I thought it'd be fun to take a look at how successful former White Sox farm system products that were dealt away are throughout the big leagues. So, we've compiled a list of the top 12. Included are players that were, at least at one point, in the White Sox' farm system before being dealt away and eventually (and still are) played in the major leagues. We'll start off with number 12 and work our way back to number 1 ...
12. Chris Carter
We'll start off with the Houston Astros' first baseman Chris Carter, who the Sox drafted in the 15th round of the 2005 draft. Though Carter saw action in both 2010 and 2011 for the Oakland Athletics, he got his first extended chance with the team last season, and did not disappoint.
In 2012, Carter hit 16 home runs and 12 doubles in just 216 at-bats. Considering that's well under half of a big league season, those are some pretty hefty power numbers. Standing 6'4 and weighing 244 pounds, it doesn't seem the 26 year-old lefty's power was a fluke.
This season, he'll serve as the primary backup 1B & DH for the Houston Astros behind Brett Wallace and Carlos Pena.
11. Chris Getz
We know you all remember this guy. In 2009, Chris Getz played in 107 games for the White Sox and had 24 XBH and 25 SB to go along with his .261 batting average. It seemed the team was going to give him time to grow for the organization, but was suddenly shipped off to Kansas City.
Since arriving in KC, he's gotten a lot of playing time throughout the 3 seasons, but has only been consistently mediocre. It seems he's good for about a .260 average and 20 SB while playing very reliable defense.
This season, the 29 year-old will have yet another chance at decent playing time, and is sure to continue being a White Sox-killer.
10. Ryan Sweeney
Ryan Sweeney was one of the more highly-touted White Sox prospects several years back after being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2003 draft by White Sox management.
Sweeney never really found his groove in very limited action on the south side of Chicago or throughout the team's system, so he was traded to the Oakland A's before the 2008 season. And he actually was able to find some success out in the Bay area.
His best season came in 2009, when he hit .293 with 40 XBH for Billy Beane's squad. He was actually pretty solid in 2008 and 2010, as well, but has battled injuries since then and has only been able to hit at around a .260 clip. It's currently unclear whether Sweeney will have another shot with the Red Sox, where he played in 2012.
9. Jon Rauch
Now we'll move to the mound, as the final 10 members of this list are indeed pitchers.
You may forget that veteran reliever Jon Rauch was once a member of the Chi Sox, but he was indeed was about 9 years ago. Rauch got chances here and there as a spot starter for the Sox back in 2002 and 2004, but wasn't very effective. However, he instantly found success when he was traded to the Montreal Expos in 2004, as he had a 1.54 ERA up north in 23 1/3 IP that sesaon.
Since then, Rauch has been a pretty consistent reliever, outside of struggles in the 2nd half of 2008 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the entire 2011 season with the Toronto Blue Jays. Before being dealt to the D'Backs in 2008, he'd given 3 1/2 very solid years of work to the Washington Nationals, consistently maintaining an ERA around the mid 3's.
Rauch has 62 career saves; his best year as a closer came in 2010 for the rival Minnesota Twins, when he saved 21 games while bolstering a 3.12 ERA. This season, he's got a cozy spot in the Miami Marlins' bullpen after another solid season in 2012 with the New York Mets.
8. Nick Masset
Yeah, I know ... it's pretty surprising to see this name on the list, but Nick Masset has been a very solid reliever since the White Sox dealt him to Cincinnati in 2008.
Masset came to the Sox in the deal that also brought the team John Danks, which we'll touch on later in the list once again. Masset pitched in 59 games for the White Sox in 2007 & 2008 combined (mostly as a long reliever, while making 2 total spot starts), but just simply wasn't that good. He had a 7.09 ERA in 2007 and a 4.63 ERA in 2008.
But since finding a home in Cincy, Masset has been a quiet staple to their bullpen ever since. Although he did not pitch in 2012, he had good numbers from 2008-2011 (2.08, 3.92, 2.37, 3.40 ERA's chronologically), and is set to be one of the team's middle relievers once again in 2013.
7. Lucas Harrell
Joining Chris Carter as the 2nd Astros' player on the list is the team's #1 starter for 2013, 27 year-old righty Lucas Harrell. The Sox drafted Luke back in 2004 as a 4th round pick.
Harrell was formidable for the White Sox in limited action in both 2010 and 2011, but really blossomed in Houston in 2012. He posted an impressive 3.76 ERA (mind you Minute Maid Park is a hitters' park) and tallied 11 wins for a very poor ball club. As we said, he's now listed as their number one guy, though that isn't saying too much considering their weak rotation.
Still, there's a lot of potential for the Astros' new 'ace' moving forward.
6. Boone Logan
I remember going to a White Sox game years back and Boone Logan being nice enough to have a conversation with me for a couple minutes by the bullpen before a game started; so I was happy to put him on this list. But frankly, he deserves it ...
The Sox really liked Logan, who pitched in 144 games for us from 2006-2008, but never really figured it out. His best year for the club was in 2007, when he pitched in 68 games and had a 4.97 ERA. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves during the 2008 season but struggled there as well, and was traded into the New York Yankees minor league system. Since then, he's progressed drastically and hasn't looked back.
In the last 3 seasons for the Yankees, he's pitched in a combined 195 games as their lefty specialist, posting ERA's of 2.93, 3.46, and 3.74. Last season, he pitched in a whopping 80 games and is sure to carry a large workload again this season.
5. Clayton Richard
Now onto the former University of Michigan backup quarterback, Clayton Richard (yep, that's right).
Richard was drafted in the 8th round of the 2005 draft by the White Sox and instantly found success all throughout the team's farm system. He really took off in 2008 when he was promoted to AA & AAA, and the team soon gave him a chance.
Richard pitched both as a starter and as a reliever in 2008 & 2009 on the south side but couldn't find much consistency. Throughout the past 3 seasons, he's started 84 games for the San Diego Padres, and has done very well. His ERA has ranged from 3.75-3.99, and most recently picked up 14 wins last season for a Padres team that wasn't very competitive until the end.
He's still only 29 years old, and with a lot of experience under his belt, is poised to be a solid number 2 pitcher (or thereabout) for at least a several more years.
4. Daniel Hudson
Regarded as a top prospect in the Sox' organization for a few years was Daniel Hudson, now of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Unfortunately, he wasn't thought to have too high of a ceiling.
Hudson first got a shot at the big leagues with the White Sox toward the end of the 2009 season and looked pretty good, though he only made 2 starts. After more success at AAA Charlotte in 2010, he was called up to make 3 starts, but didn't fare so well. But after being dealt to AZ, he suddenly showed flashes of dominance.
Hudson made 11 starts for the D'Backs in 2010, going 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA ... yep.
Since then it's been a bit up-and-down, highlighted by a 16-12/3.49 ERA in 2011 and injuries (plus struggles) in 2012. If he can stay healthy and pitch anywhere near the level we saw him at in 2011, this'll continue to be one of those trades that really hurts us White Sox fans who never got to see what could've been.
3. Brandon McCarthy
Also now with the Diamondbacks in the desert is Brandon McCarthy, one of the biggest pitching prospect names the Sox have had in recent memory.
McCarthy was solid when called upon during the 2005 Championship campaign (made 10 starts), but surprisngly struggled in 2006, going 4-7 with a 4.68 ERA. He was traded to Texas before the 2007 season in the deal that brought us Nick Masset and John Danks. And it took some more time for the young 6'7 pitcher to figure it out.
He made 5 starts for the Rangers in 2008, 17 in 2009, and then pitched 2010 in AAA. But when he was dealt to the Oakland A's before the 2011 season, it was finally his time to shine.
McCarthy went 9-9 in 2011 but had a very impressive 3.32 ERA. In 2012 he got even better, going 8-6 with the ERA down to 3.24. Unfortunately he was hit in the head by a vicious line drive in early September, but has miraculously already worked his way back, and is now ready to excel in the weaker National League.
2. Mark Buehrle
It still pains me a little bit to write about Buehrle. A fan favorite, long-time White Sox ace, and 2005 World Series Champion Mark Buehrle left via free agency to the Miami Marlins before the 2012 season. And as we expected, was pretty solid.
Despite the Marlins being a very poor team for most of the season, he won 13 games and had a 3.74 ERA. This offseason, he was sent to Toronto in a mega-deal. The Blue Jays are now considered, by some, as the favorite in the AL East. And I think I speak on behalf of most Sox fans when I say I sure do hope Mark has more success - just not against the White Sox.
Buehrle won 161 games for the White Sox from 2000-2011 and is, without a doubt, one of the organization's all-time best.
1. Gio Gonzalez
Obviouisly, I've tried to write this post in a light tone. I could have been extremely bitter toward Kenny Williams & co. for trading away what is nearly an entire pitching staff in itself, but I wasn't. Except here, that is.
This one I'm a little bit bitter about ... I just can't help it. In case you don't know, southpaw Gio Gonzalez had a 2.89 ERA while going 21-8 for the surprising Washington Nationals last season, establishing himself as one of the elite pitchers in the NL. Problem is, the White Sox didn't just trade him away ... they traded him away twice.
That's right - Gio was first sent to Philadelphia in the Jim Thome deal. At the time, that looked like an OK deal. But then he was shipped back to the Sox in the Freddy Garcia deal, and it looked like we'd salvaged our highly-touted youngster. But after a solid 2007 in the minors, he was shipped to Oakland (with others) for Nick Swisher. So yeah, that's why that one stings.
But all in all, we can't say Kenny Williams, and now Rick Hahn, haven't done a very good job.