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Chicago White Sox Draft Report Card

By David Rawnsley

Best Debut: Five pitchers drafted in the first five rounds played key roles as revamped Burlington surged to the Class A Midwest League title, but none was as dominant as RHP Matt Guerrier (10), who was unhittable for Rookie-level Bristol. He went 5-0, 1.05 with 10 saves while throwing an 88-91 mph fastball and a sharp slider.

Best Athlete: At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, RHP Brian West (1) was set to go to Texas A&M as a rush end/linebacker before he started throwing 95-96 mph.

Best Hitter: 1B Casey Rogowski (13) has a quick bat and a good line-drive swing. The White Sox think that the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Rogowski, who hit .295-0-27 in the Rookie-level Arizona League, will develop power.

Best Power: OF Julio Reyes (15) went to the same high school that former White Sox 1B Mario Valdez attended and has many of the same hitting traits.

Fastest Runner: OF Spencer Oborn (14) is 6-foot-4 but has a long, easy running stride. He gets to first base in 4.1 seconds and runs better underway. If holdout SS Bobby Hill (2) ever signs with the White Sox, he would immediately move to the head of the class.

Best Defensive Player: The White Sox signed only seven position players, making it difficult to identify specific standouts. Since the organization went heavy for pitchers, it’s worth noting that Guerrier is the best fielder of the group.

Best Fastball: The White Sox’ first five picks–RHPs Matt Ginter (1), Rob Purvis (1), Jason Stumm (1), West and Danny Wright (2) can all top 95 mph. Stumm throws the hardest now, but Wright probably has the highest ceiling in terms of sheer velocity.

Most Intriguing Background: Rogowski was the Michigan state high school heavyweight wrestling champion and closed his prep career with 92 consecutive victories, often against wrestlers 25-50 pounds heavier.

Closest to the Majors: Ginter has two big league out pitches, a biting slider and effective fastball. He still needs to fine-tune a changeup and improve his arm angle and leverage to the plate.

The One That Got Away: Chicago still retains the rights to Hill after he decided not to return to Miami for his senior year. The scenario is old hat to the White Sox, who went through the same situation with RHP Kip Wells last year.

Best Non-Draft Sign: The White Sox think highly of 1998 draft-and-follow LHP Mark Buehrle (38), pushing him to debut in the Midwest League.

Summary: With three extra first-round picks and an extra second-rounder, the White Sox attempted to restock their pitching depth in one swoop–13 of their first 14 picks were pitchers. Though it was a decidedly one-dimensional haul, the White Sox have the greatest chance to have a high-impact draft.

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