As the National Football League tears down Draft Town in Chicago, draft enthusiasts only have a little wait before the best college and high schoolers are selected in the Major League Baseball draft. Many writers and pundits believe that this year's class there has few immediate impact players. For the Chicago White Sox who have the tenth selection and pick 26 in the first round, this may not be ideal news.
Of course, no one is ever certain on how players will progress and perform when on the field, but this draft's strength is the high school talent. Fantastic arms, potential power hitting outfielders and the best middle infield prospects will come from this level.
On the college side, the trio of outfielders Kyle Lewis (Mercer) and Corey Ray (Louisville), and third basemen Nick Senzel (Tennessee) highlight the positional players available, with Florida's A.J. Puk and Mississippi State's Dakota Hudson the top college pitchers.
South Side Sox will be streaming a live show on Thursday, June 9th to cover the first round of the draft. If you haven't read Lil Jimmy's work in the FanPosts, I highly recommend you do so as he has covered many players that fall outside of the top ten who should be on your fan radar. Even more exciting, Jimmy will be co-hosting the draft show on June 9th breaking down each pick as it happens.
To help paint a picture of who could be available at the tenth selection for the White Sox, Jimmy and I conducted our first mock draft. Using the mindset of who we think each team will select, not necessarily who we think is the best talent available. A friend of the podcast, Jim Callis, just released his Top 100 MLB Draft Prospects list last week that you can use as a guide.
Pick 1: Philadelphia Phillies - Jason Groome, LHP, Barnegat HS (NJ)
Jimmy: Well, everyone has him going number one. Everyone. You might say that a high school pitcher is an iffy choice, but as history tells us, the Phillies have taken seven high school pitchers in the first round since 2000. That includes our old friend, Gavin Floyd. He is from the area and is said to be a Phillies fan. If there is a clear #1, Groome is it.
Pick 2: Cincinnati Reds - Riley Pint, RHP, St. Thomas Aquinas (KS)
Josh: After trading Aroldis Chapman, the Reds draft themselves another fireballer who can hit 100+ m.p.h on the gun. Legend has it, that Riley Pint in a bullpen session this season hit 102 m.p.h. on the radar gun. According to MLB Pipeline, his fastball grades out at 70 and his curveball, changeup at 60. He has a tremendous ceiling, but health will be a concern as always with high schoolers who hit triple digits with their fastball.
Pick 3: Atlanta Braves, A.J. Puk, LHP, University of Florida
Jimmy: A.J. is the top College pitcher in the draft. A big strong left-hander. He is a safe bet given health to have a long, productive career. An easy choice right here.
2016 Statistics: 2-2, 2.87 ERA, 47 IP, 33 H, 65 K, 19 BB
Pick 4: Colorado Rockies, Delvin Perez, SS, International Baseball Academy (Puerto Rico)
Josh: If Riley Pint falls to #4, the Rockies would be ecstatic. Don't think that will happen and I think the smart choice is to take the top middle infield prospect in the draft. Defensively, Perez is already showing above average skills with his range, glove, and arm at the age of 17. He has a way to go with the bat, but he would have time on his side to develop in the minors as he is four to five years away from contributing in the majors.
Pick 5: Milwaukee Brewers, Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade College Prep. (Cali.)
Jimmy: Baseball has been waiting for three years to draft Blake. The fact that he has been around that long puts him at risk of prospect fatigue. His ability has never wavered. Also, he looks like a Brewer, If that can be said.
Pick 6: Oakland Athletics, Corey Ray, OF, University of Louisville
Josh: I think Corey Ray has the potential to be a five-tool player. Offensively, he can do it all. I'm talking a future .280-.300 hitter who can swipe 30 plus bases a year and has enough pop in his bat to hit 15-20 home runs. The only issue is his defense. Ray has the arm and range to play center field but mostly has been playing in the corners during his time in Louisville. If I were the A's, I would peg Ray in my 2019 starting lineup. Could see Atlanta taking him at pick three.
College statistics: .321/.392/.615, 13 HR, 49 RBI, 35 SB, 0 CS.
Pick 7: Miami Marlins, Mickey Moniak, OF, La Costa Canyon (Cali.)
Jimmy: First, alliteration. Everyone likes the baseball savvy of this kid. Plus speed, great routes. Certain to stick in center and a constant threat in all phases of the game. Very polished for a high school player.
Pick 8: San Diego Padres, Kyle Lewis, OF, Mercer University
Josh: If any team is looking for a power bat, Kyle Lewis is your man. After hitting seven home run's in the Cape Cod League, Lewis has 15 during the college season. Significantly improved his contact (.426 BA) and walk rate (2015 K/BB: 2.16; 2016 K/BB: 0.71), no player has helped their draft stock as much as Lewis. His future is in right field and could reach the majors by 2019. Petco Park is not power friendly, but Lewis has the potential to be hit 25-30 home runs.
2016 Statistics: .426/.555/.790, 15 HR, 58 RBI, 48 BB, 34 K
Pick 9: Detroit Tigers, Nick Senzel, 3B, University of Tennessee
Jimmy: Nick has steadily moved up boards, starting in the Cape Cod League last year where he had a monster season (.364/.418/.558). He is a solid college bat, most likely the best in this draft.
2016 College Statistics: .342/.448/.590, 7 HR, 50 RBI, 31 BB, 14 K
Pick 10: Chicago White Sox
Jimmy's pick: Josh Lowe, 3B-P, Pope HS (GA)
Jimmy: I would like to say college pitcher, but nobody separates themselves from the pack at pick 10. Lowe has been ranked between #11-#17 in most places. He is a two-way player, who excels at all phases of the game. Great size and a commanding left-handed swing. Third base is his best fit, but corner outfield or first base he could easily handle.
Josh's Pick: Dakota Hudson, RHP, Mississippi State
Josh: I can hear White Sox fans groan about selecting another college pitcher with the first pick. While some of the top prospects in the system are pitchers, White Sox will need two new starters in 2017. Dakota Hudson has a fastball that hits 93-95 m.p.h. and a cutter that is 89-91 m.p.h, which many consider his best pitch. His third offering can be either a curveball or change up, as both grades as average. Ian Anderson, the third best high school starting pitcher, could be a possibility as well.
Our second mock draft will be released on Memorial Day, May 30th that will include our full first round selections. The South Side Sox MLB Draft Show will stream both on mixlr.com/southsidesox and on southsidesox.com.