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MLB Draft 2015: First mock drafts tie White Sox to college pitchers

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Baseball America and FanGraphs choose different arms with the eighth pick

Kyle Funkhouser
Kyle Funkhouser
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Marking one month until the 2015 MLB draft, two major outlets -- Baseball America and FanGraphs -- released their first real mock drafts (if such a thing exists) on Friday.

Combining these reports with others pieced together elsewhere, and a theme emerges: The White Sox seem to be zeroing in on college pitchers with the eighth overall pick.

Baseball America: Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville

John Manuel kicks it off with a favorite name:

Louisville ace righty Kyle Funkhouser was losing a bit of steam, though he’s No. 4 on BA’s Top 100. The physical 6-foot-3, 225-pounder has the ability to pitch off the fastball that endears him to teams like the White Sox. The Oak Forest, Ill., native would welcome being a hometown pick.

FanGraphs: Tyler Jay, LHP, Illinois

And perhaps if he were still on the board, perhaps that's who Kiley McDaniel would've slotted for the White Sox in his FanGraphs mock draft. However, he has the Rangers selecting Funkhouser, so instead the White Sox are tied to a different Chicagoland native -- this one a lefty from Lemont.

Chicago is on Jay and he likely gets here as long as Colorado doesn’t take him, but it wouldn’t shock me if Minnesota or Boston have interest in Jay as well. The White Sox have also been tied to [Carson] Fulmer and Funkhouser and are believed to be looking at mostly college pitchers for this pick, which you can’t question given their track record for developing arms.

Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com: Funkhouser

One half of MLB.com's two-headed monster had the Sox selecting Funkhouser last week, albeit with that caveat:

He could go higher than this, for sure. But the White Sox have liked big, strong, durable college arms in the past. And unlike many other college pitchers this year, Funkhouser has been completely healthy and a steady performer.

Jim Callis, MLB.com: Walker Buehler, RHP, Vanderbilt

Like McDaniel, friend of the podcast Callis has the Rangers snapping up Funkhouser at No. 4. Unlike McDaniel, Callis has the Sox sticking with the right-handed collegiate pitcher theme:

Chicago scored with a college pitcher (Carlos Rodon at No. 3) in the 2014 Draft and could do look to do so again this June. Funkhouser would be an obvious consideration, but if he's gone, Buehler has a better chance to be a big league starter than fellow Vanderbilt righty Carson Fulmer.

That leaves Keith Law and ESPN.com as the only major outlet without a mock draft. However, he did lay out one potential top-five scenario on Buster Olney's podcast Friday:

  1. Garrett Whitley, Diamondbacks
  2. Dansby Swanson, Astros
  3. Dillon Tate, Rockies
  4. Brendan Rogers, Rangers
  5. Daz Cameron, Astros

That leaves Funkhouser available, but in his chat on Wednesday, he had the Sox on Jay:

Justin (Chicago)
Rumor is the White Sox are targeting college pitchers with their first pick. What are your thoughts on organizations who target only a specific group of players? Specifically to the White Sox, they really have not developed a hitter forever. Do some orgs just feel as though they have a better strength and developing position players or pitchers, so they target them more?

Klaw  (1:23 PM)
I think the White Sox have such a good track record developing pitchers I wouldn't question them taking another one - it's a clear core competence at this point. I've heard them specifically on Tyler Jay at 8.