact opposite came about. Lopez cut down on his errors while still showing his great range, hands and raw ability. Like shortstop Andy Gonzalez, Lopez has gotten off to a very slow start at Kannapolis, as his average is hovering around .225. Hopefully, both will get their seasons turned around very soon so they can contribute more to the Intimidators.

17. Enemencio Pacheco, 24 – RHP, SP – Birmingham Barons (AA)
2003: 5-1, 2.05 ERA, 61.1 INN, 52 K, 23 BB
2002 (Winston Salem-A): 1-1, 4.74 ERA, 24.2 INN, 24 K, 8 BB
2002 (Salem-A): 2-2, 3.16 ERA, 51.1, 31 K, 26 BB
2001 (Salem-A): 4-2, 4.68 ERA, 42.1 INN, 29 K, 18 BB
2001 (Asheville-A): 1-2, 4.21 ERA, 36.1 INN, 34 K, 9 BB
2000 (Asheville-A): 8-10, 3.69 ERA, 117.0 INN, 79 K, 35 BB
1999 (Asheville-A): 3-9, 5.29 ERA, 85.0 INN, 59 K, 29 BB
1999 (Portland-A): 4-3, 3.95 ERA, 73.0 INN, 44 K, 21 BB
1998 (Asheville-A): 0-0, 6.75 ERA, 4.0 INN, 2 K, 1 BB
1998 (Az Rockies-R): 5-0, 3.99 ERA, 58.2 INN, 59 K, 17 BB
1997 (Dominican Rockies-R): 1-6, 5.26 ERA, 51.1 INN, 39 K, 22 BB

Pacheco, who was acquired by the White Sox last season from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Sandy Alomar Jr., struggled in his initial stint with the White Sox, but has vastly improved himself in his second year. Armed with a live fastball and hard slider Pacheco has the stuff to pitch at the major league level. The problem is, both of his pitches are hard and he's yet to develop an off-speed pitch. The Sox have been working with him on this, and it seems to be paying dividends. Pacheco should get promoted to Charlotte sometime this season and has an outside chance of being a September call-up.

16. Micah Schnurstein, 18 – R/R – 3B – Bristol White Sox (R)
2002 (Arizona-R): .332 AVG, 3 HR, 48 RBI, 1 SB, 12 BB, 34 K

Schnurstein and Edgar Valera each had monster seasons in their debuts at the hot corner. Schustrein flat raked the ball, setting an Arizona league record with 26 doubles. Scouts believe that as he gets stronger, those doubles will become home runs, meaning he has the making to be a great power hitting third baseman. While he is already a good hitter, he does have to work on his patience, as do most young players. Defensively, he's solid with soft hands and a strong enough arm to handle third base. One thing you shouldn't expect out of Schnurstein is stolen bases as he doesn't have good speed. Schnurstein will start playing at Bristol later this month (June) where he will look to build upon his first professional season.

15. Edwin Almonte, 26 – RHP, RP – Charlotte Knights (AAA)
2003: 1-4, 12 SV, 6.94 ERA, 23.1 INN, 22 K, 9 BB
2002 (Charlotte-AAA): 2-3, 26 SV, 2.24 ERA, 60.1 INN, 56 K, 12 BB
2001 (Birmingham-AA): 1-4, 36 SV, 1.49 ERA. 66.1 INN, 62 K, 16 BB
2000 (Birmingham-AA): 1-3, 4.54 ERA, 39.2 INN, 21 K, 9 BB
2000 (Winston Salem-AA): 3-1, 2 SV, 3.16 ERA, 77.0 INN, 73 K, 20 BB
1999 (Burlington-A): 9-12, 5 SV, 3.05 ERA, 115.2 INN, 85 K, 28 BB
1998 (Bristol-R): 0-0, 0.98 ERA, 9.2 INN, 6 K, 1 BB
1998 (Arizona-R): 3-0, 3.37 ERA, 26.2 INN, 26 K, 4 BB

Edwin Almonte has put up dominating numbers the past three years in the White Sox organization. In 2001 he set the AA record for saves with 36. Last season he made the jump to Charlotte and was just as good with 26 saves and a 2.24 ERA. There are only two things holding Almonte back: his age (26) and velocity. Neither should be a concern considering the type of changeup Almonte has, which is comparable to that of Keith Foulke. Almonte compliments the changeup with an 87-90 MPH fastball and a slider, all of which he can throw for strikes. Edwin also has a tough makeup and has proved he can go in and finish games. His future is now, but recent struggles in Charlotte will make it difficult to move up, especially with the recent progress of Matt Ginter.

14. Daniel Haigwood, 19 - LHP, SP – Great Falls White Sox (R)
2002 (Arizona-R): 8-4, 2.28 ERA, 75.0 INN, 74 K, 26 BB

Haigwood, to the White Sox surprise and delight, fell in the 2002 draft, allowing the Sox to select him in the 16th round. Haigwood was so dominating in high school that he won his first 43 decisions. He then he showed that his dominance wouldn't stop in high school as he had an impressive debut last season. While Haigwood doesn't have great velocity, he knows how to pitch and is working his secondary pitches. His fastball can hit 90 MPH and he also features a plus curve. He's also added a changeup and two-seam fastball to his repertoire. He can throw his changeup for strikes, but it's not an effective pitch yet, mainly because he has to work on the arm action of it. Haigwood should learn a lot this season and then play his first full season in 2004. He has a good array of pitches, and as they improve he should improve, and eventually hit the majors.

13. Josh Stewart, 24 – LHP, SP – Charlotte Knights (AAA)
2003: 0-1, 5.68 ERA, 12.2 INN, 6 K, 2 BB
2002 (Birmingham-AA): 11-7, 3.53 ERA, 150.1 INN, 92 K, 56 BB
2001 (Birmingham-AA): 3-4, 6.67 ERA, 82.1 INN, 47 K, 42 BB
2001 (Winston Salem-A): 4-6, 3.82 ERA, 63.2 INN, 38 K, 28 BB
2000 (Burlington-A): 9-9, 4.57 ERA, 138.0 INN, 82 K, 58 BB
1999 (Burlington-A): 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 18.0 INN, 25 K, 5 BB
1999 (Bristol-R): 2-0, 7.28 ERA, 29.2 INN, 35 K, 21 BB

Most should be familiar with Josh Stewart, who opened this season with the Chicago White Sox as the fifth starter. Stewart did so-so in his debut, but showed some signs of a future in the majors. Stewart is a finesse lefty, much like Mark Buehrle at the major league level or Jim Bullard/Heath Phillips at the minor league level. Stewart throws a curveball, changeup and fastball. His fastball can hit 90 MPH, but usually is around the 88 MPH range. Because of the lack of velocity or a true "plus" pitch, Josh has to rely on location. His location is good for the minors, but he still has a ways to go before he is "major league" ready. Stewart seemed to of gained confidence with his short stint with the big boys and should have learned what he needs to work on. We'll likely see him in the South Side again sometime this season; the question is whether he'll be a starter or reliever.

12. Andy Gonzalez, 21 – R/R – SS – Kannapolis Intimidators (Low A Ball)
2003: .213 AVG, 1 HR, 23 RBI, 3 SB, 22 BB, 34 K
2002 (Bristol-R): .280 AVG, 1HR, 45RBI, 5 SB, 32 BB, 43 K
2001 (Arizona-R): .323 AVG, 5 HR, 30 RBI, 13 SB, 15 BB, 36 K

Andy Gonzalez has the possibility to do something no White Sox farm hand has done since Bucky Dent in 1976. Gonzalez could become the first homegrown shortstop from within the system to become the regular shortstop for the big league team. Where all the others failed, Gonzalez hopes to succeed, as do scouts, the organization, coaches and many others believe. Much of their faith in this 21 year-old lies within his tremendous athletic ability, which many think is greater than Anthony Webster's. Gonzalez is an above average hitter, who should be a gap hitter as he progresses in his baseball career. Gonzalez should move up in the organization along with Webster, and fight for a spot in 2006.

11. Ruddy Yan, 21 – S/R – 2B – Winston Salem Warthogs (High A Ball)
2003: .335 AVG, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 37 SB, 24 BB, 36 K
2002 (Winston Salem-A): .253 AVG, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 88 SB, 42 BB, 57 K
2001 (Hickory-A): .283 AVG, 2 HR, 24 RBI, 56 SB
2000 (Bradenton-R): .357 AVG, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 5 SB
1999 (Dominican Pirates-R): .300 AVG, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 48 SB

Ruddy was acquired last off-season along with Damaso Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Matt Guerrier. Since joining the Sox system he has done nothing but run, setting a Kannapolis's record with 88 stolen bases. Speed is definitely his most important asset, but he is also a solid defender. The key areas Ruddy will have to work on is strength, but more importantly to stress his approach: working on his base-stealing techniques, as well as perfecting the bunt. When you're a fast player you need to make sure you can reach base and be as efficient as possible once on base. Ruddy also has to go with the mindset that he will drive the ball and not try for the homer, because he has absolutely no power. So far in the minors, he has proved to be more of a slap hitter. Hopefully, it stays that way. Another thing Ruddy should work on is his patience at the plate. For his age he is very patient, but he has to keep improving if hopes to make it and say in the majors for an extended time. Ruddy is tearing the cover off the ball in Winston Salem and should move up to AA soon. If he can improve his abilities to get on base, then he can be one of the best leadoff men in the minors, and could possibly shoot up the charts to becoming a top prospect.

By Jason Gage, Mike Doyle and Mark J. Jacobsen

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