CHICAGO--Following a familiar route, the White Sox nabbed Texas
righthander Kyle McCulloch when he slid to the 29th pick overall in the
first round of Tuesday's draft. They don't believe there's any such
thing as too much pitching, especially in the case of pitchers who have
proven themselves in college.
McCulloch, like the Sox's first-round picks in 1997 and 2005, comes
from an old Southwest Conference school. Kip Wells (Baylor) has had a
nice career with the Pirates, and Lance Broadway (TCU) is
pitching well for Double-A Birmingham in his first full pro season.
Neither Broadway nor McCulloch fit the mold of classic power pitchers
from Texas. Some in the White Sox organization compare Broadway to
Minnesota's Brad Radke--a strike-thrower with good stuff, command and
poise--and McCulloch seems cut from similar cloth.
"Kyle is someone we have followed now for a number of years,"
White Sox scouting director Duane Shaffersaid. "He's enjoyed success at
every level, he's consistently exceeded the competition in every league
and at every level, and we are very confident in his ability to help in
the big leagues in the near future."
McCulloch's fastball peaks in the low 90s but he can be effective when
it's only in the high 80s. A changeup is his best pitch, but he also has
a plus curveball. He signed with Texas as a pitcher/shortstop after a
good career at Bellaire High in Houston but has developed into a top
pitching prospect while in college.
McCulloch registered 27 career wins at Texas, including a victory in the deciding
game in the 2005 College World Series. He was 8-5, 3.61 at
the time of the draft, striking out 82 and walking only 32 in 110
McCulloch was in the rotation for Team USA last summer and has experience in the Cape Cod League.
"I am very excited to have been selected by the World Series champion Chicago
White Sox," McCulloch said. "I cannot wait to start my professional
career with such a great organization."
While McCulloch is considered an advanced prospect, getting to the big
leagues won't be easy with the White Sox. All five members of Ozzie
Guillen's rotation and righthander Brandon McCarthy, who is serving as a starter in
waiting in the bullpen, are under White Sox control through at least
2007. The list of solid prospects currently at Double-A or Triple-A
includes Broadway, righthander Sean Tracey, knuckleballer Charlie
Haeger and lefthanders Tyler Lumsden and Ray Liotta. The White Sox could
deal from that stable to fill mid-season holes in the bullpen and to
possibly add a center fielder.
• The White Sox selected John Shelby III, the son of ex-big leaguer John Shelby, with their fifth selection, a fourth-round pick. Shelby is a second baseman out of Kentucky who slugged 28 home runs the last two seasons at Kentucky.
• The fastest player the White Sox drafted was outfielder Kent Gerst out of Fort Zumwalt West HS in Missouri. Gerst made a name for himself last summer by running a 6.35-second 60-yard dash in the Area Code Games.