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Brewers sign Lohse, White Sox move up in draft

White Sox now hold 17th overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft

Thanks, Kyle, for making an excellent team choice.
Thanks, Kyle, for making an excellent team choice.
Christian Petersen

I'm sure your first thought after Kyle Lohse signed with the Brewers was "How does this #makeanimpact on the White Sox?" Anyone who even casually followed baseball this offseason probably heard the old tome that Lohse wasn't able to find a team because, after he declined the Cardinals' qualifying offer of a 1 year, $13.3 million deal, most teams in baseball would have to give up their 2013 first round pick to sign him. And his agent, Scott Boras, always drives a hard bargain and is willing to wait well until Spring Training to get his player paid.

Once again, Boras was correct to wait out the market, as the Brewers took the plunge at 3 years, $33 million (partially deferred) to bolster their rotation. They also gave up their 17th overall pick in the 2013 Rule 4 Draft.

Serendipitously, the White Sox were right behind them at 18th overall, so they move up one spot in the amateur draft. But one spot surely doesn't make much difference, right?

Probably right. But it is interesting to see the rather stark difference in success of 17th picks versus 18th picks.

Only 54% of 18th overall picks have made the major leagues. And those players averaged just 4.2 bWAR. When you see that low of an average, it's pretty much certain that there haven't been many stars chosen at that pick.

And that's the case here. The best player is Willie Wilson (1974), who put up 43.5 bWAR in his 17 year career. The next best player, R.A. Dickey, still has some time to add to his total of 12.9 bWAR. But, after being picked by the Rangers in 1996, it took him almost 15 years and 5 teams before he amounted to anything.

The White Sox history at 18th also is mixed. They took Josh Fields (2004), the infamous Royce Ring (2002) and Carlos May (1966) with that pick in the past. May was a journeyman type performer over 9 seasons with the White Sox but put up almost half of his bWAR total for the 1972 club (4.0 of 8.1 bWAR).

The 17th pick, on the other hand, has a much better history. 66% of the picks made the majors and those players averaged 7.1 bWAR.

Roy Halladay (1995) is the best player by a wide margin at 62.3 bWAR. Coming in second is his Phillies teammate Cole Hamels (2002) at 28.2 bWAR. And there are a slew of solid performers like David Murphy (2003), Jeremy Burnitz (1990), Cal Eldred (1989), Charles Nagy (1988), Brian McRae (1985) and Gary Matthews Sr. (1968).

Unfortunately, the White Sox history at this pick is not good. They've picked at #18 twice - Ken Plesha in 1965 and Scott Christman in 1993 - and neither player made the major leagues.