White Sox select Steele Walker in second round of 2018 MLB Draft

The White Sox remain stuck on polished collegiate types with their early position-player picks. This year, though, the first-day picks have other skills besides beefy power.

After taking second baseman Nick Madrigal in the first round, the White Sox picked Oklahoma outfielder Steele Walker in the second.

Walker, a 5-foot-11-inch center fielder, has a well-rounded game and a feel for hitting. That’s another way to say he doesn’t have a standout tool. From his MLB.com profile:

He’s not big but he has a quick left-handed swing and some deceptive strength that should produce at least average power. Though he makes contact so easily, he continues to hone his plate discipline and draws his share of walks.

Walker’s bat is his lone above-average tool and will have to carry him. While he uses his savvy to get the job done in center and right field for the Sooners, his average speed and fringy arm likely will push him to left field in pro ball. Scouts do love his instincts and makeup.

Walker hit .352/.441/.606 with 28 extra-base hits, 31 walks and 48 strikeouts over 216 at-bats. The strikeouts are a touch high, although Walker has offset some doubts by performing with wood bats. Keith Law was the low man on him, saying “in the view of some scouts, (Walker) beat up a little bit on bad pitching.”

Add it all up, and he sounds like an alternate-timeline Blake Rutherford who went to college.

What the White Sox say:

Where did he rank?

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Jer-in-Az

Truely, this could be the Steele of the draught. 

gusguyman

Welcome to the White Sox Blake Ruther… *whisper from off stage*
Err… Steele Walker!

sgp2204

Nah. Maybe if/when Blake grows a little more and adds some power to his swing. This kids got a lot more pop in his bat than Rutherford does right now. If Rutherford develops average+ power, we’ll have a couple solid players. 

gusguyman

They seem pretty redundant. Both are probably limited to LF, especially since we should have Robert in CF hopefully. Would have much rather gone with a high ceiling SS – there were plenty available

sgp2204

There were a couple – and there still is. Out of the 32 players picked after Steele Walker, only 4 were shortstops… 2 of them were college guys that are extremely likely to change positions, and 2 of them were high school guys that are very likely to change positions. The only 1 out of the 4 that I think has an OK chance to stick at shortstop is Jackson, and even that may be a stretch. Arguably the best “high upside SS” on the board at the time is still on the board now – De Sedas. And I’m all for taking him in rd 3 if they can save some money with their first 2 guys and get him to sign. 

Also, the odds are at least one of Rutherford/Walker won’t be a big league player, so I’m 100% cool with doubling up. If they somehow become redundant pieces on the major league roster, we’ll be in fantastic shape. 

*Side note – Once we finish this year of suckage, we can take Bobby Witt Jr. next year. He looks like one of the best SS prospects to come around in a while.

gusguyman

Yeah I agree if he’s good it’s a good thing. Depth is good in a vaccum, but not when it’s at the expense of holes in other places. BPA sure, but if we didn’t have Steele and somehow none of our Of prospects work out, LF with ok power is not a hard thing to fill in FA. Especially since he is in the same timeline as what is already a log jam. A stud SS coming up right as some of our first wave are going to be FA eligible could extend the window for years, or trade for elite help in our peak years. Of course, if the Sox are really confident in this guy or in getting a great SS day 2, I’m fine with the pick. I just don’t like the fit very much.

sgp2204

“A stud SS coming up right as some of our first wave are going to be FA eligible could extend the window for years, or trade for elite help in our peak years.”

I agree 100%. But I don’t believe there was a “stud SS” available. The only 3 guys I’ve seen in this draft that look like guarantees to stick at short are Turang, Edwards, and Grenier – none of which were available in round 2. Every other option has significant question marks surrounding their ability to play the position. I think you can easily argue that Madrigal has just as good of a shot (if not better) sticking at short as any of the guys taken after Walker. 

When draft time comes around next year and Bobby Witt Jr. is sitting there for our pick, that’s when you should get upset with them picking a corner OF. That’s a legitimate stud SS prospect. 

gusguyman

OK, even if you don’t believe in the SS prospects available and decide to go OF, I think Alek Thomas or Mike Siani* would have been the better choice. If Walker’s hit tool is as good as it should be to justify a top 50 pick on him, he is one of 9(!) OF who have an argument to be playing in W-S this year, and he is older by a year than both Rutherford and Robert. There were some interesting pitching prospects to be had here too. I just really don’t agree with spending pick #46 on yet another A-ball LF

*Mike Siani is still available but that would have been quite the gamble if the goal was always him in round 3, where he will be a tough sign

IllinoisJones

If only the Sox would ever draft a high-ceiling SS.

fundman

Speaking of Rutherford it sure looks like the Sox did alright in that deal now https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/yankees-option-tommy-kahnle.html

PauliePaulie

So much higher ceiling talent was available.
Oh well. We got Madrigal!!

Josh Nelson

I thought Steele Walker was going to be a late first-rounder, so I’m a bit surprised he dropped to the White Sox at #46.

1) Walker can hit, and I expect him do to well in Kannapolis, and in Winston-Salem next year.

2) While Walker may have the range in CF, he doesn’t have a good arm to be a long-term CF. Maybe that is something he can work on with the White Sox, but I found his throws to be lacking in games this year.

If Walker shows promise, he could be someone that challenges Blake Rutherford, Luis Gonzalez, and Micker Adolfo. Or he could be trade bait one day like the other names listed.

sgp2204

I think we’re all starting to get a little greedy. Can you imagine how happy we’d all be right now with a left fielder on the big league club that was an above average hitter and at least solid on defense? We haven’t had one of those in a long time.

Josh Nelson

Well the White Sox have a few options. I hear that Eloy Jimenez guy is pretty good.

sgp2204

I think I’ve heard of him. Is he the guy stuck in Birmingham? 

Josh Nelson
gusguyman

Not even Luther could find a reason to keep him in Bham at this point

Otter

He’s. Not. Stuck. In. Birmingham.

Everyone, stop acting like a guy who just passed 250 PA above A ball this weekend is being held back or trapped in in the minors.

Are the Padres committing a great crime keeping Tatis in AA right now? Were the Cubs idiots for making Bryant take nearly 600 PA in AA and AAA?

I get it, Eloy (and Vlad Jr) are about as close to ready as prospects who have 250 PA above A ball can be. But the Sox aren’t doing anything “wrong” here.

If the Sox wait until April 21, 2019 to call up Eloy, then yes, that’s effed up. But right now? No.

mikeyb

He’s. Absolutely. Stuck. In. Birmingham.

Everyone, stop acting like the Sox are doing this for any reason other than $$$.

Juan Soto had 8 career games at AA (0 at AAA). Are the Nationals committing a great crime by promoting him so quickly? Gleyber Torres played 32 games at AA. Are the Yankees idiots for promoting him when he was ready?

I get it, people want to believe that this front office actually knows what it’s doing. But the Sox aren’t doing anything “necessary” here.
If the Sox had callud up Eloy directly from A ball, then yes, that’s effed up. But right now? No.

Otter

You sound like a 5 year old at a toy store begging your parents for a matchbox car.

Since you don’t follow baseball, let me point out that the Nats and Yankees are in a pennant race and the White Sox are not.

But kudos on knowing more about player development and what’s best for Eloy than everyone in major and minor league baseball.

mikeyb

Kudos to you for trusting a front office who has failed at developing more than 2 meaningful prospects over the past 5 years.

Reindeer Games

So we’re complaining for complaining’s sake. Good to know.

mikeyb

Heh the best thing about the commenting format on this site is that I can’t tell which of us this is a direct response to, but it would be completely reasonable for either of us.

Reindeer Games

I’m defending Otter.

Reindeer Games

Maybe we should save down votes for offensive shit, and not opinions we disagree with?

PauliePaulie

Our future LF is on the big league club.
Yoan Moncada

sgp2204

We must have a damn good 2B and 3B in the future. Works for me.

PauliePaulie

You’ll be very happy with Madrigal and Arenado.

sgp2204

Yeah, that’ll do it.

jorgefabregas

I think y’all are focusing too much on the fact that he’s yet another college corner guy. The fact that he’s yet another Oklahoma guy also merits attention.

gusguyman

Quitt for Witt

Trooper Galactus

With the way the White Sox farm system has been replenished, I wouldn’t mind them taking a gamble on some high ceiling guys. Nothing against Walker per se, but his major league ceiling seems to be rather limited. I guess “plus hit tool left fielder with average-ish power, speed, and defense and a sub-par arm” could be a Melky Cabrera type if things pan out perfectly, but I’m not holding my breath for that.

MrTopaz

Joke’s gonna be on you. Nothing will pan out the way we expect, and in two years the Sox’ outfield is going to be a surprisingly effective Walker/Gonzalez/Avi (yes, we re-sign him, and KenWo rejoices).

Trooper Galactus

I can only assume this means that Eloy and Robert spontaneously combust between now and then.

Sophist

Eloy apparently gets a shorter leash than Adam Engel

MrTopaz

NOTHING will pan out the way we expect.

ParisSox

Who?

Otter

I know next to nothing about these kids, only what I read on various sites, but I would have liked to have seen the Sox take a HS here, especially with Alek Thomas on the board and Jeremiah Jackson sounds interesting too.

Thomas is young for his class, already has a good hit tool, athletic build, and plays in a cold weather state… now maybe the Sox had major inside info (he wasn’t signing for less than $2.5m). Hopefully Walker adds one more decent bet/chip that one of these A ball OFers turn into an average major leaguer, but he’s not the most exciting of guys they could have picked there.

lil jimmy

Today is the day they draft High School. At least one player anyway

KenWo4LiFe

Well if he doesn’t make it at least he has the name to give WWE a whirl.

All this talk about this draft and they get a guy they have a few of and a midget. Not impressed.

As Cirensica

So he starts off with high kenwar i suppose….

asinwreck

If baseball doesn’t work out, WUSN can use a guy with a name like that to host the morning show.

Reindeer Games

This pick was a good pick in my book.

I wake up to find out the #WhiteSox drafted Steele Walker who I’m pretty sure is an elderly pornstar.

— Dylan Covey's Burner Account (@GameofReindeers) June 5, 2018