White Sox Draft Report Card
Analyzing Chicago's 2008 draft class
The White Sox were delighted to get Gordon Beckham with the No. 8 overall pick after believing he'd get picked ahead of them. Morel has flown under the radar but Chicago thinks he might move just as quickly, and Danks is now the best athlete in the system.
BEST PURE HITTER:
Two low-round picks, SS Tyler Kuhn (15) and 1B Jorge Castillo (26). Kuhn batted .424 as a West Virginia senior and .375 as a Rookie-level Pioneer League all-star. Castillo, who tried catching in instructional league, batted .373 and reached low Class A in his debut. >> BEST POWER HITTER:
SS Gordon Beckham (1), who tied for the NCAA Division I lead with 28 homers. 3B Brent Morel (3) should develop at least average power as well. >> FASTEST RUNNER:
OF Justin Greene (20) has plus-plus speed, and while he's raw, he led the Rookie-level Appalachian League with 26 steals. >> BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER:
OF Jordan Danks (7) has good instincts and covers the gaps well in center field.
Former Old Dominion teammates Dexter Carter (13) and Dan Hudson (5). Carter throws harder at 92-93 mph and a peak of 96, while Hudson has more life. RHP Drew O'Neil (4) reminds Chicago of Pat Neshek and gets late, heavy sink on his 89-93 mph fastball. >> BEST SECONDARY PITCH:
The White Sox drafted RHP Steven Upchurch (12) for his plus-plus changeup. His fastball dipped to 87-90 mph this year but was at 90-93 the previous summer. Hudson's curveball is the best breaking pitch in Chicago's draft.
ODDS AND ENDS
BEST PRO DEBUT:
Carter led the Pioneer League in ERA (2.23) and went 6-1 with 89 strikeouts in 68 innings. Hudson went 5-4, 3.36 and topped the league in strikeouts (90 in 70 innings), and he fanned 12 in the championship clincher. >> BEST ATHLETE:
Danks was the best college all-around athlete in the 2008 draft, and he'll be a steal for $525,000 if he can deliver on more of his power potential. OF Kenny Williams Jr. (6) didn't get to show off his athleticism while battling a shoulder injury. >> MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND:
Williams' father is a former big leaguer and the White Sox's general manager, whom the club insists was not involved in the decision to draft Kenny Jr. Danks' brother John led the White Sox with a 3.32 ERA this year. Unsigned LHP Kyle Long (23, now at Florida State) is the son of NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long. Unsigned 1B Travis Otto's (49, now at Illinois Wesleyan) father Dave pitched in the majors, while 2B Drew Garcia's (21) grandfather Dave managed in the big leagues. >> CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS:
Beckham. The White Sox plan on keeping him at shortstop, though he could slide over to second base if Alexei Ramirez seizes their big league job. >> BEST LATE-ROUND PICK:
Carter or Kuhn. Carter dropped in the draft after posting an 8.76 ERA as an Old Dominion junior, while Kuhn just slipped through the cracks. >> THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY:
OF Randall Thorpe (29), who opted to attend Texas A&M, is a quality athlete with plus-plus speed.