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The 2019 White Sox mock draft 2.0

A 20-round peek — yeah, 20 rounds, bub — into who may be available for the South Siders in this year’s MLB draft

Course alteration: With the White Sox intimating they will be valuing athletic ability over college polish, C.J. Abrams is looking more and more like the No. 3 pick.

When preparing this mock draft, the key was to look at the most recent drafts that White Sox amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler has orchestrated. For pitchers, his focus has been on power arms (no preference between starters and relievers); with hitters, the focus has been on plate discipline. The obvious emphasis has also been on acquiring more polished college players, as only three prep players have been drafted before the eighth round in the past three years combined (Luis Curbelo, Lency Delgado and Caberea Weaver).

I tried to keep the above trends in mind when preparing this mock draft. The picks here wouldn’t necessarily be my choices (I prefer more higher-upside prep talent), but these are the types of players that Hostetler has strongly considered in the past.

When making my selections, I’ve used prospect ranking sites such as MLB Pipeline, Baseball America and FanGraphs (rankings are as of May 23). I’ll cite their rankings, as well as the player’s stats, to help justify my choices. One caveat is that college players, especially after the first seven or eight rounds, typically are selected earlier than expected as prep players become more difficult sign due to their college commitments.

C.J. Abrams

Blessed Trinity H.S. (Roswell, Ga.)
Round 1
Pick 3

On my previous mock, I had California first baseman Andrew Vaughn as my first round selection. Since that time, the Sox brass has been quoted that they’re looking into drafting more athletic players this year. There are few players available more athletic than prep shortstop C.J. Abrams. Perfect Game clocked him in the 60-yard dash at a mere 6.29 seconds, and runs sub-4.0’s home to first with little obvious effort. He has game-changing speed, using his quickness to beat out bunts and grounders and ultimately having the instincts to develop into a premium basestealer.

The Alabama commit isn’t a slouch with the bat, either. His swing is smooth and fluid, he has excellent barrel control with loose hands and consistently hits line drives to all fields with gap power which could lead to a multitude of triples at the professional level. While he won’t be a slugger, he has the bat speed and deceptive strength to hit 10-15 homers on an annual basis. These are his prep stats for 2019 spanning 40 games:

.410/.459/.679, 148 PA, 134 AB, 45 R, 55 H, 17 2B, 5 3B, 3 HR, 27 RBIs, 12 BB, 6 K, 33-of-34 SB

The biggest concern for Abrams (6´1´´, 178 pounds) is his defense. He’s made 12 errors, which give him an extremely low fielding percentage of .919. Most of these errors can be corrected, however, as he’s not setting himself properly when making his throws. In case Abrams can’t correct his footwork, he would still make an outstanding defensive center fielder.

Of course, if either Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman or prep shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. fall to the White Sox, that player shouldn’t be allowed to go any further. Other options for this pick would be Vaughn, TCU southpaw Nick Lodolo, Vanderbilt outfielder J.J. Bleday, Arizona State outfielder Hunter Bishop and West Virginia starter Alek Manoah.


Davis Wendzel

Third Baseman
Round 2
Pick 45

I almost went with UNC-Wilmington shortstop Greg Jones with this selection, thinking the White Sox could possibly double-down on athletic shortstops/center fielders. Jones and Abrams are nearly identical as to speed, hitting and concerns about being able to stick at short.

That said, I went with Wendzel here. The Sox are woefully short on hot corner depth beyond Yoan Moncada, with only the injured Jake Burger on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 list for the team. Wendzel merits this selection not just because of the team’s lack of depth at this position, but because of his bat control and ability to field the position well. MLB Pipeline ranks him 47th overall, while Baseball America rates him a bit lower.

MLB Pipeline said of Wendzel, “He is fearless at the plate, willing to work deep counts while he hunts for a pitch to hit and taking walks when he doesn’t get one. He stays inside the ball well with his right-handed swing and uses the entire field. He tends to drive the ball to the gaps and could tap into more of his solid strength and raw power once he turns on more pitches.”

These are his stats through May 23: .385/.500/.647, 156 AB, 17 2B, 8 HR, 37 RBI, 27 BB, 32 K, 11 SB

I considered many other possibilities here. Offensively, in addition to Jones, there’s fellow third baseman Drew Mendoza (similar offensively to Zack Collins) from Florida State, Louisville first baseman Logan Wyatt, and Southern Mississippi outfielder Matt Wallner; college pitchers Ethan Small from Mississippi State, Noah Song from Navy , Matt Canterino from Rice, Ty Sikkema from Missouri, Isaiah Campbell from Arkansas, Drey Jameson from Ball State and John Doxakis of Texas A&M. I also strongly considered in the prep ranks first baseman/pitcher Spencer Jones, outfielder Sammy Siani, and third baseman Rece Hinds.

Ryan Garcia

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Round 3
Pick 81

Garcia’s been amazingly good over his past two seasons, combining for a 16-1 record for the Bruins in one of the NCAA’s toughest conferences. Where Garcia is drafted will likely depend upon scouts’s confidence concerning his health, as he did miss the first three weeks this year due to flexor inflammation. Garcia’s stuff is good yet unexceptional, but he has an above-average changeup and curve with the ability to mix his pitches well with strong command. This guy is a pitcher in the true sense of the word. MLB Pipeline ranks him 98th among this year’s draft prospects, while other sites have him just a bit lower.

His stats through May 23: 12 G, 10 GS, 1.30 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 69 IP 38 H, 21 BB, 95 K, 4 HR

The Sox, due to injuries and ineffectiveness in their rotations with both the major league club and Charlotte, are in desperate need of starting pitching. Other college pitchers worth considering here include Stanford lefty Erik Miller, Ryan Zeferjahn of Kansas, Wayne State’s Hunter Brown, Cal-Santa Barbara’s Ben Brecht, and Wabash Valley JC southpaw Antoine Kelly. College hitters worthy of consideration here include second baseman Cameron Cannon from Cal-Riverside, Arizona third baseman Nick Quintana, Ole Miss outfielder Thomas Dillard, Florida shortstop Brady McConnell and Georgia Tech catcher Kyle McCann. Prep players available could include outfielders Chris Newell and Joshua Mears, in addition to catcher Jonathan French.

Karl Kauffmann

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Round 4
Pick 110

Kauffmann has performed consistently well for the Wolverines in all three years to date. His fastball tops at 96 mph with movement, but generally runs 91-94 mph according to MLB Pipeline. He offers great speed variation with his changeup and slider, and like the aforementioned Garcia, Kauffmann clearly knows how to pitch. MLB Pipeline ranks him 110th in this year’s draft class, while Baseball America ranks him 124th.

Through May 23: 16 G, 15 GS, 2.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 97.2 IP, 80 H 26 BB, 86 K, 5 HR

Other college pitchers I considered here were Oregon’s Grant Gambrell, Lehigh’s Levi Stoudt, Cal-Irvine’s Andre Pallante, Connecticut’s Jacob Wallace and New Mexico’s Justin Slaten. College hitters possibilities were Washington catcher Nick Kahle, Michigan outfielder Jordan Brewer, Indiana outfielder Matt Gorski, East Carolina first baseman Spencer Brickhouse and outfielder Bryant Packard, California shortstop Korey Lee and Mississippi shortstop Grae Kessinger (grandson of Don). Prep prospects for the fourth round were outfielder Trey Faltine and shortstop Brennan Milone.

Jaxx Groshans

Round 5
Pick 150

Jaxx is the lesser-heralded, older brother of Jordan who was selected in last year’s first round by the Toronto Blue Jays. However, Jaxx is certainly a decent prospect in his own right. Originally predicted to be a 13th-round pick to begin the year, Groshans has really picked up his game — especially offensively. His homers have spiked, while his plate discipline has also improved, Groshans’ defense clearly isn’t as good as projected first rounders Adley Rutschman and Shea Langeliers, it is adequate, and he’s thrown out 45% of attempted basestealers. Of course, if Rutschman magically falls to the Sox in the first round, it’s unlikely the Sox will select Groshans with this pick. MLB Pipeline ranks Groshans 138th in this year’s draft class.

Here are his numbers through May 23: 54 G, 186 AB, .333/.469/.602, 12 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 45 R, 0 SB, 49 BB, 39 K

Other college hitters I considered with this pick included Ohio State outfielder Dominic Canzone, Campbell outfielder Matthew Barefoot, Vanderbilt catcher Philip Clark, Georgia Tech first baseman Tristin English and Louisville shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald. College pitchers worthy of a look here included East Carolina LHSP Jake Agnos, Mississippi RHSP Will Ethridge, Florida State LHSP Drew Parrish and Vanderbilt RHSP Drake Fellows.

Michael McAvene

Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
Round 6
Pick 170

Time for the White Sox to make their annual selection of a Louisville Cardinal! With that said, McAvene’s a great selection here, with his mid-to-upper 90s fastball and plus slider. He likely profiles as a high-leverage reliever, while some scouts believe he has the potential of a starter — especially he can refine his curveball. Baseball America ranks him 180th, while MLB Pipeline ranks him 174th due largely to past control issues and the fact that he doesn’t have true starter upside.

With that said, McAvene has had an amazing season to date for Louisville: 1.98 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 18 G, 0 GS, 6 SV, 27 IP, 13 H, 7 BB, 39 K, 2 HR

Other pitchers considered here include California’s Jared Horn, Northwestern’s Nick Paciorek, Arkansas’ Jacob Kostyshock, and Winthrop’s Zach Peek. If McAvene’s unavailable, a hitter I really like for this spot would be Wright State outfielder Peyton Burdick (.386/.529/.667, 13 HR, 60 BB, 34 K, 23 SB). Other hitters of note include Oregon third baseman Spencer Steer, Grand Canyon outfielder Quin Cotton, George Mason catcher Logan Driscoll, Mississippi State outfielder Jake Mangum and New Mexico State shortstop Joey Ortiz.

Erik Rivera

Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
Round 7
Pick 200

The White Sox haven’t been shy about drafting Puerto Rican athletes, as evidenced by their selections of shortstop Kelvin Maldonado and catcher Gabriel Ortiz in last year’s draft. Rivera has more upside than either of those players, and although he’s still got plenty of refinement to do in regards to making contact, it could certainly be worth the risk to select him here. This powerfully-built (6´2´´, 195 pounds) outfielder has a spectacular swing (reminiscent of Adrian Gonzalez and Rafael Palmeiro), an accurate cannon of an arm, and above-average power. Rivera does have some swing-and-miss tendencies, but he has the ability to be a plus-plus power-hitting right fielder if he puts it all together. If he can’t, he’s projected by many scouts to have a future as a pitcher, thanks to his 95 mph heater and decent slider. Regardless, he just turned 18 last month, so he’s definitely got time to figure things out. He’s verbally committed to Florida International, and is ranked 198th by MLB Pipeline.

Other hitters that may be available in this round may include Vanderbilt outfielder Pat DeMarco and Texas shortstop David Hamilton. The best pitchers that are projected for the seventh round, aside from Gonzaga’s Casey Legumina and UCLA’s Jack Ralston, are relievers. The best of this group would be USC’s Chris Clarke, Stanford’s Jack Little, Texas A&M’s Kasey Kalich and North Carolina’s Joey Lancellotti.

Dante Biasi

Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
Penn State
Round 8
Pick 230

For me, the decision here comes down between Biasi and Georgia right-handed starter Tim Elliott. Their numbers are similar, but while Elliott generally has better control, Biasi strikes out more batters. Biasi’s fastball typically runs in the low 90s and tops at 95 mph according to Prospects Live, while offering nice speed variations with his changeup and curve. Biasi’s rated as the 253rd-best prospect this year, according to Baseball America.

Through May 23: 14 G, 14 GS, 2.55 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 74 IP, 52 H, 4 HR, 33 BB, 102 K

Other top pitchers who may be available include LHSP Jack Dashwood from Cal-Santa Barbara, Florida State RHRP J.C. Flowers, and Mississippi State RHRP Peter Caracci. Top hitters here may include Stanford first baseman Andrew Daschbach, Georgia shortstop Cam Shepherd and Florida outfielder Wil Dalton.

Aaron Ochsenbein

Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
Eastern Kentucky
Round 9
Pick 260

One look at Ochsenbein’s stats will make you wonder why he appears to be slated for the ninth round. In part, he’s playing in the Ohio Valley Conference, which isn’t one of the premier baseball conferences in the country. However, it’s more likely because he doesn’t have the premium heater that would make scouts take notice. His fastball typically runs 89-92 mph according to 2080 Baseball, and he offers nice speed variations with his curveball and slider. Ochseinbein does have a build (6´3´´, 225 pounds) which would be ideal for starting; if not, he’s probably better suited for low-leverage relieving. He’s been successful this year due to a deceptive motion with lots of moving parts, reasonably good control, great movement on his pitches, and the speed differential among his offerings. He is ranked 283rd in this year’s draft class by Baseball America.

Here are his stats through May 23: 25 G, 0 GS, 8 SV, 0.58 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 46 IP, 19 H, 1 HR, 14 BB, 77 K

Other top pitchers who may be available in this round include Niagara RHSP Matthew Brash, Louisville RHRP Bryan Hoeing, Texas Tech RHRP Caleb Freeman, and Sacramento State RHRP Austin Roberts. Top hitters available for this pick may include Arizona outfielder Matt Frazier, Pacific catcher James Free, Cal-Santa Barbara outfielder Armani Smith and Mississippi outfielder Ryan Olenek.

Evan Edwards

First Baseman
Ohio State
Round 10
Pick 290

Good offensive choices abound in the 10th round. Edwards stands out, however, as he’s put together quite the impressive campaign for 2019. This lefty hitter has improved upon his already good plate discipline, and has few weaknesses as a hitter. Baseball America ranks him as this year’s 318th best draft prospect, in part to his being relegated to first base.

His numbers through May 23: 55 G, 215 AB, .335/.455/.609, 16 2B, 2 3B, 13 HR, 58 RBI, 58 R, 47 BB, 43 K, 6-for-7 SB

Other top hitters who may be available in this round include Cal-Riverside outfielder Connor Cannon, Utah second baseman Oliver Dunn, Georgia Tech outfielder Chase Murray and Arizona State shortstop Carter Aldrete. Top hurlers could include Cal-Irvine RHSP Tanner Brubaker, USC RHSP Connor Lunn, Texas Tech RHRP John McMillon and St. John’s RHSP Gavin Hollowell.

Kellen Strahm

San Jose State
Round 11
Pick 320

Kellen Strahm has enjoyed a fantastic season for the Spartans, although it’s gone relatively noticed. It’s not about just his offense however; he’s committed just one error in his entire college career to date. He’s capable of playing all three outfield positions, but will either be a left or center fielder in all likelihood, due to his lack of arm strength. Strahm ranks 343rd among this year’s prospects per Baseball America.

Here are his stats through May 23: 41 G, 144 AB, .396/.497/.569, 5 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 38 R, 25 BB, 21 K, 14-for-16 SB

Other top hitters who may be available in this round include California shortstop Cameron Eden and Cal-Santa Barbara outfielder Tommy Jew and Vanderbilt second baseman Ethan Paul. Top pitchers possibly around for the White Sox here include Oregon LHRP Brandon Eisert, Minnesota RHRP Brett Schulze, North Carolina RHSP Gianluca Dalatri, St. John’s LHSP Jeff Belge and Oklahoma State RHSP Jensen Elliott (who happens to be the brother of Winston-Salem Dash reliever Jake).

Braidyn Fink

Left-Handed Relief Pitcher
Round 12
Pick 350

Oklahoma, like Louisville, seemingly churns out White Sox draft picks on an annual basis. This year could be no exception, if Fink is available with this pick. This would be the riskiest selection for this mock draft thus far, because Fink tore his UCL and underwent surgery in February. As a result, he wouldn’t pitch for the Sox organization until 2020 at the earliest. Based upon his innings per start, Fink is clearly a lefty specialist and may be worth the risk. This wouldn’t be unprecedented, as the White Sox selected and signed four pitchers in last year’s draft who were unable to pitch due to injuries — including 12th rounder Isaiah Carranza. Baseball America ranks Fink as this year’s 358th best draft prospect.

Fink, who has a similar build to Aaron Bummer, posted the following numbers last year: 28 G, 0 GS, 1.71 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 21 IP, 15 H, 9 BB, 28 K, 1 HR

If the White Sox decide to go a more conservative route, several options abound here. Top pitchers who may be available include Miami RHRP Greg Veliz, Georgia Tech LHSP Connor Thomas and Baylor LHSP Cody Bradford. On the offensive side, the White Sox may consider Connecticut shortstop Anthony Prato, Louisiana-Lafayette outfielder Todd Lott (cousin of fooball Hall-of-Famer Ronnie), Florida outfielder Nelson Maldonado, Florida International catcher Pedro Pages and South Carolina outfielder T.J. Hopkins.

John Baker

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Ball State
Round 13
Pick 380

It’s somewhat surprising to find Baker available with such a low pick when one looks at his numbers. Perhaps it’s because he walks more than one batter every two innings. Or perhaps it’s because he’s lacking the elite velocity that would catapult a pitcher of his ilk to a higher plateau. As a senior in high school, Baker’s velocity hovered around 90 mph, per Prep Baseball Report. Of course, his heater has likely gained velocity during the past three years. His repertoire also includes a cutter, slow curveball and changeup. Baker ranks 401st among this year’s draft prospects per Baseball America.

Here are his stats for the Cardinals through May 23: 13 G, 12 GS, 2.33 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 65.2 IP, 44 H, 33 BB, 83 K, 3 HR

Other top pitchers who may be available here include Hawaii RHRP Dylan Thomas, Northeastern LHSP Sean Mellen, James Madison RHSP Kevin Kelly and Fairfield RHSP Austin Pope. The best available hitters could include USC outfielder Matthew Acosta, St. Mary’s first baseman Kevin Milam, Minnesota catcher Eli Wilson, Oregon outfielder Jonny Deluca and Cal State-Fullerton catcher Daniel Cope.

Chris Wright

Left-Handed Relief Pitcher
Round 14
Pick 410

Wright is actually a decent hitter in his own right, as he slashed .300/.395/,456 while playing first base for Bryant. However, relieving will likely be his future role. 2080 Baseball has his fastball maxing in the upper 80s, which shouldn’t blow too many hitters out of the water. Sometimes, it’s less a matter of sheer velocity and more how velocity varies, and that may be the case with Wright, as he’s posted some pretty impressive numbers for his squad. With 12th-round mock pick Braidyn Fink on the shelf, the Sox may opt for another southpaw reliever with this selection. Baseball America ranks him 430th among this year’s draft prospects.

Here are Wright’s numbers for the Bulldogs through May 23: 20 G, 0 GS, 31 IP, 2.59 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 16 H, 20 BB, 60 K

Other top pitching prospects who may be available include Cal-Davis RHSP Steven Ouellette, St. John’s LHSP Joe LaSorsa, Cal State-Bakersfield RHSP Darius Vines and Georgia RHRP Zac Kristofak. Hitting prospects who may be around include Wright’s teammate and outfielder Ryan Ward, UNC Central shortstop Corey Joyce, Rice shortstop Trei Cruz, Loyola Marymount outfielder Trevin Esquerra and USC catcher C.J. Stubbs.

Wright State

J.D. Orr

Wright State
Round 15
Pick 440

Ready for some Jeopardy? Well, 165 is the answer. The question? If J.D. Orr’s rate were to remain the same, how many stolen bases would he have if he played in a full 162-game season in the majors? In 56 games for Wright State, Orr has stolen a whopping 57 bases! Obviously, that kind of success rate stealing indicates that Orr must be doing something right. Also, if he were to maintain his pace over a full major league season, he’d score an incredible 222 runs! While Orr has virtually no power, he has helped his squad by getting on base more than 45% of the time and walking far more than whiffing.

Orr has also helped the Raiders defensively by posting more assists (seven) than errors. If the White Sox want to get more athletic, they could do far worse than drafting Abrams and Orr. Of course, the Horizon League isn’t the penultimate in NCAA competition. With that said, 57 stolen bases in 56 games is good in any league. Baseball America ranks Orr 446th among this year’s draft prospects.

Here are his stats through May 23: 56 G, 218 AB, .330/.458/.408, 10 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 23 RBI, 77 R, 49 BB, 34 K, 57-of-67 SB

Other hitters who could be available here include Oklahoma State outfielder Carson McCusker, North Carolina shortstop Ike Freeman, Creighton second baseman Isaac Collins and Kansas State outfielder Will Brennan. Pitchers who may be still be around include Vanderbilt RHSP Patrick Raby, Pepperdine LHSP Easton Lucas, Oklahoma RHSP Nathan Wiles, Nebraska RHRP Chad Luensmann and Golden West JC (CA) RHSP Josh Ibarra.

Mike Salvatore

Florida State
Second Base
Round 16
Pick 470

Salvatore profiles as a utility man in the professional ranks due to his lack of game-changing speed and/or power. That doesn’t mean Salvatore is a bad player. Far from it. The Seminole senior has walked more than fanned in each of his college seasons, while compiling 29 extra-base hits over 55 games. He’s the type of player that does all the little things (yes, probably even bunting) to make his team better. Salvatore ranks 486th among this year’s draft prospects per Baseball America.

Here are his stats through May 23: 55 G, 222 AB, .329/.423/.532, 19 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR, 44 RBI, 43 R, 33 BB, 28 K, 5-of-6 SB

Other hitters who could be available in this round include Cal-Riverside outfielder Dean Miller, West Virginia outfielder Darius Hill, Sanford shortstop Branden Fryman (son of Travis) and Georgia outfielder Tucker Maxwell. Pitchers who could be considered include San Diego RHRP Travis Kuhn, Binghamton RHSP Ben Anderson, Sinclair JC (OH) LHRP Jacob Brustoski, Miami Dade JC RHRP Orlando Ribalta and San Jacinto JC (TX) RHSP Mitchell Parker.

Brock Hale

Brigham Young
Round 17
Pick 500

With rookie league squads carrying larger rosters, both Great Falls and the AZL Sox can carry five outfielders (even six) without depleting their depth. Hale is the fourth outfielder in this mock draft, and could potentially be the final one even if this mock were to include all 40 rounds. Six combined outfielders are currently on the rookie rosters (Luis Mieses, Anderson Comas, Josue Guerrero, Cabera Weaver, Anthony Coronado and Bryan Connell). Simply put, Hale is just simply too good to pass up with this selection. He was recently named the West Coast Conference MVP for 2019, and he’s been consistently excellent during his entire four-year career. Hale has already served his requisite mission trip, so he should be ready to turn pro. He would likely be a corner outfielder due to his lack of speed. No player from here on out is ranked among the Top 500 by Baseball America (whose list is more expansive than MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs).

Here are Hale’s stats through May 23, 2019: 51 G, 197 AB, .340/.467/.589, 14 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 44 RBI, 48 R, 36 BB, 33 K, 3-of-5 SB

Other outfielders who may be available here, including the aforementioned Tennessee Tech’s Kevin Strohschein, Wichita State’s Luke Ritter, Fresno State’s Zach Ashford, Vanderbilt’s Stephen Scott and Mississippi State’s Elijah MacNamee.

M.D. Johnson

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Dallas Baptist
Round 18
Pick 530

With the initials M.D., combined with his majoring in kinesiology, Johnson’s nickname better be Doc. That said, this senior has certainly been putting on a clinic against his Missouri Valley Conference foes. Again, he likely would be drafted much earlier if he were an underclassman due to his age; as a result, Johnson can’t afford any difficult seasons or injuries which would greatly delay his rise through the minors. The lanky 6´6´´, 185-pound righty offers a peek-a-boo setup with his glove prior to his standard, overhead delivery. He won’t blow teams away with a low-90s fastball (per 2080 Baseball), slider and changeup but he knows how to pitch by providing great command and speed variation with his pitches.

These are Doc’s stats through May 23: 14 G, 14 GS, 2.48 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 87 IP, 60 H, 20 BB, 98 K

Top right-handed starters who could be available here include Indiana’s Paul Milto, Oregon’s Brian Fehmel, Creighton’s Evan Johnson, Duke’s Ben Gross and TCU’s Jared Janczak.

David Leal

Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
Louisiana Tech
Round 19
Pick 560

Despite Leal’s large build (6´5´´, 250 pounds), he’s a traditional soft-tossing southpaw. The senior definitely knows how to pitch, as evidenced by the awesome numbers he’s posted this year as both a starter and reliever. What’s interesting is that Leal’s numbers were even better last year, when he pitched almost exclusively as a starter:

2018 14 G, 13 GS, 2.27 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 87 IP, 66 H, 13 BB, 81 K, 3 HR
2019 13 G, 7 GS, 3.23 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 47 IP, 39 H, 5 BB, 46 K, 5 HR

Top options for southpaw starters include Louisiana-Lafayette’s Gunner Leger, Indiana State’s Triston Polley, Nick Mondak of St. John’s and Creighton’s Denson Hull.

Eric Jones

Round 20
Pick 590

A senior catcher could be drafted to help provide depth in that position — Jones should fit this bill perfectly. He only committed two passed balls and threw out 32% of attempted basestealers this year, but my guess is that a lack of overall defensive ability is the reason Jones is not rated highly by the prospect sites. He has also spent significant time at first base throughout his career.

Here are his numbers through May 23: 46 G, 183 AB, .350/.439/.563, 16 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 34 RBI, 37 R, 29 BB, 16 K, 3-of-5 SB

Other catching options here include Louisville’s Zeke Pinkham and Marshall’s Rey Pastrana. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Rounds 21-40

Typically, Rounds 21-35 are typically used for organizational depth, to acquire talent that either underperformed or were primarily injured, or to take a chance — like the White Sox did last year with Bryce Bush. One middle infielder I especially like who could potentially be available would be Arkansas second baseman Trevor Ezell. Of course, the second half of the draft is where the Sox will continue stocking up on pitchers.

And while rounds 21-35 are usually used to amass pitchers and utility players, the final five rounds are typically relegated for taking flyers on players who’d likely play collegiate ball. Of course, if Larry King has another draft-eligible son, he’d likely be selected here as well.

One final note: The Soxiest thing the team will likely do in this draft would be to select Nick Madrigal’s twin brother Ty, who was a fourth-year senior with St. Mary’s. This would fall in with other times when the White Sox acquired brothers of system players: Enoy Jimenez, Jake Dunning and Elijah Tatis (yes, I know Fernando, Jr. is no longer with us—maybe this is designed to attract his older brother when he eventually enters free agency?). The White Sox even tried to acquire Nick Burdi (brother of Zack) in the 2017 Rule 5 draft. Anyway, Ty Madrigal had a disappointing 2019 season (perhaps due to injuries, as he only pitched in six games). This wouldn’t necessarily be a throwaway pick, as Ty did excel last year for the Gaels with a 1.90 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 54 strikeouts in 47 innings as a southpaw reliever. I can see him being selected anywhere between the 25th and 35th rounds.