Are the White Sox growing any good players in depleted farm system?
While the White Sox were losing a combined 195 games during the 2017-18 seasons, their media relations department made a wise pivot.
Multiple times a month, the Sox would make prospects available for interviews.
At the time, there was much more interest in minor-league talent like Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech than major-league placeholders like Yonder Alonso, Jose Rodon, Dylan Covey and Ivan Nova.
Times have changed, for the better on the big-league side.
As the White Sox steam toward their second straight trip to the playoffs, most of their best young players from a few years ago are making impact.
Down on the farm this year, the Sox are nowhere near as strong as they were when they started rebuilding after the 2016 season.
Baseball America rates the Sox's minor-league talent dead last at No. 30, but the cupboard is not bare.
As the season winds to a close, here are some young players to keep an eye on moving forward:
Colson Montgomery, Wes Kath
Let's group this duo together, since they were the Sox's first- and second-round draft picks this year.
The White Sox usually take college players at the top of the draft, but this year's pool of players was loaded with quality high school infielders.
Montgomery, a shortstop, was the first-round pick out of Southridge High School in Huntingburg, Indiana. Kath, a third baseman, was the Sox's second-round selection out of Desert Mountain Hight in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Both players are making their debuts with the White Sox's rookie-level team in the Arizona Complex League.
"They've done a seamless job in transitioning to professional baseball," said Chris Getz, the Sox's assistant GM/director of player development. "Very impressive kids, they have a lot of confidence, clearly they're very talented. We think having those two infielders grow up together is going to be a positive."
Through 22 games in the ACL, Montgomery is batting .256/.389/.333. The left-hander hasn't homered yet, but there is plenty of power projected in his 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame.
The 6-3, 200-pound Kath also swings from the left side. He's slashing .220/.283/.341 with 3 homers and 14 RBI in 24 games.
Yoelqui Cespedes, Norge Vera
The White Sox are the best team in baseball at mining talent from Cuba, and they signed Cespedes and Vera before this season opened.
After a slow start at high Class A Winston-Salem, Cespedes has heated up. The 23-year-old outfielder is hitting a combined .283/.351/.457 with 7 home runs and 25 RBI in 68 games with Winston-Salem and AA Birmingham.
Vera is pitching for the Sox's team in the Dominican Summer League, and he got a late start to the season due to soreness in his throwing (right) shoulder.
Up and running now, the 6-4, 185-pounder has overwhelmed the competition.
Vera has not given up an earned run over 11⅔ innings while allowing 4 hits and 3 walks. The son of former Cuban pitching legend Norge Luis Vera, Norge Jr. also has 21 strikeouts.
When he pitches in the United States next season, look for Vera to quickly climb through the Sox's system.
"There are plenty of indications we've got ourselves a future starter in Norge Vera and we look forward to continuing his development," Getz said. "He's got a physical frame and he's a hard worker with a loose, easy delivery and arm action has allowed, him to gain velocity. He's got power within how his body moves, so can't say I'm too surprised with his progress."
Andrew Dalquist, Matthew Thompson
Another obvious pairing, Dalquist and Thompson where high draft picks in 2019 as high school pitchers.
Missing the entire 2020 season due to COVID-19 hurt both of the right-handers, and they've struggled this year at low Class A Kannapolis.
The White Sox are hoping to have a much better read on Dalquist and Thompson at this point next year.