When you have the No. 3 overall pick, it’s never too soon to take a quick peek into this year’s MLB draft. This year’s draft class is loaded with excellent hitting prospects, but is relatively weak on the pitching side.
Draft Prospects You Should Know is a new series that features prospects who the White Sox could pursue in this year’s draft. As the June draft nears, we’ll return to many of these athletes and provide updates on whether their stocks are rising (or falling).
Age listed as of Day One of the Draft (June 3).
Cary-Grove H.S. (Cary, Ill.)
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Baseball America 51
Priester, a 6´3´´, 190-pound pitcher from Cary, is rated by most scouts as one of the top Illinois prep prospects in the upcoming draft. He’s obviously got a tall, athletic build, with outstanding physical projection remaining. Priester’s delivery features a three-quarter arm slot, with a low effort release and some cross body angle. His four-seam fastball was up to 95 mph according to Baseball America, and he primarily features it against righties. His second pitch is a two-seamer in the 88-90 mph range, with 1,700 rpm spin rates and outstanding run and sink, a pitch that has simply overmatched lefties according to PerfectGame. The third pitch in Priester’s repertoire is a power 11-5 curveball with late bite and tight spin. According to Baseball America, the spin rate on his curveball in last summer’s Area Code Games was 2,400-2,500 rpm, which is outstanding.
Priester is essentially a self-taught pitcher, and knows what he’s doing on the mound. The worry about prep pitchers from the Midwest is that it typically takes them longer to peak than those from warmer weather states, simply because they don’t pitch enough innings. However, this may not be a concern for Priester, because he’s already so advanced.
A strong possibility exists that he could be available in the second round, with an outside chance he’d be available for the White Sox in the third round.
The closest White Sox comp could well be Spencer Adams. Priester is about 20 pounds heavier than Adams, however, so his fastball may continue to increase a bit in velocity as he gets older, unlike Adams’ which has basically flattened out.
Here’s a video of Priester, courtesy of 2080 Baseball:
Previously, on Draft Prospects You Should Know