Draft Overview:

The White Sox head into the 2017 MLB Draft with the #11 overall pick in the first round. I will be focusing this entire blog on said selection, as their next pick isn’t until the 40’s, and at that point predicting the draft is a worthless exercise, so so much can happen between picks 11-50. Looking at the draft, the strength seems to be college pitching and outfielders, which is good for the White Sox, as they covet college arms and definitely could stand to bring some talent into their system in the form of talented outfields (Luis Robert was a nice start, as he would probably be a top 5 selection in this draft). Their is also a clear “top 5” tier to this draft, and it is extremely unlikely any of these 5 end up on the White Sox. The top is, in no order, Louisville P/1B Brendan McKay, California HS P Hunter Greene, Vanderbilt P Kyle Wright, California HS SS/CF Royce Lewis, and North Carolina HS P Mackenzie Gore. I would say there is <1% chance any of these 5 get picked at #11 by the White Sox, as they only way they slide to 11 is an insane bonus demand (Gore, Lewis and Greene are all HS products) and the Sox probably won’t be the ones matching that demand. So I’m not even going to discuss any of those 5, as they aren’t relevant to our discussion. Also of note, this draft year is based off last year’s standings, this is not the #TankForBeer draft. SETH BEER IS NOT IN THIS DRAFT. 

White Sox History:

With the MLB Draft, I think it’s relevant to look at the team’s trends with regards to their high selections. So with that in mind, here’s the White Sox’s first round pick(s) the last 5 years.

2016: Zach Collins, Zach Burdi

2015: Carson Fulmer

2014: Carlos Rodon

2013: Tim Anderson

2012: Courtney Hawkins

So, for those scoring at home, the breakdown is

  • 3 College Pitchers
  • 2 College Positions Players
  • 1 High School Outfielder

It should also be mentioned the Sox have gone on to change their draft team since those toolsy/raw selections of Hawkins-Anderson. So, generally speaking, you can expect the Sox to side on the safer college prospects if possible, especially college arms. The sections of Fulmer and Burdi (albeit with their 2nd 1st rounder of that draft) also show that they aren’t necessarily searching for “prototypical” pitchers. This information will seem much more pertinent very soon.

Likely Selections:

So lets get into the actual prospects you can expect to see picked between picks 6-16 or so, and discuss the Sox’s likelihood of ending up with them at pick #11.

Pitchers:

J.B Bukauskas, University of North Carolina

J.B is an MLB Draft classic, the dominant college pitcher with a powerful fastball and a violent secondary offering (his slider has drawn rave reviews) who falls down draft boards just a little due to his smaller stature and less than perfect delivery. This prototype aptly describes Carson Fulmer as well, who the Sox drafted 2 years ago, so don’t think this worries the Sox at all. Many teams and scouts have hit him with the ugly “future reliever” label, but the White Sox have Reynaldo Lopez, Tyler Danish and Carson Fulmer starting on their AAA staff, so they will most certainly be running him out as a starter until his performance dictates otherwise. It’s also worth nothing Buaskukas is only 20, younger for a college pitcher, so there is room for projection left.

Chances he is available at pick 11:

Not great. Most mocks have him going in the top 10, with popular landing spots being Oakland at #6 and Arizona at #7. A rough performance vs. Davidson in the College World Series could maybe bump him down a little though.

Chances the White Sox select him at 11:

If he makes it there, I have to think the Sox would give him a long, hard look. Unless they really really love a guy in this range (They claimed Zach Collins was their #1 guy last year) I think J.B would be their choice at 11, as he is a great combination of talent and prototype the Sox like selecting.

Alex Faedo, University of Florida

Faedo is your prototypical top 10 college pitcher selection. He has started at a power program for multiple seasons, is coming off a solid season, has a prototypical build and multiple plus offerings. There is a reason he was in the discussion to go one 1-1 earlier in the year. Faedo went through some struggles earlier in the year though, and has fallen down boards a bit because of it, with Vandy’s Kyle Wright the clear top college pitcher. Still, Faedo’s combination of track record, build, and stuff makes him a fairly obvious top 10 choice.

Chances he is available at pick 11:

Probably about the same as J.B. Maybe teams really fall in love with different guys between 6-10 and decide they can’t pass on them, but Faedo is still a bit of an underdog to make it to pick 11. His Florida team is a favorite to advance to the CWS, so he will probably still have another outing or two before the draft to make a final impression on scouts. If he pitches well in these outings I have to imagine he wouldn’t get past Anaheim at #10, but as it stands now he is at least a possibility for the White Sox.

Chances the White Sox select him at 11:

Just like the aforementioned Bukauskas, if he gets there I think its entirely possible the Sox scoop him up, as he would represent a prototype the organization covets and a solid value at choice 11.

David Peterson, University of Oregon

Peterson has been this year’s classic late riser, as performances such as his 20K outing earlier this year have shot him up draft boards, and forced him into the discussion at #11. None the less, Peterson would absolutely be a surprise at #11, and many would consider this a bit of a reach for the White Sox. If Don Cooper loves what he sees then maybe they jump on Peterson, as they love college arms, but I have to believe it is unlikely.

Chances he is available at pick 11:

I have seen very little indicating he would go top 10. It seems like a lock he will be there at 11.

Chances the White Sox select him at 11:

Also very little chance. Not quite 0 though.

Shane Baz (Texas), Trevor Rogers (New Mexico), D.L Hall (Georgia).

These guys are the top High School arms behind Greene and Gore, and are all expected to be picked between picks 10-20 as long as the bonus demands are met. The White Sox haven’t picked a HS arm in the first round in forever, and I doubt they start now with the number of solid college pitchers out there. I’m mentioning them because their talent warrants it, but don’t expect any of these names at number 11.

 

So overall, there doesn’t seem to be a natural pitching selection for the White Sox at #11. If Faedo or Bukauskas are there, I can definitely see it happening, but all in all I’m going to say there’s about a 20% chance the White Sox select a pitcher at #11, 10% chance for both Faedo and Bukauskas. 

Hitters:

Adam Haseley, OF, University of Virginia

If the Sox “Had their Druthers” (Shoutout Rick Hahn for holding on to Quintana), I think Haseley would be the pick. He fits the Zach Collins mold of a polished college hitter who has shown he can do it at the highest possible level (ACC baseball) and plays a premium, up the middle position. He controls the zone well and has all the tools necessary to be a solid MLB OF. Haseley doubles as the Cavaliers #2 starter, but his MLB future is clearly in the OF, where has emerged as one of the best players in the country despite not even being drafted out of High School.

Chances he is available at pick 11:

For all the reasons listed above, the chances Haseley is here at 11 are low. The polished college hitter has been a favorite for teams in recent drafts, and Haseley’s combination of skill and polish should land him in the 6-10 range.

Chances the White Sox select him at 11:

I won’t say 100% chance, but if he is there I would be surprised if he wasn’t the guy. That being said, I doubt he is there, so the overall chance this pick is Haseley is probably around 5% or so.

Pavin Smith, 1B, University of Virginia

Pavin Smith is probably the 2nd best pure hitter in this draft behind 1-1 candidate Brendan McKay. Smith has proved it for years at Virginia, and there’s very little doubt he is going to be at least an MLB contributor, and probably sooner rather than later. Smith is the type of pick that assures GM’s they will keep their job. That being said, there are serious questions as to rather Smith warrants a top 10 selection or not. His bat is great (He has 12 HR’s on the year and 9 K’s. Let that sink in) but the 12 HR’s point to the fact that it might not be a game-changing piece of lumber. If Smith is merely a nice 6 hitter and not a middle of the order thumper, taking him #6 overall or something is a lot when his defense is clearly a 1B only profile.

Chances he is available at pick 11:

Not great. Smith is probably the highest floor guy in the entire draft, and nobody likes risk when Jobs are on the line. I have to imagine one of the A’s-Diamondbacks-Phillies takes him off the board at 6,7 or 8. Probably no more than a 25% chance he’s available at 11.

Chances the White Sox select him at 11:

I don’t really see it. He is a lot like Zach Collins at the dish, except he doesn’t offer the chance to be catcher. He is probably a bit of a superior hitter, but none the less he is very much like Collins. I think the Sox are looking elsewhere. Also I just don’t think he is there at 11. So I’ll say <5%.

Jordon Adell, OF, Ballard High School (Kentucky)

Tools, Tools, Tools, and more Tools. Adell is as toolsy as they come, clubbing 20+ HR in High School this season, with excellent speed and a rocket of an arm. The Sox head man when it comes to the draft, Nick Hostetler, is on record discussing the Sox affinity for Adell’s skills and his makeup, so there is no doubt their is a connection here. Adell’s loud tools can probably be likened to Luis Robert, who the Sox just invested $52 million in, so the idea they would be scared to invest the #11 pick in a toolsy outfielder with swing and miss concerns just because Courtney Hawkins-Jared Mitchell failed is a bit misguided. The real concern is that Hostetler has seemingly preferred more polished products such as Carson Fulmer, Zach Collins and Zach Burdi.

Chances he is available at pick 11:

Adell has the tools of a surefire top 10 selection, and has been linked to the Brewers at #9 and Angels at #10. That being said, Adell, with his serious swing and miss concerns, is the type of low floor prospect teams can get cold feet about on draft day, so him lasting until pick 11 isn’t that crazy of an idea. I’ll say there is like a 30% chance he makes it to 11.

Chances the White Sox select him at 11:

If he’s there, I think the Sox will absolutely consider him. Passing on Kyle Lewis last year makes me think they are probably shying away from the Toolsy outfielder, but Adell’s talent will surely make them consider him here. He has the talent to be an MLB All-Star for many years. I’ll say there is about a 15% chance he ends up being the pick at 11, as he likely goes before 11, and he isn’t the Sox typical pick. None the less, don’t count him out, and the combination of him and Luis Robert being added to the pipeline would really raise the White Sox ceiling on this rebuild.

Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt University

The “big 3” of prospect reports (MLB.com’s Jim Calis/Jonathan Mayo, ESPN’s Kieth Law and the Baseball America guys) all have the White Sox selecting this man, Vanderbilt OF Jeren Kendall, at #11 overall in their mock drafts. This type of consensus at the 11th pick is pretty rare, so there is no doubt there is fire where this smoke here with Kendall to the White Sox. As for the prospect himself, Kendall is one of the top pure talents in this draft, as all 5 of the tools are there, and he profiles as a very solid CF in the majors. There is no doubt his talent warrants a top 10 pick, and even 1-1 consideration. The problem? Kendall swings and misses, a lot. In one of the nations premier conferences (The SEC), Kendall throw up K rates near 25-30%, which is the K rate of huge power guys in the MLB, not top of the order CF’s. Miguel Sano can run a K rate of 30% when he hits 40 HR’s and walks 15% of the time, but Jeren Kendall needs to get that down a bit. If K rate talk sounds familiar, it is, as it is the big red flag with White Sox super prospect Yoan Moncada. Kendall isn’t exactly the talent Moncada is, but the comparison of tools is fair, as Kendall truly is a terrific talent. That being said, Moncada offers a better eye and much more power, so Kendall is really going to need to lower his K rate if he wants to be a top flight major leaguer.

Chances he is available at pick 11:

Seems like a decent shot at this point. Kendall was a top 5 guy before the year, but with the swing and miss issues only intensifying, it seems like Kendall is going to go somewhere after Adam Haseley between picks 9-15 or so. There is probably at minimum a 50% chance Kendall is there, and more than likely a bit greater.

Chances the White Sox select him at 11:

This is also starting to seem like a decent shot. Rick Hahn has met with him, and Kendall’s profile (toolsy CF) is something the Sox could really use in the farm system. The fact he has succeeded in the SEC (whereas Adell has only seen Kentucky HS pitching) also has to excite the White Sox. Overall, I am going to say there is about a 45% chance Kendall is the guy at #11. For now, he’s the clear favorite.

Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson H.S (North Carolina)

Austin Beck isn’t a guy who has been linked to the Sox much, if at all, this draft season, but his talent and position warrants discussion. Beck has loud tools, much like Kentucky HS’er Jordon Adell, so the Sox should at least be doing their due diligence on the North Carolina OF’er. Beck had to miss the summer circuit last year recovering from a torn ACL, so team’s certainly see a lot of risk in Beck, who doesn’t even much high level Wood Bat experience.

Chances he is available at pick 11:

He has been linked EVERYWHERE from like top 3 all the way to the Yankees at 16. He is probably one of the biggest question marks in the draft. I’m gonna just say there’s a 50-50 chance he’s around at pick 11.

Chances the White Sox select him at 11:

I have heard and seen nothing on this, but a toolsy OF makes sense for the White Sox, so I will just say around a 5% chance he’s the man at 11.

Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach H.S (California)

Fear not, the Sox will be getting the 18 year old Pratto, not the 12 year old version shown here. Still, if you know me, you know I couldn’t resist to include a LLWS hero in here. Pratto has gone on to stardom at Huntington Beach HS in California, doubling as a first round prospect at 1B and on the mound. Pratto is fairly unlikely for the White Sox here, but I just had to include him to satisfy my LLWS cravings. I mentioned his teammate, Hagen Danner, way back in the Top 10 moments, players, teams and games of the past 10 years of the LLWS

Chances he is available at pick 11:

Very likely. Haven’t seen him projected anywhere before the Sox yet, so he should be there

Chances the White Sox select him at 11:

They aren’t great, as he isn’t really seen as a top 10 prospect due to the 1B only defensive profile and the lack of power in his bat, but I wouldn’t entirely rule him out. Despite the fact he is only in HS, his bat is extremely polished, and his makeup is ++, so If the Sox were going to go the HS route, Pratto absolutely seems like the type of guy they could make a play for.

 

So overall, I think its about 50-50 between Kendall and the Field at #11. In terms of my personal preference, I think I would want the Sox to rank the guys on the board something like this

  1. Alex Faedo
  2. J.B Bukauskas
  3. Adam Haseley
  4. Jeren Kendall
  5. Jordon Adell
  6. Nick Pratto
  7. Pavin Smith
  8. Austin Beck
  9. David Peterson
  10. HS Arms

The Sox ultimately know what to do with college arms, and despite the glut of power arms in their system right now, you can never have to0 many good arms (paging; New York Mets). So I would be more than happy with the Sox getting a premier talent and working their magic on him, and then just trading some of their pitching depth for necessary bats. At the end of the day, the Sox have had very few successes in home grown position players recently, so I’ll air on the side of the pitcher. After that however I would reach for the toolsy OF’s Haseley, Kendall or Adell first, as OF is such a need for the White Sox system, and then go for my personal favorite in Nick Pratto.

Can’t wait to see what Nick Hostetler and Rick Hahn decide to do.