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 Soxcould 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).
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Baseball America 20
Elon and its conference, the Colonial Athletic, aren’t exactly college baseball powerhouses. However, George Kirby is projected by many to be a late first round or early second round pick. Here are the numbers from his career years with Elon (2019 stats through May 29):
2017 16 G, 5 GS, 61 1⁄3 IP, 4.84 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 67 H, 17 BB, 55 K
2018 15 G, 15 GS, 90 1⁄3 IP, 2.89 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 88 H, 27 BB, 96 K
2019 14 G, 14 GS, 88 1⁄3 IP, 2.75 ERA, 0.894 WHIP, 73 H, 6 BB, 107 K
He’s definitely shown vast improvement season-by-season. And consider what he did in the Cape Cod League last summer, it seemed to certainly set him up for a stellar 2019: 10 G, 0 GS, 13 IP, 1.38 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 13 H, 1 BB, 24 K
Of course, his role was different in the Cape Cod League, but a 24-to-1 K/BB ratio, not to mention a 16.6 K/9 ratio, isn’t too shabby.
What does Kirby actually bring to the table? His running fastball generally runs in the low 90s, peaking at 96 mph according to MLB. While his fastball is graded at 60, his hard curveball grades at 55, and his changeup and control are both graded 50. His 6´3´´, 205-pound build certainly seems conducive to a starting role.
Kirby’s solid junior season should give him enough helium to be considered in the top half of the first round of this year’s draft. If not, the White Sox would be wise to strongly consider him for their early second-round pick. His closest White Sox comp may be Jonathan Stiever.