After the top four — Casey Mize, Joey Bart, Alec Bohm, and your newest White Sox, Nick Madrigal — the draft started getting crazy.
Brady Singer and Shane McClanahan dropped significantly, as Kyler Murrary and Matt McLain snuck into the first round.
Twenty-four high-schoolers were taken after Madrigal, which left the Sox in a prime position to take a top college player. And they went with another bat in Steele Walker.
The Sox seem to want to strengthen their position player arsenal even further, with another outfielder added to the stacked outfield groupings in the minors.
The five-foot-eleven, lefty outfielder out of Oklahoma was rated 30th overall by MLB Pipeline. Just going off those tools, he seems like a future left fielder.
He is not as polished a hitter as Madrigal, but scouts have raved about Steele’s ability to make hard contact. His hit tool as rated at 55, to go along with 50 power.
The reason why left field seems best for Steele is because of his arm. It is graded out at a 45, which will not cut it in right. Walker also does not have the speed and range to make it in center.
But the reason why Walker was taken 46th overall is because of what he has proven to add with his bat.
Walker made a name for himself as a hitter at every stop. In the wooden bat Northwoods League, he hit better than .400. He was also tabbed by MLB Pipeline as “the most productive hitter” on Team USA over the summer.
He was a three-year starter at Oklahoma, which is impressive by itself. However, each year he has improved as a hitter.
In his freshman season, he slashed .290/.352/.414 with three homers, 19 walks and 27 strikeouts.
His sophomore season was exponentially better. He slashed .333/.413/.541, with eight bombs, 25 walks, and 39 punchouts. However, his best season was what helped catapult him into first round consideration.
This past season, he slashed .352/.441/.606 with 13 homers, 31 walks and 48 strikeouts. In his three years at Oklahoma, he played 170 games, and there is no mention of missed time for an injury.
Usually, hitters will start to sell out for power, and Walker did start to attempt to add pop in his bat — but his average kept climbing along with the homers. That is a sign of a good hitter. With the added durability and power potential, it looks like the Sox got another professional hitter on day one.
Further reading: Here’s the writeup on the Walker pick from SBN’s OU blog, Crimson and Cream.