Today is draft day, and it sure seems like the White Sox pool is pretty much limited to the players we've covered:
White Sox Draft Possibility Profiles
Still, it's the nature of the draft that another guy off the list will make one wonder why he wasn't taken earlier, so here's a rundown of the other notable names expected to go in the first. Click on their name for the draft video.
RHP Jeff Hoffman: The hard-throwing righty out of Albany County and East Carolina University was pegged to be in the mix with Aiken, Rodon and Kolek, but Tommy John surgery in late April has knocked him out of action until 2015. It won't deflate his stock all that much, though. There had been some speculation that the Cubs could take him at No. 4, but it's more likely that he'll go in the middle of the first round or later.
RHP Tyler Beede: The top four high-school pitchers drafted in 2011 -- Dylan Bundy, Archie Bradley, Jose Fernandez, Tyler Beede. The Blue Jays selected Beede 21st overall in that draft, but they failed to come to terms, and so Beede honored his commitment to Vanderbilt. He was considered a possible top-five pick because he sits 92-94 mph and tops out at 97, with a plus changeup and a hard curveball that could join it. He's also seen his command come and go, and he's something of a card (with a rappin' alter ego). Some have him going in the first six picks, but the extracurriculars had him off Keith Law's first-round board for a while, citing makeup issues to go along with the fluctuating command.
LHP Kyle Freeland: Lefty out of Evansville University in Indiana is a tall lefty (6'4", 190 lbs.) who has gained velocity and can throw strikes with an 89-93 mph fastball that can hit 96, a hard slider that is tough on lefties, and a curve. Baseball America says his mechanics make some scouts uncomfortable because "he has a bit of a head jerk." He seems to repeat it well though, as his strikeout and walk totals (128 and 12) would indicate.
LHP Sean Newcomb: A big-boy lefty out of Hartford University in Connecticut (6'5", 240 lbs.), he's something of a late arrival due to an unimpressive high school career, and a bout of mono that spoiled a Cape Cod League appearance. BA says he throws an easy 91-93 mph with a max of 97 mph, and his delivery offers the potential of a plus curveball and changeup. Those pitches aren't there yet, and he hasn't faced the strongest competition in the Northeast, so he's more of a project than the other college pitchers.
RHP Touki Toussaint: The 6-foot-2-inch, 185-pound righty out of Coral Springs Christian (Fla.) High School has a long arms and a short track record, even for a high schooler. He spent the first six years of his life in Haiti, and his first sport was soccer. BA says he could run his fastball up to 97 mph as an underclassman, but sits 93-96 mph, and his curveball is a total hammer with tons of rotation. His changeup is a project, and he's behind the rest of the group in control, but combine the two pitches he has with his athleticism and age, and he offers plenty of projection.
C Max Pentecost: Assuming Alex Jackson moves from catcher to the outfield, Pentecost is the draft's top catching prospect who is likely to stay behind the plate. Coming out of Kenesaw State University in Georgia, he's OK at everything, but he doesn't have any standout tools -- unless you count his speed, which is very good for a catcher. Position scarcity gives his stock a bit of variance, because he's anywhere from comfortably to top 10, to barely top 20. He offers the potential to hit for average, and that's where the payoff is for the rest of his game.
CF Bradley Zimmer: A product of the University of San Francisco, he's the Pentecost of outfielders, with a wide range of desirable attributes (especially as a lefty hitter) -- decent speed, good pitch recognition, a nice line-drive swing, good instincts, and a strong arm. The question is whether any of those can play up. He might not be a true center fielder, and while his arm would play in right field, he'll need to add some loft to help his power numbers.
OF Michael Conforto: Although he's a lefty, the Oregon State outfielder otherwise offers some contrasts to Zimmer. Loft isn't a problem, as he has more of a patience-and-power game that limits his average, and his defense is limited to a corner outfield spot at the moment. BA calls him an adequate left fielder, although MLB.com said he's recently started taking reps at third.
SS Trea Turner: A teammate of Rodon's at N.C. State, Turner is the draft class' best collegiate shortstop. Speed his his game -- anywhere from 70 to 80 on the scouting scale -- which gives him enough range for the position after starting his collegiate career. It also helps him get the little hits; he has the ability to get big hits, but the scouting outlets agree that he'd be better off prioritizing OBP over SLG, as it keeps his swing shorter, and his his speed can create some extra bases for him.
C/1B/OF Kyle Schwarber: The White Sox like their players out of Indiana University, and here's another one. He's all bat at the moment -- a lefty power hitter with good strike zone control and the ability to hit the ball hard to all fields. He's listed at three different positions, which means he doesn't have one, although it's not for a lack of trying. The scouting reports suggest his catching is Phegleyish or worse ("he'll never be more than a fringe-average defender," says BA), and his thick build (6'0", 230 lbs.) make it hard to envision a standout defender anywhere else.
Podcast: Draft blowout
While you're waiting for the draft, here's a way to keep your ears busy. The latest episode of the South Side Sox podcast offers plenty of draft talk, including input from White Sox director of amateur scouting Doug Laumann and MLB.com senior writer Jim Callis. You can listen and download here:
If you haven't yet subscribed to the podcast, there are a few ways to go about it:
iTunes: Here's a link to the page. (Already an iTunes subscriber? It sure would be great if you could leave a review, as it helps surface the podcast on rankings and searches.)
RSS: Plug the RSS feed into your reader of choice.