College graduates entering the job market have been hammered by dismal employment rates across the board.
But if you at least went to some college, you stood a good chance of getting a job offer from the White Sox on Wednesday -- at least if you pursued a major in baseball. If you stand at least 6'2" and pitch, all the better.
Doug Laumann and Co. selected 29 players on the second day of the MLB Draft. They didn't pick their first position player until the sixth round (shortstop Marcus Semien, one of three Cal player taken) and they didn't take their first high school player until the 29th round (outfielder Dustin Hayes).
In between, the White Sox selected 16 pitchers and four catchers, leaving only nine picks to spread around the rest of the diamond.
One of the other picks from Cal was Erik Johnson, whom the Sox selected with their first pick of the day. Like first-round pick Keenyn Walker, Johnson found his way onto John Sickels' "Who Is That Guy?" list:
Johnson is ranked 97th on the Baseball America prospect list and 74th on the Perfect Game list, which would put him on the bottom fringes of the supplemental round or in the second. However, he has the power arm (90-95 MPH fastball, good slider) to go somewhere in the middle of the supplemental round for a team that believes they can refine his mechanics and polish his changeup.
Which jives with the Baseball America report:
Johnson has a big, 6-foot-2, 240-pound frame and sometimes has trouble maintaining his mechanics. His delivery can get a little rigid and he loses his arm slot at times, though he's been better about getting it back than he was last year. Johnson is quick to the plate and sits in the 90-94 mph range with his fastball and tops out at 95. His best secondary offering is a hard slider that he can throw for strikes or use as a wipeout pitch and he also mixes in a slow, show-me curveball and a changeup that is inconsistent, but shows flashes of being a quality pitch. Johnson sometimes tries to be too fine with his fastball instead of trusting that he can overpower hitters with it. While he needs to sharpen his fastball command, Johnson has shown a good enough feel for pitching to get by and go deep into games without it.
The pick is a nice complement to the second pick of last year's draft, Jacob Petricka. Petricka had a bigger fastball, but was struggling to harness a secondary pitch, whereas Johnson seems to have 2 1/2 pitches in the arsenal. That makes him a better bet to stick in the rotation, but his slider is indeed a "wipeout" pitch, he could have a second life in the bullpen if his changeup never comes around. That's a departure from years past.
It might be a while until we see him, as Johnson told CSNChicago.com, "I don't think I'll sign right away."
While on the subject of big fastballs and Sickels' list, introducing third-round pick Jeff Soptic. He, too, got a write-up by Sickels (did the Sox just print out his list and go from there?), and he's this year's biggest arm:
This 6-6 right-hander scrapes 100 MPH with his fastball and has a promising slider. Although somewhat unrefined as a pitcher, his upside is huge and his arm strength is as good as anyone else's in the draft. He could easily go in the supplemental round to a team looking for a high-octane arm to harness.
He has the University of Missouri as a backup plan, so either way, I win.
As for the rest of the picks, FutureSox has a sentence or two about every pick. With the Sox selecting big pitcher after big pitcher, they kind of blend together, but here are some things that stand out to me:
Seventh round, Kevan Smith (Pitt): At 6'4" and 240 lbs, he's a big backstop with a power bat (he hit .397/.465/.637 this year), and BA says that he receives well. Miguel Gonzalez faces more low-minor competition after Michael Blanke passed him by.
Eighth round, Ian Gardeck (Angelina JC, Texas): He has a big arm, but he's relatively new to pitching and doesn't know exactly what to do with it. His slider comes and goes, and that'll be the key to his success, as BA says: "With two pitches that grade at 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale at times but command that rates a 35, Gardeck's pro future also is in the bullpen. He'll attend Alabama if he doesn't turn pro." He went to Crystal Lake High School.
14th round, Mark Ginther (Oklahoma State): Stop me if you've heard this one before: an athletic Oklahoma State third baseman who also played quarterback in high school.
17th round, Collin Kuhn (Arkansas): No apparent relation to Tyler.
20th round, Martin Medina (Cal State Bakersfield): One scout said his throwing motion was funky, and his bat was cold.
22nd round, Blake Drake (Indiana State): A teammate of Petricka's at Indiana State, and a helluva name.
One notable player who went undrafted during the second day: Ozney Guillen. On one hand, this vindicates Kenny Williams, who was ripped by various members of the Guillen clan for waiting until the 22nd round to take him last year.
It might also explain this tweet from Ozzie Guillen:
Iam in very very bad mood stay away from me the most you can