The White Sox are getting their minor-league system back up and running after a decade or so of futility.
Prospects such as Micah Johnson, Courtney Hawkins, Tim Anderson, Tyler Danish, Trey Michalczewski and Carlos Rodon -- the No. 3 overall draft pick this year -- provide some needed hope for the future.
Tyler Saladino never cracked the Top Prospects list, but the versatile infielder/outfielder was having a breakout season with Class AAA Charlotte this year before suffering a bad break.
The Sox' seventh-round draft pick in 2010 is a natural shortstop, but he also played first base, second, third and the outfield with Charlotte this season. In a July 9 game at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Saladino was playing left field and he injured his right arm while throwing out Taylor Dugas at home plate.
Tests revealed the 25-year-old Saladino tore his ulnar collateral ligament, and the injury required season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Saladino batted .310 with 9 home runs and 43 RBI for Charlotte, and he was positioned to get a September call from the White Sox.
"Absolutely," general manager Rick Hahn said. "He's an interesting offensive player. He's got a little bit of pop, a little bit of speed, and he gets on base. But this year he's also shown some pretty good defensive versatility, playing all throughout the infield and even taking reps in the corner outfield."
The Sox are hopeful Saladino makes it back to the field by April.
"With a position player, it's a little different from a pitcher in terms of the recovery," Hahn said. "Hopefully, by Opening Day, he's without restriction, but I don't have the exact timing on that."
While the injury is a classic case of bad timing for a player on the rise, Saladino succeeded in putting himself on the White Sox' radar.
"He's a valuable guy, and it's unfortunate that he had that injury," Hahn said. "He was certainly working himself into that mix to get up here to Chicago at some point. He'll get the repair done and be back at it next year."