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A month away before the White Sox make their selection at pick four, and I feel that there isn’t an ideal option for this slot. Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, we’ll see play improve that will help make things a bit clearer on what direction Nick Hostetler should take. Looking at how the current White Sox are playing and the chances are excellent he’ll have another Top-5 pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.
In a perfect world, a college shortstop would have emerged hitting for power, walking more than whiffing, and demonstrating defensive ability to stick at the position. Even having the ability to move around the infield would be helpful. Alas, that player doesn’t exist in this year’s class. The consensus is the White Sox will be selecting a college hitter, and those choices are:
- Alec Bohm – a third baseman who some think will be a first baseman long-term.
- Nick Madrigal – a second baseman with limited defensive range and arm that prohibits from moving around the infield.
- Travis Swaggerty – an 80-grade name with 55-grade hitting tools that has been hot for a couple of weeks and then goes cold in others. Might be able to handle center field but for certain left field.
- Joey Bart – A catcher who will stick at the position that has demonstrated power in his swing but has poor plate discipline.
If you know the White Sox recent draft picks, and the current minor league depth, you can see the problem. Selecting Bohm would be repeating last year’s first-round pick, Jake Burger. Yoan Moncada is going to be around for a long time so that Madrigal would be blocked on arrival. Adding Swaggerty would jam up an already crowded outfield depth chart. Finally, would selecting Joey Bart to mean the White Sox have lost confidence in 2016 first rounder, Zack Collins?
Every team should select the best player available regardless of position because stuff happens. Guys get hurt, they regress or get traded. It’s hard to see what the future holds three years from now, and too much depth is a good problem to have. Depth is the keyword because while this draft class doesn’t provide clear-cut impact players, it does offer a broader selection of those who could have a future value of 50 on the 20-80 scouting scale.
My choices below are a combination of players who I think have high ratings, past draft tendencies, and would be good fits for that ballclub.
1. Detroit Tigers – Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn University
In 75 innings, Mize has 104 strikeouts to seven walks. He’s going to surpass last year’s inning total (83.2 IP in 2017) and has not shown any arm issues that some were concerned with over the summer. I can’t think of anyone else that Detroit would consider with the first pick.
2. San Francisco Giants – Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech
Baseball America in their last mock draft had Joey Bart going second overall, and I like that direction for the Giants. Buster Posey is not going to last forever behind the plate, and Brandon Belt’s contract ends in 2021. They could move Posey to first base when Bart would be ready to join the majors if they are aggressive with promotions. One of the few college catchers that call his games, Bart possesses both the defensive prowess and power bat that teams covet from the position. Another option at this slot would be Alec Bohm.
3. Philadelphia Phillies – Alec Bohm, 3B, Wichita State
I can’t get a good feel for what the Phillies would do with this selection. By signing Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta, they don’t have a second or third round pick, so I have to imagine they are looking for the best impact player in this slot. Having spent their last two first-round picks on outfielders with Adam Haseley and Mickey Moniak, I don’t see them going with a player like Travis Swaggerty. Instead, I have Alec Bohm here which if he can prove to be a fast riser through the minors could be an option to replace Santana when his deal expires. Other options at this slot would be Nick Madrigal or Brady Singer.
4. Chicago White Sox – Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State
In my opinion, this pick comes down to two players for the Sox: Nick Madrigal and Brady Singer.
The case for Madrigal: A hitter with 60 to 65 contact skills paired with plus speed and batters eye. Puts the ball in play and can spray it to all fields. Madrigal has soft hands at second base with a good transition on double play opportunities. White Sox need more middle infield depth.
The case against Madrigal: Limited to second base where Yoan Moncada will be until 2024 and below average power.
The case for Singer: Four-pitch mix that ranges from average to plus-plus. Singer’s two-seam fastball is a sight to behold for the horizontal movement which his changeup follows a similar path. The slider is an improving pitch, and his four-seam fastball has been effective busting right-handed hitters inside. Pitches better when the moments are more prominent. Won College World Series starts and outdueled Casey Mize last week. Can never have enough pitchers in a system.
The case against Singer: Odd, fast delivery with a low arm slot. Curveball should be eliminated from his arsenal as it hangs in the zone too often.
I went back and forth making this choice, deciding on Madrigal because the need for more middle infielders is higher than starting pitching. If choosing between these two, I don’t think the Sox could go wrong.
5. Cincinnati Reds – Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge HS (Arizona)
On pace to have the number one pick overall in the 2019 MLB Draft, I think the Reds take the best prep player available in the draft to pair with last year’s selection of Hunter Greene. If Madrigal would fall to this slot, I think the Reds would select him.
6. New York Mets – Brady Singer, RHP, University of Florida
Matt Harvey is going to be leaving Queens soon, and the Mets track record of keeping starters healthy is poor. Singer would provide much-needed depth.
7. San Diego Padres – Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS (Florida)
Everything I read about Stewart is the fantastic RPM’s he gets off his curveball. GM AJ Preller is not afraid to go prep, and with the top college bats off the board, he goes with the best player available.
8. Atlanta Braves – Nolan Gorman, 3B, Sandra Day O’Connor HS (Arizona)
Travis Swaggerty could be an option here, but I think Gorman would be a good fit for the Braves. A team that knows how to develop young players could go a long way with Gorman’s power profile.
9. Oakland Athletics – Travis Swaggerty, OF, South Alabama
I think Oakland takes the best college bat available and that would be Swaggerty. If Joey Bart is available, I see a good fit with the A’s.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates – Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha West HS (Wisconsin)
Best player available for Pittsburgh is Jarred Kelenic, who has a good track of success on the travel circuit. I could see the Pirates going college pitcher with this pick which would be Ryan Rolison out of Ole Miss.
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