White Sox battling for the third pick in 2019 MLB Draft

One of these days the Chicago White Sox are going to enter the season’s final week with a postseason berth on the line. Until that happens all eyes are on the 2019 MLB Draft order which is already starting to firm up with the Baltimore Orioles clinching next year’s number one pick. The second overall pick will be the Kansas City Royals, but what makes this tanking interesting is who will be slotted behind them.

Source: tankathon.com

For those that don’t care where the White Sox pick in the draft the race you can fixate on is third place in the AL Central. The Detroit Tigers haven’t run away from the White Sox, and loss column difference is two games. It’s possible that the White Sox play well enough this week against the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins they end up with the sixth pick in next year’s draft. Which from where they currently stand would be ending the season strong.

The “Tankers” fans who are hoping for the worst this week can rejoice because the White Sox are in the driver’s seat to pick after the Royals. Below is each team in contention for the third pick and the games they have remaining by opponent.

Chicago White Sox

Games: 6 (2 vs. Cleveland, 4 at Minnesota)
Season W-L record vs. opponents: 4-13 vs. Cleveland; 7-8 vs. Minnesota
Fangraphs projected record this week: 3-3
Projected final record: 64-98

San Diego Padres

Games: 5 (2 at San Francisco, 3 vs. Arizona)
Season W-L record vs. opponents: 7-10 vs. San Francisco; 5-11 vs. Arizona
Fangraphs projected record this week: 2-3
Projected final record: 65-97

Miami Marlins

Games: 6 (2 at Washington; 3 at New York Mets; 1 at Pittsburgh Pirates)
Season W-L record vs. opponents: 6-11 vs. Washington; 6-10 vs. New York Mets; 1-4 vs. Pittsburgh
Fangraphs projected record this week: 2-4
Projected final record: 64-98

Detroit Tigers

Games: 6 (3 at Minnesota; 3 at Milwaukee)
Season W-L record vs. opponents: 6-10 vs. Minnesota; first time facing Milwaukee)
Fangraphs projected record this week: 2-4
Projected final record: 65-97

Cincinnati Reds

Games: 5 (2 vs. Kansas City; 3 vs. Pittsburgh)
Season W-L record vs. opponents: 2-0 vs. Kansas City; 4-12 vs. Pittsburgh
Fangraphs projected record this week: 2-3
Projected final record: 68-94

Texas Rangers

Games: 6 (2 at Los Angeles Angels; 4 at Seattle)
Season W-L record vs. opponents: 6-11 vs. Los Angeles Angels; 8-7 vs. Seattle
Fangraphs projected record this week: 3-3
Projected final record: 69-93

Projected Draft Order

Pick Team Wins Losses
1 Baltimore Orioles 48 114
2 Kansas City Royals 56 106
3 Chicago White Sox^ 64 98
4 Miami Marlins 64 98
5 Detroit Tigers* 65 97
6 San Diego Padres 65 97
7 Cincinnati Reds 68 94
8 Texas Rangers 69 93

^White Sox control tiebreaker for having a worse record than Miami in 2017.

*Detroit controls tiebreaker for having the worst record in 2017.

If you enjoyed our coverage of the 2018 MLB Draft we will be continuing that for 2019. What kind of prospects are teams tanking for in the 2019 MLB Draft? After the 2018 season and Summer circuit this draft class is heavy on bats. Part quality, and part lack of top-end pitching available. A good sign is that there are a few shortstop options could be considered in the top 10 picks. Below is our initial 2019 MLB Draft watch list.

Rank Player School Position Notes
1 Adley Rutschman Oregon State C Switch-hitting Rutschman was terrific in the CWS and broke Oregon State school record for most RBI in a season (83). How will he build off his .408/.505/.628 season is the question heading into ’19.
2 Bobby Witt Jr. Coleyville Heritage HS SS Watched Witt Jr. playing the Under Armour showcase at Wrigley Field in July. Demonstrated patience by walking twice, and then showed off the power hitting a monster home run. Quick, strong hands gives him a plus offensive ceiling but average skills at the moment defensively. Reminds me of former Texas Rangers SS, Michael Young. Oklahoma commit.
3 C.J. Abrams Bless Trinity HS SS Abrams has plus-plus athleticism with pop in his bat. Was 2-for-4 with a double and stolen base at the UA showcase. Very quick feet gives him expanded range at shortstop but needs to smooth out his throwing mechanics. Alabama commit.
4 Bryson Stott UNLV SS Some think Stott will need to move to 3B long term, but I think he improved his ability to stick at shortstop at UNLV and with Team USA over the summer. Below average power paired with plus contact skills and advanced approach at the plate make him a well-rounded prospect. Hit .365/442/.556 in 2018 with 30 doubles.
5 Riley Greene Hagerty HS OF I didn’t know much about Greene going into the UA showcase but he made a great first impression slugging a home run to right field at Wrigley. Big day going 2-for-3 with the HR and walk. I’m unsure about his ability to play CF, but he’s got 55-60 grade speed with a strong arm. Florida commit.
6 Matt Wallner Southern Miss OF 2017 Freshman of the Year, Wallner caught my attention in the 2017 NCAA postseason against UIC. Big power potential with a plus-plus arm in RF. Southern Miss tried him as a pitcher last year with limited success but he hit 96 mph off the mound. 2018 saw a slight dip in slugging (.655 SLG in ’17, .618 SLG in ’18), but if Wallner can find a way to increase his power he could be a Top 5 pick.
7 Andrew Vaughn Cal 1B 2018 Golden Spikes winner. Andrew Vaughn is the most mature hitter of this class. Can be a fast riser in any system with plus power to all fields and terrific batters eye (44 BB to 18 K’s in 2018). Athletically limited to first base. Hit .402/.531/.819 with 23 HR in 2018.
8 Nick Quintana Arizona SS Quintana is coming off a excellent 2018 season with Arizona (.313/.413/.592) and a good Cape Cod season (.259/.351/.435). Would like to see Quintana reduce his strikeout total this upcoming season, but I like him a bit more than Clemson’s Logan Davidson and Texas A&M’s Braden Shewmake.
9 Rece Hinds Niceville HS 3B There was a lot of chatter at Wrigley about Rece Hinds power potential. Big kid at 6’4″ with an upper cut swing didn’t display much at Wrigley, but I heard scouts drop 70-grade on his power potential. LSU commit.
10 Josh Jung Texas Tech 3B Jung is known for talking to his bat before each plate appearance. Whatever he says to it works as he went 6-for-14 in the CWS. Big year offensively in 2018 (.392/.491/.639, 80 RBI) but Jung has impressed me with his defense with a soft hands, quick feet, and a strong arm at third base. If he improves in 2019 with his bat, I could see a rise similar to that of Alec Bohm up the draft standings.

 

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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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roke1960

So it looks like we’re playing for a shortstop that can help us in 5 years, or some outfielders, that can play in the first 5 man outfield with Robert, Eloy, Rutherford and Basabe. I’d rather win the last 5 and pick 6th.

Jer-in-Az

I’m all for the 3rd overall pick, even if the player never makes it to the majors and only shows up on prospect list. He would provide more enjoyment than a few meaningless wins at the end of 2018 (actually they wouldn’t be meaningless because they would hurt the draft position).

roke1960

So if he never makes it to the majors, how will he provide more enjoyment? If he shows up on the prospect lists and then doesn’t make it, that would be another failure on Hahn’s part. Unless you get enjoyment out of seeing Hahn fail.

fustercluck

prospects can be traded

roke1960

Not if they are failures.

Jer-in-Az

Truthfully dreaming of  what could be for 30 mins after he is drafted is worth more than going 5-1 over the last 6…I mean let’s be realistic. Maybe if we had a chance to play spoiler, but if you really feel like finishing with the 6th pick is better than the 3rd pick because we got to win 2 more games at the end of this season, then we are never going to agree. 

35Shields

Let’s be more realistic. If the Sox finish behind the Tigers, then I have to buy a six pack for my college roommate. That six pack will probably cost at least $12.

I harbor no doubts that drinking that six pack with an extra $12 in my pocket will provide more enjoyment than whatever marginal improvement in draft position the White Sox FO manages to squander next year.

Jer-in-Az

I can respect this situation. 

johnnyg83

I don’t understand how anyone can prefer meaningless wins vs. three more chances to pick the guy you want. It, blows, my mind.

Yolmer's gatorade

If the Sox are planning to have a bad 2019 season, I can see them drafting a HS player first understanding it’ll be a few years before he is close to the majors. If they play well in 2019, I could see them grabbing Vaughn or another college bat to fast track him to the majors. Same would go for any college pitcher that distinguishes himself next year.

lil jimmy

Adley Rutschman is the best player in the draft it appears. Seeing him play this summer, he looks ready now.

Lurker Laura

And for his efforts, he gets to play for the Orioles!

lil jimmy

The best prospect doesn’t always get picked first. Adley being there at #3 is a possibility.

Lurker Laura

That would be awesome, if so. Depends on if the O’s and Royals are taking the long view, or want somebody now.

Patrick Nolan

Just pick a good player and you’re fine. One’s going to be available no matter whether the Sox pick third or sixth. Getting the scouting right is far, far more important than the actual draft location, even at this high a slot. The average MLB WAR per draft slot indicates that we’re really not moving far on projections if we slide down a slot or two (moving up would be another story, but that’s impossible). Just pick the right guy. Some Sox fans complain a lot that we picked Joe Blow instead of Johnny All-Star, who was taken right after Joe Blow. As annoying as that woulda-coulda-shoulda mindset is, the one useful thing it contributes is that Johnny All-Star was on the board and available.

Maybe I’m just annoyed that we’ve been talking about “reverse standings” for six straight seasons, but it really doesn’t matter all that much what happens at this point. When it determined whether our pick was protected or not, that was a bigger deal, worth following, and actually justified rooting for losses, but interest/fetishization of the draft order is a big part of what’s wrong with baseball and baseball fandom (no disrespect to Josh, who’s merely reporting on something that a large amount of people unfortunately care about).

We should want guys like Moncada, Lopez, and Anderson to finish strong. Shit, I’m even sorta re-interested in Covey now. I’m cool if the “unimportant” guys blow all of the games, as obviously the loss has a very marginal benefit and winning helps little, but with so few pending free agents and guys who you probably just write off (Delmonico?) at this point, that’s a pretty small subset of White Sox players.

Just take the Quintana kid. That name plays.

/end rant

Jer-in-Az

Those final standing projections include a 3-3 finish, plenty of room for quality games from key player and still ending up with the 3rd pick. 

35Shields

What can I say? I guess I’m just a part of that strange and dwindling population that actually cheers for their team to win games

roke1960

I agree 100%. Aren’t you fans sick and tired of tanking? I want my team to win. I dont care where we finish in the draft standings.

35Shields

Seriously. The last time they had a winning season, I was a freshman in college.

I just can’t find it in me to actively root against my team for some slightly higher likelihood that they get a player who won’t come up until I’m nearing 30.

roke1960

I’m 58. I’ve never rooted against the Sox and I won’t start now. To say that getting a slightly higher pick is worth more wins in the future is flawed. Hahn will likely screw up the pick anyway. That mindset that roots for higher picks is not one I ever hope to ever have.

Jer-in-Az

Extremely tired of loosing.  For 90% of the season I was rooting for wins, if the average WAR difference from 3rd to 6th is, say, .5 per season extrapolate that to 6-7 seasons and who is cheering for more wins.?

lil jimmy

My preference as of now is a very good off season. One that offers clear intentions of our near term future. 2019 should be something other than tanking and hoarding prospects.

35Shields

True, but it’s less asinine in those sports because
– most NBA/NFL draft picks will debut the next season as opposed to the MLB where a two-year wait is considered the fast track
– individual players have a much bigger impact in those sports
– it’s the only source of talent acquisition from outside the league
– the less development required between college and those leagues leads to a much higher correlation between draft position and expected production

Patrick Nolan

All of this, thank you.

johnnyg83

there’s a difference betwixt “fetishization” and understanding what the reward for winning or losing 6 games in a lost/rebuild season.

Patrick Nolan

there are people who have been tracking this and actively rooting for losses since july, and even earlier

Jer-in-Az

Well, whatever floats their boat, but this post and subsequent conversations have been about the last 6 regular season games. Are views would have aligned in July. 

Greg Nix

It’s a very small silver lining, but I’m glad the Sox are “normal” bad and not “Orioles” bad.

Lurker Laura

I hear ya. Very small lining, but I’ll take it.

MrStealYoBase

Look at the top 10 list from this time last year compared to right before the draft and you know a lot can change. That said, Rutschman and DeWitt look like locks to go in the top 5. I’ve rooted for the Sox to play well all season. But given that it’s the last week and this might be the last draft with a chance to make an impact in the Rodon-window, I’m cheering for #3. Adley could be a difference maker right out of the gate and the Sox desperately need more guys like that. Any opportunity you have to maximize your chances of getting him has to be taken.

Jer-in-Az

Hang him!  He isn’t a fan, not win every game from here out, I am aghast. 

roke1960

Just win the damn games and let the draft position play itself out. It’s a good thing the Sox didn’t draft first when then got Rodon. They probably would have taken Brady Aiken or Kolek. They sure turned out well.

egib52

I have strong feeling it would have been Rodon regardless where we picked in the top 3. Who was the last high school pitcher the Sox took in the first round? I believe it was Honel in 2000. I am with Jer-in-Az, feel free to secure the third pick. Ultimately there is probably not a huge difference, but I would prefer the Sox pick from 8 of the top 10, and not 5 of the top 10. I had hoped all season this team would go on a run, but when we have 6 left and nothing to really gain other than a slight amount of confidence I will take the better draft pick.

roke1960

So feel free to root for the Twins this weekend.

peejsox

Yeah I think if Rodon was off the board they were going to take Nola.  

lil jimmy

That is my understanding as well.

DrCrawdad

I’m all in for tanking 

denbum

First round draft pick position seem irrelevant unless the organization has targeted a particular player or position. Top ten picks for Sox include Thomas (7th) Ventura (10th) Sale (13th) McDowell (5th) Tim Anderson (17th) as well as notables Durham (132nd) and poster boy for late pick Buehrle (1139th – 165th pick in the 38th round). Most rosters include many players drafted in later rounds.Conversely, many first round picks bust out.
But if a certain player/position is targeted, then pick position becomes more important. For instance this year, catcher Rutschman is consesus top 3 pick and in most mock drafts is designated overall #1 pick. Also in top 3, 4, or 5 is another catcher, Shea Longeliers (Baylor). So if the Sox feel that their future catcher may not be Collins, Zuvala, Skoug, et al, either Rutschman or Longeliers may be Hahn’s target. In that case, tanking does count as the only way to insure they get one of these 2 catchers is to finish with the worst or second worst W-L record. Since that can’t happen this year, finishing 3rd to last is next best, with the hope of either Balt or KC NOT picking one of the two targets.