Comparing Cubs' and White Sox's prospects

Cubs hold edge in position players, while Sox's pitching depth is better

With the White Sox back to .500, maybe they can salvage our summer. The spring has been a bust, and never has there been a City Series matchup generating so little enthusiasm in Chicago.

But there is some good news for the baseball wise. That's this: There never has been a time when so many fans of the Cubs and White have paid this much attention to the prospects on the way.

So with that in mind, how do the two organizations stack up?

Here's my tale of the tape:

High-ceiling position players: Advantage, Cubs.

With high first-round picks and lots of Tom Ricketts' money to spend, the Cubs have assembled a wave of talent at the Class A level. Right fielder Jorge Soler (the $30 million man), shortstop Javier Baez and center fielder Albert Almora are the obvious names.

But also keep an eye on Arismendy Alcantara, an electrifying shortstop with speed, power and a high-revving motor; first baseman Dan Vogelbach, who is trying to follow Prince Fielder's path, and switch-hitting third baseman Jeimer Candelario, who is notable for his tools and plate discipline.

The White Sox love 2012 first-round pick Courtney Hawkins, but he was over-promoted out of spring training and paid for it with 45 strikeouts in 23 games at high-Class A Winston-Salem before hurting his right shoulder diving for a ball. Center fielder Trayce Thompson could become a 30-plus homer hitter but is considered high risk to stick in the big leagues. Second baseman Micah Johnson, who once beat Greg Oden in a one-on-one basketball game, stole 45 bases in his first 43 games at low-A Kannapolis.

Position player depth: Advantage, Cubs.

The abundance of decent prospects like outfielder Matt Szczur, infielder Logan Watkins, infielder Stephen Bruno and first baseman Rock Shoulders trumps the White Sox having guys like infielder Carlos Sanchez and catcher Josh Phegley who seem headed for long big-league career. The reality is that neither organization is in great shape, as until recently they were relative tightwads in the draft and international spending, but the Cubs have been more aggressive in addressing their deficit.

High-ceiling pitchers: Advantage, neither.

The White Sox's Erik Johnson and the Cubs' Pierce Johnson probably are the best pure pitching prospects in the inventories. But they are more sleepers on a national level than highly regarded prospects.

Pitching depth: Advantage, White Sox.

Nobody was excited about Mark Buehrle before the Sox tapped into his potential. Ditto Dylan Axelrod, signed out of independent ball, and Jose Quintana, who was a wasted asset in the Yankees' system before the Sox grabbed him after the 2011 season. The White Sox have a very good feel for finding undervalued pitching and getting big-league work out of unsung minor leaguers. At the moment, the guys in this pipeline include former Stanford lefty Scott Snodgress, Brazilian Andre Rienzo (off to a bad start after a strong 2012), right-hander Chris Beck and left-hander Santos Rodriguez.

Coming soon: Advantage, White Sox.

Sanchez, a switch hitter who knows how to get on base, got off to a slow start at Triple-A Charlotte but has begun hitting. He could make Alexei Ramirez or Gordon Beckham trade bait. Johnson, who had a 2.15 ERA in his first 10 starts with Double-A Birmingham, could make 10-plus big-league starts this year. Phegley, who has 10 home runs and a .999 OPS at Charlotte, is hitting his way past concerns about his receiving skills.

Coaching: Advantage, White Sox.

This is not a knock on the Cubs; it's giving the Sox credit for taking care of their minor league coaches, which keeps difference-makers like Kirk Champion, Curt Hasler, J.R. Perdew and many others from finding green grass elsewhere. The Sox do an excellent job developing pitchers.

progers@tribune.com

Twitter @ChiTribRogers

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