The White Sox first two selections of the MLB Draft on Monday gave us a pretty clear signal that the White Sox philosophy in this year’s draft was to load up on bats with impact power potential. In Jake Burger and Gavin Sheets, the White Sox snagged two players who finished in the Top 10 in the NCAA in home runs in 2017 with 22 and 20, respectively.
It was observed last year that the White Sox may have simply sorted the college baseball leaderboard by OBP in taking the likes of Zack Collins, Jameson Fisher, and Alex Call in the first few rounds. This year, you could say the same thing about the home run leaderboard as they doubled down on the efforts of their first two rounds in grabbing TCU catcher Evan Skoug (20 homers) and Indiana outfielder Craig Dedelow (19 homers) in the seventh and ninth rounds, respectively, on Tuesday.
This is a simplistic way of looking at things, of course. But whether it was by design or not, the White Sox came away from the first two days of the draft with four players who seem to have legitimate power potential.
- The White Sox third round pick, Luis Gonzalez, is projected to be a plus defender in center field who put up solid numbers at the plate during his time at New Mexico. Scouting director Nick Hostetler called him a “five-tool type center fielder” and he was only thrown out once in 36 stolen base attempts during his three years of college. MLB.com’s scouting report compares him to Ender Inciarte.
- The White Sox went with college relievers in the fourth and fifth rounds with Louisville right-hander Lincoln Henzman and South Carolina righty Tyler Johnson. While both Henzman and Johnson pitched primarily in relief last season, the White Sox drafted both as starters and the plan, according to Hostetler, is to give both the opportunity to start. The White Sox infatuation with Louisville pitchers has been made apparent after they followed up the selection of closer Zack Burdi a year ago with his replacement, Henzman, and then another Louisville pitcher in the sixth round in right-hander Kade McClure. I’m not going to pretend to know much about McClure but he is big (6-foot-7) and is also apparently best friends with new Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The fourth pitcher in their draft class was J.B. Olson, a college junior out of Oklahoma who posted a 1.99 ERA this season.
- The most unique selection of the first 10 rounds, however, was eighth rounder Samuel Abbott, a high school first baseman from Tacoma, Wash., who is committed to play water polo at Long Beach State and apparently had no idea he was going to be drafted. If the White Sox can pry him away from college and his love or water polo, Hostetler said he’d be a long term project. An outside-the-box pick, for sure, but one that’s low risk enough that the White Sox will look like geniuses if he develops like they hope.
Lead Photo Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports