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A Minor Review of 2013: White Sox

There is always a bit of a lull between the end of the minor league playoffs in September and the start of the annual top prospects lists in early November. Because of that gap, I’m breathing new life into an old feature that I wrote for the site in FanGraphs’ infancy back in 2008 and 2009.

The series ‘A Minor Review of 2013’ will look back on some of the major happenings in each MLB organization since the beginning of April as a primer for the upcoming FanGraphs Top 10+5 prospects lists. This series will run throughout September and October. I hope you enjoy the series and are eagerly anticipating the start of ‘Prospect List Season.’

The player listed in the sleeper section was featured in a pre-season series that looked at one fringe prospect in each organization that was expected to take a big step forward during 2013, chosen by myself, a scout or a front office talent evaluator.

The Graduate: Andre Rienzo, RHP: The Sox club is building an intriguing young pitching staff and this Brazilian right-hander showed flashes of promise during his debut season. With a four-pitch mix, Rienzo averaged just under six innings per start but he was hurt by the long-ball and by the free pass. If the organization continues a rebuilding effort in 2014, Rienzo could be front and center during that effort.

The Riser: Marcus Semien, SS: Semien began the year behind middle infielders Carlos Sanchez, Joey DiMichele and Tyler Saladino but a strong 2013 — and an ability to handle shortstop — has pushed him past all three players. With the emergence of Micah Johnson, as well as the additions of Leury Garcia (trade) and Tim Anderson (draft), the infield depth in this system is much improved.

The Tumbler: Courtney Hawkins, OF: The organization got really excited after seeing Hawkins play in 2012 — perhaps a little too excited. The teenager was pushed aggressively to High-A ball but experienced a complete meltdown and, after striking out 160 times in 103 games, there are few positives to take away from the season. He finished the year on a 3-for-37 (.086) slide.

The 2013 Draft Pick: Tim Anderson, SS: The 20-year-old infielder has promising speed and a good glove. He swiped 24 bases in 28 attempts during his debut. His bat wasn’t quite as impressive and the strikeout rate (26%) is somewhat worrisome for someone who is not going to generate a lot of power. Anderson should move up to HIgh-A to begin 2014 and, if he makes more contact, he could finish his first full season in Double-A.

The Sleeper: Chris Bassitt, RHP: A 16th round draft pick from the 2011 draft, a scout pointed to Bassitt last winter as someone I should keep an eye on in ’13 — despite a walk rate of 5.34 BB/9 and a swing role. He settled into a permanent starting role this season and split the year between High-A and Double-A with improved control. The 6-5 Bassitt also increased his workload by almost 60 innings, up to 149, and could develop into a back-of-the-rotation innings-eater.