Chicago White Sox 2021 MLB Draft Report Card
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Best Pure Hitter: The White Sox were heavily tied to shortstop Colson Montgomery (1) as the draft approached, and they landed the sweet-swinging lefthanded bat with their first overall pick. Montgomery was solid in his debut in the Arizona Complex League, hitting .287/.396/.362 with more power in the tank that he has yet to showcase.
Best Power Hitter: Third baseman Wes Kath (2) was one of the better corner infield prospects in the prep class, and he’s got plus raw power that should allow him to profile nicely in a corner position. He struggled in his 28-game pro debut in the ACL (.212/.287/.337) and will need to cut down his strikeouts (36.5 K%) to get to that power potential in-game.
Fastest Runner: Outfielder Cam Butler (15) was a late pop-up player with an exciting mix of tools, including plus running ability. Outfielder Terrell Tatum (16) mostly played center field during his pro debut and went 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts after going 16-for-18 (88.9%) on the bases for North Carolina State during the spring.
Best Defensive Player: Montgomery is an impressive athlete who has good reactions and arm strength. He’s big and could eventually outgrow shortstop because of that, but so far the White Sox have run him out exclusively at shortstop. He has the tools to be a good defender at third base if necessary in the future.
Best Fastball: Righthander Sean Burke (3) saw his velocity go up and down this spring, but at his best he can run the pitch up into the 97-98 mph range and scouts lauded the spin characteristics of the pitch up in the zone.
Best Secondary Pitch: Burke’s fastball pairs nicely with a downer, mid-70s curveball that was a swing-and-miss pitch for him during the spring with Maryland, but he’s also made progress with a harder slider. Righthander Tanner McDougal (6) has flashed a plus breaking ball but it is inconsistent in shape and speed currently.
Best Pro Debut: Montgomery showed solid contact and on-base ability during his pro debut while playing a solid shortstop. His power didn’t surface much in his 26-game stint, but he handled opposing pitching well despite that.
Best Athlete: Montgomery was a talented high school basketball player who used his left hand on the court despite throwing a baseball with his right. He’s not the best runner, but scouts have consistently praised his athleticism.
Most Intriguing Background: Montgomery’s basketball background could make him a solid choice here as well, though catcher Adam Hackenberg (18) probably deserves this one. Hackenberg comes from an exceptionally athletic family: his father, Erick, played football at Virginia; his mother, Nicole, played volleyball at Lehigh; his brother, Christian, played football at Penn State and was drafted by the Jets; his brother, Brandon, played soccer at Penn State and was drafted by Orlando City SC; and his uncle, JD, played football at Army West Point. Righthander Kohl Simas’s (NDFA) father, Bill, pitched six years for the White Sox.
Closest To The Majors: Burke has the stuffl to move quickly, while lefthander Gil Luna (9) pitched 15.1 scoreless innings in relief during his pro debut while pushing to Low-A Kannapolis. He struck out 24 batters and walked six and has better pure stuff than a $10,000 signing bonus might suggest.
Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): Given Luna’s acquisition cost and performance thus far he would make for a good pick here, although typically day two picks don’t qualify as ‘late.’ If not Luna, Hackenberg is a good choice, particularly after he hit .320/.384/.440 in 27 games between the ACL and Low-A East.
The One Who Got Away: The White Sox signed all of their 20 draft picks.