Commentary: Do White Sox Grow Players Better Than the Cubs Do?

The New York Times' Dan McGrath wrote in Times' Sunday paper that the White Sox develop players better than the Cubs do. It is hard to argue one way or the other, considering it was 2008 when catcher Geovany Soto won Rookie of the Year and in 2009 White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham had a breakout year. 

The Cubs will only have two position players in their Opening Day lineup that are homegrown while the White Sox will have just one (excluding Kosuke Fukudome and Alexei Ramirez). 

Both teams have a slew of pitchers that are homegrown, the notables - Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Marmol, and Randy Wells - and for the Sox - Mark Buehrle and Bobby Jenks - make up key parts of their respective teams pitching staffs. 

McGrath argues that the White Sox not only draft better, but develop their talent better than their rival Northsiders. Since the Cubs added amateur scout Tom Wilken, they have actually done very well in the draft. The farm system is restocked and several players are nearing the major league level. Let's take go back to 2006 and see who the Cubs have taken and where are they now.

2006 notables - OF Tyler Colvin, P Jeff Samardzija - both in major league camp.

2007 notables - 3B Josh Vitters (reassigned to minors), C Josh Donaldson (sent to Oakland for Rich Harden)

2008 notables - RP Andrew Cashner (in major league camp), INF Ryan Flaherty (in major league camp), P Chris Carpenter  (2.82 ERA in Double-A)

2009 notables - OF Brett Jackson (reassigned to minors)

Prior to 2005, the Cubs draft picks are "one Ozzie Timmons after the other," but the Cubs are on the verge of adding several homegrown prospects to their roster in the next two to three seasons. 

Away from the draft boards, we can't forget about some of the young talent the team has added. Anyone heard of Starlin Castro? Castro is coming off a tremendous 2009 season and is hitting .400 in spring training. He is expected to start (key word, start) in Triple-A this season.

Another shortstop prospect, Hak-ju Lee, is making a name for himself at the lower levels and if he follows up on his 2009 campaign, his name could be in the mix of top ten Cubs prospects. 

Back to the White Sox.

Let's go back to 2006 and see how the White Sox have done in drafting and developing talent.

2006 notables - P Kyle McCulloch (now 24, posted a 4.65 ERA in 2008 and a 4.58 ERA in 2009, both in Double-A), P Brian Omogrosso (in major league camp)

2007 notables - P Aaron Poreda (traded to SD in Jake Peavy Deal), P John Ely (traded to LA in Juan Pierre deal)

2008 notables - 2B Gordon Beckham (well, he's pretty good), P Dan Hudson (in major league camp), OF Jordan Danks.

2009 notables - Jared Mitchell (in major league camp, 2010 season in question after injury)

From everyone in both lists, the Cubs have only had two of their players make major league appearances (Colvin and Samardzija) while the White Sox have had two as well (Beckham and Poreda).

The White Sox made a tremendous signing in Alexei Ramirez, who is a .283 hitter in two seasons. They also signed Dayan Viciedo, but he has yet to make a serious impact or generate buzz for that matter.

The bottom line is that the Cubs are in a transitional phase waiting to see how their young players perform at the upper levels of minor leagues. However, the same can be said for the White Sox, who will likely send Dan Hudson and Jordan Danks to Double-A, maybe Triple-A.

When the two Chicago teams can clear some unwanted payroll from the roster, it will give way to some of their young players to emerge and become a team built from the ground up, similar to the Rays, Twins, or Rockies.

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