As in the recent past, the White Sox spent most of the second day of the draft focusing on college players. Seven of the eight picks had NCAA experience. We also have a definite theme for this draft. The last couple of seasons, the Sox have been looking for contact hitters ("baseball players" as some have called them).
This year, the theme is dingers.
Fast and furious Day 3 draft coverage starts up at 11 a.m. today.
Luis Gonzalez | OF | New Mexico
In the first pick of the day, the Sox selected Luis Gonzalez from New Mexico State. Gonzalez was a two-way player in college, but will be an outfielder for the Sox (6.51 ERA this season in 11 starts). As a batter, Gonzalez his .361/.500/.589 this season with 8 home runs, 58 walks, and 32 strikeouts in 290 plate appearances. His biggest tool is his speed. Over the past two seasons, he's been 32-for-36 in stolen bases (18-for-18 in 2016; 14-for-18 in 2017; corrected). He's expected to play center field in the minors.
Lincoln Henzman | RHP | Louisville
Henzman was Zack Burdi's replacement at Louisville this season. He responded by leading Division I with 16 saves.
He's been a reliever throughout his time in college. Despite that, he has a ready-made White Sox arsenal of a heavy four-seamer (running 90 to 95), changeup and cutter. While he has the makings of someone who could speed through the minors as a reliever, he's also got the pitches to take a slower, rep-heavy time through as a starter.
Tyler Johnson | RHP | South Carolina
Johnson is another college reliever. While Henzman relies on a mix of pitches and sticking to the bottom of the zone, Johnson is all heat. He's regularly hit 99 mph in college although he regularly works around 97 mph. Along with the fastball, he's got a mid-80s slider. While he has a changeup, it's not very effective so that'll probably be his first big task for this season.
Kade McClure | RHP | Louisville
McClure is the second Louisville pitcher for the Sox this draft. Before the season started, Baseball America had McClure picked at the 42nd best college player. While McClure had a decent season, it didn't match up with the 12-0 record from 2016. McClure has a low-90s fastball combined with a slurvy breaking ball and a changeup. He's likely to continue starting with the Sox although at nearly 100 innings this season, he may not get a lot of chances this season.
Also, McClure is a childhood friend of quarterback Mitch Trubisky and was his backup in high school. For you Bears fans that aren't sure what a quarterback is, please Google "Aaron Rodgers.”
Evan Skoug | C | TCU
This could be the biggest steal in the Sox draft. In that Baseball America preseason ranking I just mentioned, Skoug was the 22nd best college player. While the average dropped this season, he made up for it with dingers, 20 this season to be exact. That was even after an early season slump where he was batting near .100 for the first third of the season. Obviously, he worked his way out of it and ended the season hitting .277/.385/.562.
One problem is where Skoug will play. He’s got a “fringy” arm for a catcher. While he has a quick release, the ball doesn’t get there fast enough. While first base is an often mentioned destination for him, at 5’11”, that doesn’t seem possible.
Sam Abbott | 1B | Curtis HS (University Place, WA)
While most of the White Sox high school picks of the past made sense, this one is odd. Abbott did sign a letter of intent to play at Long Beach State University but not for baseball -- water polo.
The White Sox scouted him in the Area Code games last summer and already brought him to Chicago last week for a workout where JI
JIM THOME watched him as well. In an interview today with Abbott's dad, he mentioned the Sox' plans for his son.
The thing that really interested some scouts is what’s going to happen when he concentrates on one thing. He’s an honor student who played three sports. Their plan is to put him with the best hitting instructors, fielding instructors, weight-lifting trainers and basically take him from there.
Craig Dedelow | OF | Indiana
For years, it seemed like it wouldn't be a White Sox draft without picking an Indiana player. This year's pick is outfielder Craig Dedelow.
Dedelow is a senior, so normally I'd be thinking this is an underslot deal except for one thing: dingers. Dedelow hit 19 homers this season while hitting .258/.336/.563 for the season.
JB Olson | RHP | Oklahoma
Again, here's another senior, but also not an obvious underslot guy. Olson was in the bullpen in Oklahoma last season with Alex Hansen so probably got a look then. Olson picked up eight saves this season while striking out 46 and walking 13 in 45.1 innings. The downside is that he works in the low 90s. He also works from a three-quarter arm slot which will keep a lot of teams away, although the Sox have had success with such deliveries.