2011 Draft Report Card: Chicago White Sox





POSITION PLAYERS

QUICK TAKE
Chicago has spent less on the draft the last three years and spent nearly $5 million less than the MLB average in 2011. With only one prep signee (C Bryce Mosier, 33), the class needs impact from its top picks.
Bonus Spending: $2.8 million
BEST PURE HITTER:  1B/3B Grant Buckner (26) has present strength and an advanced approach befitting his age (23) and background as the son of a high school coach. BEST POWER HITTER:  With long levers at 6-foot-6, OF Mark Haddow (24) has tantalized scouts with his power-speed combination but never hit more than six homers in a season at UC Santa Barbara. He had 70 strikeouts in as many games but also hit 12 homers for Rookie-level Great Falls and has plus raw power. FASTEST RUNNER:  OF Keenyn Walker (1s) reminds White Sox officials of Chris Singleton physically and is faster, an easy 70 runner on the 20-80 scale who occasionally turns in better times. BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER:  Walker has the tools to be an above-average center fielder with added polish. SS David Herbek (15) has the quick feet and soft hands for shortstop and should have enough arm strength to stick there.

PITCHERS

BEST FASTBALL:  Scouts saw RHP Jeff Soptic (3) reach 100 mph as an amateur, and White Sox officials have seen 101 since he signed. He has erratic control and had sporadic success in junior college. BEST SECONDARY PITCH:  LHP Blair Walters (11) has a plus breaking ball, a hybrid slider/cutter that doesn't have much depth but has late, hard bite that keeps righthanded hitters from getting comfortable while keeping lefthanded bats honest.

ODDS AND ENDS

BEST PRO DEBUT: Walters was Pioneer League pitcher of the year, going 9-0, 4.03 with a 72-17 strikeout-walk ratio in 74 innings for Great Falls. C Kevan Smith (7), a fifth-year senior sign, batted .355/.448/.626 with nine home runs in two Rookie-level stops. RHP Chris Bassitt (16) had a 1.77 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 36 innings, mostly at low Class A Kannapolis. BEST ATHLETE: Walker is an athlete, not just a burner. OF Cory Farris (45) was a prep football star in Kentucky, rushing for 2,250 yards as a senior and was a teammate of Jackson Laumann, son of White Sox scouting director Doug. He transferred after two seasons at Kentucky to NAIA Cumberland (Tenn.) and is raw but has power and speed in his 6-foot, 190-pound frame. MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Farris. Unsigned OF Zach Regier (49) is the son of White Sox special assignment scout Alan Regier, who was the team's farm director for two years. CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Walters' breaking ball (and lefthandedness) should help him move quickly, especially if he returns to his college role as a reliever. SS Marcus Semien (6) has solid all-around tools and held his own in a 60-game debut at Kannapolis (.253/.320/.376). BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Walters and Bassitt, who throws a low-90s sinker, both could rise quickly as relievers. THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: RHP Ian Gardeck (8) was drafted higher, but the White Sox made more of a run at physical LHP Ben O'Shea (10), who plans to enroll at Division II Tampa in January.