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Catching up with Chicago White Sox prospects, including Colson Montgomery and Jordan Leasure

Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Chicago White Sox hitting coach Marcus Thames calls top prospect Colson Montgomery “Big Smooth.”

“Because everything he does is nice and easy,” Thames recently said. “He’s a talented young man and just talking to coaches who’ve had him, he’s fiery out there and likes to get after it.”

The shortstop had appeared in 10 Cactus League games this spring entering Sunday.

This week brings an additional spotlight with Friday’s “Spring Breakout” prospect game against the Cubs in Mesa.

Montgomery, third baseman Bryan Ramos, catcher Edgar Quero and pitcher Jordan Leasure are among the players on the projected Sox roster. Here’s a look at how each has progressed this spring.

Colson Montgomery

Montgomery got his first taste of big-league camp last spring. He’s getting a bigger bite this year — entering Sunday 1-for-16 with two walks and two RBIs — as he continues to make his way through the organization.

“I like that I’m playing more games, backing up and getting the experience at a big-league level because that’s what you want to do,” Montgomery told the Tribune on Wednesday. “You want to play at the highest level that you can.

“And also a lot more comfortable this year. I know a lot more guys, a lot of veteran dudes. A lot of them have taken me under their wing — everybody has. It’s a really good vibe.”

The 22-year-old is taking in as much as he can.

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“(I’ve) learned a lot of things about how to deal with certain things, adversity,” Montgomery said. “How to go about your business. And from a routine standpoint. Little things throughout the game to get an edge, get an advantage. A lot of veteran guys have been there and done that. It’s cool they are giving me these little tidbits.”

The team’s first-round pick in 2021 spent time at three levels — the Arizona Complex League White Sox, Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham — after a midback strain delayed his start to the 2023 season.

He also participated in the Arizona Fall League and earned MVP honors in the Fall Stars Game.

“Fall League experience was really cool. I’m glad I played in that,” he said. “Especially because I missed however long (during the season), so getting those ABs back and those games back was really good. And very crucial for my development.”

That development has continued this spring.

“It’s always good to be back with the guys, playing baseball and doing what we love to do,” Montgomery said. “A lot of it can be overwhelming, but at the end of the day it’s a game too. I like to have fun playing.”

Bryan Ramos

The No. 3 prospect in the organization according to MLB.com hit 15 home runs in 81 games last season at two minor-league stops, spending most of his time at Birmingham.

In addition to going 3-for-11 in 10 Cactus League games this spring, he has played a steady third base. Saturday against the San Diego Padres in Peoria, Ariz., he made a nice catch in foul territory on a ball near the stands.

“Defensively I’ve been doing a lot of work because I know I can keep improving in that area,” Ramos told the Tribune on Sunday. “That’s my goal, to be as complete as I can. Defensively, on the hitting side, I want to be a complete baseball player.”

Like Montgomery, Ramos impressed during the Arizona Fall League, hitting four home runs and driving in 10 in 23 games. He has been able to slow down the game more during his second big-league camp.

“Last year was my first, it was all new for me,” said Ramos, who turns 22 on Tuesday. “Now I know what it is because I’ve been here before and I’m learning from those guys in the clubhouse. You can see how they work and try to learn from them.”

Edgar Quero

The No. 4 prospect in the organization had one hit in three at-bats during three Cactus League games. It came in a timely matter, as he drove in two with a ninth-inning single to give the Sox an 8-7 victory against the Seattle Mariners on Feb. 24.

The 20-year-old was among 12 roster cuts announced Friday as he was reassigned to minor-league camp.

Manager Pedro Grifol said there is a lot to like about Quero, acquired in July as part of a trade with the Los Angeles Angels.

“He’s got leadership qualities,” Grifol said Friday. “He’s got a great eye at the plate, both sides of the plate. He threw the ball really well from behind the plate. Moves around well.

“He came into camp in great shape. He shows his dedication and passion for the game.”

Jordan Leasure

Leasure has been one of the standouts of camp, coming into Sunday with four scoreless innings and six strikeouts in four relief appearances.

“I feel like I came in in a good spot. All my pitches are right where I want them to be,” Leasure told the Tribune on Saturday. “Everything is feeling good, body is feeling good. I’m just trying to go out there and compete.”

The 25-year-old Leasure, acquired in July as part of a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, was ranked the No. 15 prospect in the organization by MLB.com.

He, too, has carried over momentum from the Arizona Fall League, in which he had a 1.08 ERA in eight appearances.

“It was pretty cool, building off that and coming here and keep doing what I was doing there,” Leasure said.

As competition continues, it’s the type of performance a team wants in the spring.

“You want guys to step up, take the bull by the horn,” Grifol said Friday. “I’m happy that some guys are saying uh-uh, I know you had this plan, but I need to be in the plans.”