2016 Draft Report Card: Chicago White Sox
BEST PURE HITTER: The White Sox see C Zack Collins (1) as a potential on-base machine, gifted with elite strike zone awareness and an uncanny ability to recognize pitches he can do damage with.
BEST POWER: Collins has plus power potential and can hit the ball out of any part of the ballpark. Chicago believes he will hit a lot of doubles in addition to home runs.
FASTEST RUNNER: OF Joel Booker (22) grades as a 70 runner, with the ability to reach first base in 4.1 seconds from the righthanded batter’s box. He swiped 41 bags in 65 games in his professional debut this summer.
BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: SS Mitch Roman (12) has excellent defensive tools at shortstop, with outstanding hands, lateral quickness and a plus throwing arm. Collins doesn’t wow evaluators with athleticism or footwork behind the plate, but he works well with pitchers and shows the soft, quiet hands to develop into a sound pitch framer.
BEST FASTBALL: RHP Zack Burdi (1s) can reach triple digits regularly with some reports of his fastball touching 102 mph. RHP Alec Hansen (2) has plus-plus fastball life and pitches at 92-95, with the ability to hit 98 when he needs. LHP Bernardo Flores (7), whose disastrous spring at Southern California included a 6.70 ERA, has excellent lefthanded velocity with the ability to reach 97.
BEST SECONDARY PITCH: Burdi’s slider is a hard, upper 80s frisbee with late sweep. RHP Ian Hamilton (11) also has a hard slider that shows short and late bite. Hansen can spin the ball well at times. LHP Michael Horejsei (21) doesn’t have the explosive fastball of his peers, but his slider is a plus pitch.
BEST PRO DEBUT: Hansen’s debut was almost unparalleled in the class, especially relative to his performance as at Oklahoma (which included a 5.57 ERA) this spring. In 54.2 innings across rookie ball and low Class A, Hansen struck out 81 and walked just 20. He allowed 24 hits and eight earned runs.
BEST ATHLETE: OF Aaron Schnurbusch (28) is a physical specimen, standing at a listed 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds. The Pittsburgh product has plus bat speed, runs well and throws well. Schnurbusch drew mild football interest from colleges when he was in high school and he was a two-way player in college.
MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Burdi is the younger brother of Twins’ prospect Nick Burdi and former Western Michigan quarterback Drew Burdi. RHP Jimmy Lambert (5) is the brother of Rockies pitching prospect Peter Lambert.
CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Burdi cruised through the low minors and reached Triple-A. He is primed to compete for a late-inning relief role for the White Sox in 2017. Collins isn’t far behind having already played well at high Class A.
BEST LATE ROUND PICK: Schnurbusch was among many pleasant surprises for the White Sox. He showed an array of tools and performed well at Rookie-level Great Falls to put himself on the map as a legitimate prospect. Booker has long been considered a toolsy prospect and lived up to those expectations with a fine debut in rookie ball.
Jimmy Lambert Defies The Odds
A little more than a year after having Tommy John surgery, Lambert made the Opening Day roster.
THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: The White Sox had productive talks with OF Zach Farrar (26), but he ended up enrolling at Oklahoma as a two-sport athlete playing both football and baseball.