We're a week closer to the 2015 MLB draft, and the gap between mock drafts has closed.
Last week's co-headliner, Louisville righty Kyle Funkhouser, saw his stock take a tumble due to performance, which included getting worked over by a disciplined Florida State lineup. He's walked 40 over 93⅓ innings, which is the biggest point of concern.
Even with Funkhouser available on all of the updated boards, the top prognosticators see the Sox letting him pass, and most of them have the Sox picking Tyler Jay, the Illinois lefty who is closing for the Illini, even if he should be starting.
Last week: Kyle Funkhouser
John Manuel has the Sox picking Jay as the third collegiate pitcher selected overall (Vanderbil's Carson Fulmer, UC Santa Barbara's Dillon Tate).
The White Sox have been bearing down on college arms as well, an area they’ve had success with over the years. They’ve taken hard looks at Fulmer and Funkhouser, who we had in this spot last week. But the hometown allure of Jay, who could give the Sox another power lefty to go with Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon, could be too much to pass on.
Funkhouser, who had been a top-five prospect in other mock drafts, slides down to 15th.
Last week: Funkhouser (Jonathan Mayo), Walker Buehler, RHP, Vanderbilt (Jim Callis)
Mayo lays out MLB.com's first official mock draft, although the White Sox were covered last week in their top-10 schematics. He has the Sox selecting Jay as well:
His college program has been unstoppable (24 straight wins) and Jay has been nearly unhittable. He's pitched almost entirely in relief, but often multiple innings. A team taking Jay this high -- and his name has been all over the top 10 -- likely thinks he can start.
The difference is that he sees three other pitchers picked before Jay -- Missouri State righty Jon Harris going to Minnesota with the sixth pick after Tate at No. 1, and Fulmer at No. 5.
Last week: n/a
Chris Crawford is the most bullish on Funkhouser, at least for all mock drafts updated this past week. He has the Twins picking the Louisville righty, while Fulmer is still on the board for the Sox.
This is likely as far as Funkhouser falls, and other name’s I’ve heard associated with this pick include Tyler Jay and Fulmer’s teammate Walker Buehler. The White Sox could then either put the right-hander in the bullpen and fast-track the arm, or hope that the high-effort delivery holds up enough to become a top-of-the-rotation starter.
*Keith Law hasn't yet posted his mock draft, but he did handle a couple White Sox-related questions in his latest chat. He also likes the Sox-Jay connection, and he also likes taking jabs at the decision by Illinois' manager to use Jay in the bullpen rather than the rotation.
Tyler Jay the White Sox guy if he's still there when they pick? Does he have #1 type potential or more of a 2 or 3? Thanks Keith!
Klaw (1:12 PM)
I've heard he's on their short list, whatever that means. I think he could be a 2. Had he pitched in the Illini rotation all year, he might have gone in the top 5 for slot, which would be $1 million-plus over what he's going to get.
Ethan Spalding (Madison, Wi)
The White Sox have been (shockingly, I know) linked to college arms in the draft, particularly Jay, Funkhouser, and Fulmer. If the White Sox are contending this year, they most certainly will need bullpen help. Would any of those guys have enough polish to be fast-tracked to the majors and work in the bullpen this year?
Klaw (1:42 PM)
Fulmer most of all. Jay has at least done it, but I would trust Fulmer's power stuff to play right away over Jay's command/polish (although he has stuff too). Funkhouser is starter only for me.
*Kiley McDaniel posted some updates on his previous mock draft, but they don't involve the White Sox. So that's another one in the Jay camp.