Coats, Stephens named White Sox Prospects of Year

Outfielder worked his way to Major League debut; No. 11 prospect thrives in first full season

Coats, Stephens named White Sox Prospects of Year

CHICAGO -- Outfielder Jason Coats worked through 50 at-bats in 2016 during his Major League debut with the White Sox. Jordan Stephens has not yet reached that lofty big league level.

But based on the work from the Stephens this past year, he might not be too far away from traveling the same path as Coats. Stephens and Coats were named White Sox Pitcher and Player Prospect of the Year according to The players were chosen based on 2016 performance, and a player was required to have been on his team's Top 30 list during the season to be under consideration.

The player's age/level and the league he played in also were part of the equation.

Coats, 26, hit .200 with one homer, four doubles and four RBIs over 28 games with the White Sox. He hit .330 with 10 homers, 22 doubles, a .394 on-base percentage and a .519 slugging percentage in 78 games with Triple-A Charlotte after a very solid Spring Training in which he hit three home runs. Coats entered the season ranked as the White Sox No. 17 prospect per MLBPipeline.

"Jason has had another consistent season," White Sox director of player development Nick Capra said. "He has done it at each level. His offensive numbers have been solid not only this year but throughout his Minor League career. He has also improved defensively year-to year."

In 2015, the 29th round pick from the 2012 MLB Draft hit .276 with 17 homers, 38 doubles, 11 stolen bases and 83 RBIs between stops at Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham.

Top Prospects: Stephens, CWS

Stephens, 24, completed his first full season in the Minors after the White Sox picked him in the fifth round of the 2015 Draft. The right-handed hurler has four pitches and "has worked extremely hard on developing his third and fourth pitches," per Capra.

"Very aggressive on the mound, using a nice mix of all 4 pitches," Capra added. "Attacks hitters with both a two-seam and four-seam fastball."

After producing a 0.51 ERA through 11 relief appearances with Arizona and Great Falls in '15, Stephens made all 27 appearances in '16 as part of the Class A Winston-Salem rotation. He fanned a Carolina League-best 155 over 141 innings, with the team's No. 11 prospect per MLBPipeline finishing with a 7-10 record and a 3.45 ERA. He walked 48 and yielded 129 hits, while fanning 29, walking six and yielding two earned runs over his last 15 innings.

The native of Alvin, Texas and one-time pitcher for Rice University missed most of the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.