The Rule 4 Draft begins tonight (live on MLBN at 6pm) and continues through Wednesday. The White Sox actually have two first day picks this year, #13 and #48 (thanks, Mark Buehrle!). Based on past drafts, the White Sox likely will be picking around 7:30pm and 9pm. Even if you don't care who the White Sox draft, Ron Karkovice is the club's representative this year and seeing him on TV may be worth it.
There are whole websites dedicated to the amateur draft and tons of "experts" posting mock drafts. I don't bother learning about players until the White Sox actually draft them so I'm not one of these experts. If you want to read the tea leaves regarding what White Sox scouting director Doug Laumann says about the draft, here's the transcript of his news conference on Saturday. He says the draft is the thinnest in a decade and that's a widely held opinion. From skimming various sources, it seems the expectation is that the White Sox will select a college pitcher with their top pick, both because that's sort of their M.O. and because where the club is picking there is expected to be a bunch of college pitchers who would be the best available players.
If you want to do some reading up, here are some sources to check out: John Sickels' mock draft and his Top 100. Kevin Goldstein's mock draft. Baseball America's Top 500. MLB's own page for the draft is surprisingly good, with scouting reports and videos on their Top 100.
Most of the multiple changes to the draft agreed to in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will go into effect this year. Each team has a set spending pool for their picks in the first 10 rounds, based on the team's total number of picks and where those picks are in the draft, with penalties for those who exceed it. Teams can allocate the money in the pool however they wish. Also note that bonuses given to players drafted after the 10th round that exceed $100,000 will also count towards the cap. The White Sox cap for their 11 picks in the first 10 rounds is $5,915,100.
Another change is that the signing deadline has been moved up more than a month to July 13 at 4pm central. Teams also are not permitted to sign draftees to major league contracts. Finally, the draft is now 40 rounds instead of 50 rounds. If you want to read more about the changes to the draft, including the new type of draft pick to be added in 2013 that can be traded to another team, check out my summary of the CBA changes here.
The minor leagues don't stop for the draft and there is some news to share. RHP Erik Johnson, the 2011 second round pick, made his debut for Kannapolis on Saturday: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 1 HBP. 2011 third round pick Jeff Soptic also debuted for the Intimidators: 2 G, 3 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP.