White Sox 2020 MLB Draft Preview: Will Chicago Continue College-Oriented Approach?
Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, MLB teams do not draft for immediate need. There’s good reason for that, as even the most MLB-ready draft prospects usually take two seasons to get fully established in the majors. But as we ready for the 2020 MLB draft, it is useful to look at where teams are deep and where they are thin at the MLB and minor league level.
Also of note:
2019 MLB RECORD: 72-89
STATE OF THE SYSTEM: Top-heavy, but ready to pop. The system is headed by Cuban sensation Luis Robert, who will make his big league debut whenever the season begins, and fireballer Michael Kopech, whose initial run with Chicago was cut short by Tommy John surgery. First baseman Andrew Vaughn showed promise in his pro debut, and second baseman Nick Madrigal does nothing but hit. Righthander Jonathan Stiever was the system’s biggest breakout in 2019, and the team took two intriguing high school arms in Matthew Thompson and Andrew Dalquist after popping Vaughn.
BEST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: Chris Sale (first round, 2010). The team’s first-rounder from 2010 struck out 1,244 hitters in 1,110 innings and finished in the top five of the Cy Young Award voting four consecutive times before he was dealt to the Red Sox after the 2016 season. That trade netted the White Sox Yoan Moncada and Kopech as part of a four-player package, one of two major trades that offseason that helped jump-start the team’s rebuild. Sale’s current 5.37 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranks as the best in history.
WORST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: OF Courtney Hawkins (first round, 2012). Hawkins at No. 13 overall in 2012 still stings, considering Lucas Giolito (though he did make his way to the White Sox), Corey Seager and Marcus Stroman all came off the board in the next 10 picks.
DEEPEST POSITION(S): Outfield. The White Sox have a ton of high-upside outfielders. Robert is obviously the king of the position, but players like Blake Rutherford, Luis Gonzalez, Micker Adolfo, James Beard, Benyamin Bailey and Bryce Bush each have intriguing, if volatile, futures.
WEAKEST POSITION(S): Lefthanded pitching. The White Sox have just one lefthander (Konnor Pilkington) among their Top 30 Prospects and not much behind him throughout the rest of the system.
DRAFT TRENDS: Hawkins in 2012 was the last time the White Sox took a high school player with their first overall selection. Since then, they’ve taken Tim Anderson (JC), Carlos Rodon, Carson Fulmer, Zack Collins, Jake Burger, Madrigal and Vaughn with their initial selections. It’s also worth noting that 2020 will be the first draft with new scouting director Mike Shirley in charge.