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Revisiting the 2023 White Sox MLB Draft class after the conclusion of the minor league season.
Best Pure Hitter: Shortstop Jacob Gonzalez (1) has an unusual operation at the plate, but he has the sort of hand-eye coordination and batting eye that has made it work for him nicely in college. He could be an above-average hitter. Outfielder Eddie Park (8) and second baseman Rikuu Nishida (11) both have standout contact skills.
Best Power Hitter: Gonzalez (1) is another candidate for this category and hit 40 home runs in his career at Mississippi, though outfielder George Wolkow (5) has outlier raw power for his age and might have double-plus raw power right now at just 18 years old. Whether or not he’ll get to that power consistently in games is his big question.
Fastest Runner: Nishida (11) is a plus runner with a quick first step who gets out of the box quickly. He stole 25 bags in 33 attempts with Oregon last spring and also added six bags in his 20-game pro debut. Park (8) is an above-average runner and solid base stealer as well.
Best Defensive Player: The White Sox selected a number of players with questions about their defensive profiles or who might slide to corner positions, though catcher Calvin Harris (4) earns strong reviews for his work behind the plate. He is a strong pitch framer and has solid arm strength and accuracy.
Best Fastball: Righthander Grant Taylor (2) didn’t pitch for Louisiana State this spring after having Tommy John surgery, but he has thrown a fastball in the 93-95 mph range that has been up to 99 with plus riding life. It’s a definite plus offering.
Best Secondary Pitch: Righthander Seth Keener (3) went to his mid-80s biting slider at an extremely high rate this spring with Wake Forest. He threw the pitch 41% of the time and does an excellent job landing the two-plane breaking ball in the zone for strikes. It is at least an above-average breaking ball.
Best Pro Debut: Second baseman Edrick Felix (14) had some of the best overall production among the White Sox draftees, despite a 30.3% strikeout rate. He slashed .288/.382/.485 with three home runs in 21 games between rookie ball and Low-A Kannapolis.
Best Athlete: Wolkow (7) has a massive frame at 6-foot-7, 240 pounds, but he moves shockingly well for a player of his size and can cover an impressive amount of ground in the outfield.
Most Intriguing Background: Nishida (11) moved to the United States from Japan and did nothing but hit throughout his college career, first at Mt. Hood (Ore.) JC and then at Oregon. He faces an uphill battle as a 5-foot-6, 150-pound infielder, but he has an endearing style of play, contact skills and solid defensive ability that will make him a day three favorite for many.
Closest To The Majors: Gonzalez’s (1) blend of contact ability, on-base skills and power, while playing a premium defensive position, should set him up for pro success. His track record in the SEC and with USA Baseball’s collegiate national team are more points in his favor to move quickly.
Best Day Three Pick (Or NDFA): Nishida (11) might be the most fun day three pick, but righthander Mathias LaCombe (12) might be the most interesting from a pure prospect perspective. The French-born pitcher has been up to 97 mph, has flashed a good slider and posted a 1.74 ERA with 97 strikeouts in 67.1 innings this spring with Cochise (Ariz.) JC.