Runs have been hard to come by in the SEC Conference Tournament. Except for JJ Bleday having a five-hit day in front of Derek Jeter and Miami Marlins brass to power Vanderbilt’s 11-1 victory over Auburn, and LSU blowing out Mississippi State yesterday, there has been little offense this tournament. That’s because the pitching has been very good with multiple outstanding performances from starters keeping games close. Eight out of the ten games played decided by fewer than two runs and have involved some wacky, heartbreaking ways to lose.
WHATEVER IT TAKES ? pic.twitter.com/mlKxPwqfQM— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) May 23, 2019
While White Sox Director of Amateur Scouting, Nick Hostetler, is throwing up smoke screens hinting that the team is targeting six players for the third pick in the draft, his group of scouts are looking for starting pitching help. Highly unlikely they would take Nick Lodolo or Alek Manoah over Andrew Vaughn or CJ Abrams, but with the 45th pick, there are emerging options.
This crop is still lacking in overall talent, but two pitchers caught my eye in their SEC Tournament starts that I think could be options for the White Sox at pick 45 or 81.
John Doxakis – LHP – Texas A&M
Fastball: 90-91 mph
Slider: 82 mph
Changeup: 78 mph
Fastball 55 | Slider 50 | Changeup 50 | Control 55 | Overall 50
Fastball: 40/50 | Slider: 50/55 | Changeup: 50/55| Command: 40/50 | Overall: 40
The Aggies suffered a heartbreaking loss that knocked them out of the SEC Tournament to Ole Miss, 1-0, but Doxakis kept the Rebels scoreless and hitless for eight innings. Even though his stuff is not electric and doesn’t light up radar guns, Doxakis displayed an excellent understanding of his pitches work by continuing to nail the outside corner against righties with all three pitches. For the left-handed hitters, they had a terrible time dealing with his slider sweeping away from them.
For the game, Doxakis final line was 8 IP 0 H 0 R 4 BB 10 K. Even with a no-hitter on the line, Doxakis was pulled after 99 pitches.
While we wait to see which Regional Texas A&M will be assigned to begin their postseason run, Doxakis overall body of work in 2019 is 97.2 IP 1.84 ERA 74 H 106 K 26 BB. Credit to A&M’s coaching staff as they did not abuse Doxakis this season limiting to fewer than 110 pitches in any of his starts.
There is a big difference in opinion for Doxakis on where he’ll land up. MLBPipeline has Doxakis ranked 42nd overall, Fangraphs has Doxakis at 112th, and Baseball America splits the two lists ranking him 53rd.
In my opinion, adding Doxakis would be like the White Sox drafting Konnor Pilkington last year. A possible first-round arm that overall stuff was a bit lacking but understanding the art of pitching allows them to make a good first impression against the A-level competition.
Isaiah Campbell – RHP – Arkansas
Fastball: 91-94 mph
Cutter: 88 mph
Slider: 82 mph
Fastball 60 | Slider 55 | Curveball 45 | Splitter 50 | Control 50 | Overall 50
Isaiah Campbell has the prototypical size for a pitcher standing at 6’4” and getting the downward plane on his three-pitch mix. Facing Georgia, who is a strong contender to reach Omaha this season, was a good test for Campbell because it was a dogfight pitted against 2020 potential first rounder SP Cole Wilcox.
Campbell mostly sat at 91 mph with his fastball which is short of the 60-grade pitch that other publications have given him for that pitch. Mixing in the cutter against right-handers to bust them inside, Campbell induces many grounders which is always a good thing.
The breaking ball is a slider, and it’s OK. Campbell will need to work on the cutter and slider when turning professional because a concern I have is generating swinging misses. If a team can help him develop that cutter to be a sharper pitch, maybe it will also help his slider.
Only throwing 71 pitches, Campbell last five innings against Georgia only allowing two hits and three walks to three strikeouts, and no runs allowed. On the season in 15 starts, Campbell has pitched 95 innings with a 2.37 ERA, and 100 strikeouts to 18 walks. MLBPipeline has Campbell ranked 45th, Baseball America 49th in their Top 500, and Fangraphs 71st putting Campbell squarely into the second to the third round range.