We’ll be keeping tabs on the various Mock Drafts that are released this month in future posts on Sox Machine, but the one I pay attention to the most is MLBPipeline. Jim Callis has been covering the MLB Draft for more than 25+ years and has a great relationship with the White Sox brass. If he mocks a player to the White Sox, it’s a credible target. Plus, in-person reports are seeing the White Sox in big numbers watching Abrams in late April.
That team that I saw last Wednesday is now picking CJ Abrams over Andrew Vaughn in the latest Pipeline mock. It’s not a coincidence as they seemed very high on him(speaking from standing right next to them to tape an AB or two) https://t.co/PUikuCt1MB— Matt Powers (@MattPowers31) May 3, 2019
That’s why on Friday when Callis mocked high school shortstop CJ Abrams to the White Sox, it was a refreshing surprise. The assumption has been that Baltimore, Kansas City, and the White Sox were already locked in with the first three picks going Adley Rutschman, Bobby Witt Jr., and Andrew Vaughn. Not that there would be anything wrong with the Sox drafting Vaughn as I wrote in my draft profile he fills the need for more power in the lineup plus man first baseman after Jose Abreu leaves.
Before this weekend’s series when Rick Hahn dropped the bad news about Carlos Rodon’s throwing arm, he also talked about Tim Anderson after winning American League Player of the Month honors and how the team could benefit having 25 Anderson-like players.
Hahn: “I feel pretty strongly that if we had 25 guys in that clubhouse that approach the game like Tim Anderson does, we’d wind up with a pretty damn good ballclub.”— James Fegan (@JRFegan) May 2, 2019
Well, CJ Abrams is a Tim Anderson-like player. Raw, toolsy shortstop whose athleticism is second-to-none. That’s the short preview of a more extended draft profile that will be coming soon on this site, but it does give us something else to pay attention climbing closer to June’s draft.
Other draft notes:
Cal baseball has won six of their last seven games which is helping boost their chances of making Regionals for the first time with Andrew Vaughn. They’ve already won the series against Utah without needing a lot of help from Vaughn. The Utes have neutralized Vaughn in the first two games holding him to 1-for-7 with a double, three walks, and two strikeouts. Overall in Pac-12 competition, Vaughn has picked up his performance in conference play hitting .301/.453/.466 even as teams are still trying to stay away from attacking him.
After the news about Rodon, I was asked about if the White Sox would think about drafting Nick Lodolo with pick three. Well, if the last month is any indication of Lodolo’s profile, I’ll say no. On Friday night featured what many believe is the two best college starters in this draft: Lodolo, and West Virginia’s Alek Manoah.
Lodolo allowed a single, a double, and a home run to the first three batters. Down 3-0, the silver lining is Lodolo overcame that miserable start. He only allowed two more hits and no further damage with a line of 6 IP 5 H 3 ER 2 BB 9 K throwing 108 pitches. Lodolo pitched better than Manoah, who coughed up the early lead in the sixth allowing four earned runs over six innings of work striking out only five while walking four in 120 pitches. West Virginia would allow 10 runs in the seventh inning to make it a laugher late, but Lodolo looked better than Manoah.
That doesn’t mean that Lodolo will be the first starting pitcher taken in next month’s draft. Kentucky LHP Zack Thompson has been impressive in SEC play. If you remember the preseason 2019 Draft post, Thompson was in my top three college starting pitchers list but had a red flag with a significant injury last season.
Well, in seven SEC starts, Thompson’s conference line is 49 IP 30 H 8 ER 17 BB 65 K. He pitched a masterpiece complete game shutout against Georgia on March 29 striking out 13 batters. It’ll be interesting if Thompson can keep this pace up because if he can, I wouldn’t be shocked if he leaps Lodolo on some draft boards.
While I do think the White Sox will take a position player in the first round, they can address pitching in the second and third rounds as I see some fits at pick 45 and 81.
For the second round, I’m paying close attention to Rice University RHP Matt Canterino. Watching his start on Friday against Western Kentucky, Canterino was hitting 94 mph consistently with his fastball which pairs nicely with a sharp curveball used as his strikeout pitch.
Western Kentucky finally figured out Canterino in the seventh inning scoring two runs, but it was an excellent performance going 7 IP 6 H 2 ER 2 BB 11 K. For the season, Canterino has a 2.68 ERA with a 23.15 K% and 3.82 BB%.
Closer to pick 81 there are three pitchers to keep on eye on:
- Drey Jameson – Ball State
- Isaiah Campbell – Arkansas
- John Doxalis – Texas A&M