Third Round: Konnor Pilkington, No. 81 overall, LHP, Mississippi State University
After taking SS/2B Nick Madrigal and corner outfielder Steele Walker yesterday, the Chicago White Sox looked to change up the draft board demographic with their third selection.
The Sox still went the college route, but took left-handed pitcher Konnor Pilkington 81st overall.
White Sox scouting director Nick Hostetler noted that some of his scouts had a “low first round” grade on Pilkington, and added this in a conference call held after round 10’s completion:
On Pilkington: Hostetler noted his "special command and three pitch mix". Also said that the pitchability is key even though his stuff has fluctuated at times. #WhiteSox— James Fox (@JamesFox917) June 5, 2018
The 60th ranked player per MLB Pipeline is on the younger side of college pitchers, as he will not turn 21 until September. He has three average pitches, his changeup being rated the highest at 55. His fastball runs high-80s/low-90s but has apparently topped out at 96 mph (which seems to indicate that relief pitching is in his future).
Like second round pick Steele Walker, Pilkington had success in a college summer league (Cape Cod League) and Team USA. He was also a starter from the get-go at Mississippi State.
Now, unlike Madrigal and Steele, Pilkington peaked in college during his freshman season. In 43 1⁄3 innings, he had an ERA at 2.08, with 15 walks and 42 strikeouts. It is possible the pressure of being a No. 1 starter in the SEC got to him, as he seemed to regress in his sophomore and junior seasons.
In 2017, Pilkington pitched 108 innings with a 3.08 ERA and punched out 111 batters while walking 47. Still successful, but regression nonetheless.
This season, Pilkington unraveled. He has a 4.61 ERA in 91 2⁄3 innings, with 97 strikeouts and 30 walks. Hostetler noted a similarity between Pilkington and White Sox farmhand Alec Hansen, in that both had disappointing junior seasons that took them off of the first-round radar.
MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs referenced Pilkington’s conditioning, which could play into the regression each season as he pitched more and more innings. Nevertheless, because he is a younger college pitcher, it may be beneficial to hold Pilkington from joining a higher level farm team this season.
It seems like he will have to build strength and get used to pitching every fifth day, but his stuff should easily translate to the professional game as a starter or reliever.
Fourth Round: Lency Delgado, No. 108 overall, SS, Doral Academy, Doral, Fla.
Another pick, another deviation from Day One, as the Sox selected Florida high school shortstop Lency Delgado.
He is currently a shortstop, but the six-foot-three, 210-pound high-schooler will have an opportunity to move to third with his size.
Hostetler confirmed this in his conference call:
In reference to 4th rounder Lency Delgado, Hostetler described his "special premium power" and "70-grade arm". Said that he'd go out as a SS but could end up at 3B in the long-term. He believes that the bat can be special.— James Fox (@JamesFox917) June 5, 2018
Perfect Game says that Delgado is a “very advanced defender,” which is why the Sox seem to have reached for the 18-year-old.
Maxpreps has his batting average at .436 and an OBP at .519. However, he is ranked 198th nationally. Other than that, Delgado is a relative unknown but seems to have the body, athleticism, and defensive acumen to be an integral piece to the future championship window.
Delgado was committed to Florida International so should be relatively easy to sign.
Fifth Round: Jonathan Stiever, No. 138 overall, RHP, Indiana University
The Sox go with another college player in Jonathan Stiever from Indiana University. He was rated 88th in MLB Pipeline’s top 200 in the and here is a short MLB Pipeline esque blurb about his stuff.
White Sox take one of my favorites in Indiana's Jonathan Stiever. Solid sized RHP, high-level strike thrower, usually in the 90-93 mph range, has touched higher, hard spike breaking ball he can manipulate, good feel for changeup— Brian Sakowski (@B_Sakowski_PG) June 5, 2018
The 21-year-old righty has been a starter the past two seasons in the Big Ten, with multiple relief appearances in 2016.
In his mainly reliever season, he pitched in 40 innings with a 2.47 ERA with 30 strikeouts and only five walks. Command is his best trait.
His second season was when he fully transitioned to a starter. In 77 1⁄3 innings, he had an ERA at 4.31 with 57 strikeouts and 9 walks. His next season was a definite improvement and what made him a fifth round pick.
This season, in 100 1⁄3 innings, Stiever has a 3.41 ERA, with dramatic increases in strikeouts (97) as well as walks (32).
Stiever seems like an innings-eater type of starting pitcher that will throw strikes whenever he wants to.
Sixth Round: Codi Heuer, No. 168 overall, RHP, Wichita State University
Another round, another pitcher. The Sox select Codi Heuer in the sixth round. He is a right- handed pitcher from Wichita State.
Heuer was a relief pitcher for two years, but a full-time starter this season.
In his freshman season, Heuer had a 9.12 ERA in 24 2⁄3 innings, along with 27 strikeouts and 18 walks. The next season would be much better — but still in relief.
The 2017 season was more or less a statement of his potential. He has a 4.42 ERA, with 35 strikeouts and 16 walks. However, his best season was as a starter.
This season, he has a 4.31 ERA in 79 1⁄3 innings pitched (two complete games). He also punched out 82 batters and walked 37.
Just by his college numbers, it is clear he is wild and because of that, he gets hit hard. The player development team will now have to mold him into what he was not in college, a capable professional arm. Jim Callis seems to believe it will be as a reliever.
Seventh Round: Cabera Weaver, No. 198 overall, OF, South Gwinnett H.S. (Ga.)
The White Sox go back to high school with their seventh round pick, selecting outfielder Cabera Weaver out of South Gwinnett High School.
Hostetler called Weaver a "pure centerfielder that can really run". They identified him last summer and the scouts thought he swung the bat well with wood this summer. Hostetler said he needs a more consistent swing but can't wait to get him on campus in Arizona. #WhiteSox— James Fox (@JamesFox917) June 5, 2018
Weaver is six-foot-one and 190 pounds, and ran the fastest sixty at the 107 Perfect Game National Showcase. Here is footage from that showcase:
And another taste:
Here's Cabrera Weaver getting some cuts at Fowler Park: pic.twitter.com/H9fNogAJsh— Carlos Collazo (@CarlosACollazo) August 12, 2017
He has the speed and fielding tools to be a center fielder; however, his bat is drastically behind his defense. Perfect Game believes that with his swing, all he needs to do is develop more strength to become a much better hitter.
He is committed to the University of Georgia, which does make a signing more difficult than Lency Delgado. This selection may have to be over-slot to retain Weaver.
Eighth Round: Andrew Perez, No. 228 overall, LHP, South Florida University
AND ... back to pitching in the eighth round, where the White Sox selected lefty Andrew Perez out of South Florida.
Perez is six-foot-one and 217 pounds and has been a relief pitcher all three years at school. Brian Sakowski of Perfect Game says Perez has a mid-90s fastball.
Perez, in his freshman season, was not good. He had a 6.75 ERA in 30 2⁄3 innings with 36 strikeouts and 26 walks. But clearly, something clicked for him heading into his sophomore year.
He improved on all fronts in 2017 in his 39 2⁄3 innings. He had a 2.72 ERA, with reduced walks (18) and increased strikeouts (52). He took another step in his junior year.
The 2018 season was Perez’s best, featuring a 2.34 ERA in 42 1⁄3 innings. His walks decreased again, to 12, but his strikeouts did as well (50), en route to picking up 12 saves.
Perez will probably not be a closer for the White Sox, with Zack Burdi, Ian Hamilton, Matt Foster, and Tyler Johnson all doing well (sans a hurt Burdi) and projected to be effective late-inning bullpen options. However, lefty bullpen arms are always needed.
Ninth Round: Gunnar Troutwine, No. 258 overall, C, Wichita State University
The White Sox go back to Wichita State to select Gunnar Troutwine, (probably already a fan favorite because of that name) a senior catcher. Yes, Gunnar Troutwine looks exactly like you would expect. He should rival Jameson Fisher for best facial hair in the organization.
Back to baseball, just by looking at Troutwine’s stats, he seems to be a defensive catcher with some pop and a decent batter’s eye.
In his freshman season, he slashed .298/.404/.405, with 17 walks and 26 strikeouts. He smacked three home runs and had a .994 fielding percentage.
His sophomore season saw an increase in power, but he regressed everywhere else. He hit .278/.371/.439, with seven bombs and 28 walks. He also had an abysmal 60 strikeouts, and his fielding dipped to .989.
His junior year was a lost season. He slashed .224/.333/.263 in his worst showing in college. His fielding percentage did increase, to .995.
This season, Troutwine was at his best. He slashed .302/.413/.505, with seven homers and a career high in walks (34). His strikeouts were at a more than manageable 38. However, it seems he substituted defense for offense, as his fielding percentage fell to .986.
10th Round: Bennett Sousa, No. 288 overall, LHP, University of Virginia
Sousa is a southpaw reliever from the University of Virginia who was drafted last year by the Washington Nationals but opted to stay in school for his senior year. That gamble paid off, as Sousa leaped from the 34th round (1,033rd pick) to the White Sox, this year, in the 10th/288th.
The six-foot-three, 210-pound hurler has a career ERA of 5.50, with little appreciable improvement through his four years as a Cavalier. Sousa’s big season was his junior year (2017), when his ERA was 4.09, with 44 Ks over 33 innings and 24 games. His senior season in 2018 featured a 5.23 ERA, with 61 Ks over 43 innings and 23 games.
This may line up Sousa as a LOOGY, or just a general middle reliever, going forward. He’s already 23 years old, so in an ideal world, Sousa moves his way through the White Sox system swiftly.
Hostetler also confirmed our LOOGY hunch at his post-draft conference on Tuesday:
Nick Hostetler mentioned that they were "glad" to get Codi Heuer, Andrew Perez and Bennett Sousa into the system. Called Sousa a "LOOGY". #WhiteSox— James Fox (@JamesFox917) June 5, 2018
Sousa does not like to throw the ball straight:
White Sox take Virginia LH reliever Bennett Sousa, who has one of the better LH breaking balls in the class, though he throws it an absolute ton. Saw him in April, think he threw like 80% sliders.— Brian Sakowski (@B_Sakowski_PG) June 5, 2018
Here’s a look at the big fella: