White Sox 2021 MLB Draft Day 3 Recap: From major programs to small high school

While the White Sox went heavy on pitchers in the second round of the draft, their imbalance paled in comparison to those of other teams. The Angels went all-in on the position, drafting a pitcher in all 20 rounds.

The White Sox used the third day of the draft to diversify their portfolio, at least in terms of positions. They selected one prep player of note and a couple of juco players, but the crop had an emphasis on major programs that White Sox scouting director Mike Shirley said wasn’t an accident:

“Guys who come from programs that do a lot of the development already,” White Sox director of amateur scouting Mike Shirley said, “you think the Johnny Rays of the world, Terrell Tatum, Jayson Gonzalez, Adam Hackenberg and even Haylen Green. You have TCU, Clemson, Vanderbilt, NC State. These guys come with the grit and the grind, the makeup to give your system the balance that will make a difference for you.

“Sometimes when you think about taking Colson Montgomery, Wes Kath, you want to put pieces around these guys to help stabilize, make them understand from their peer groups what it takes to be championship-type players. That’s what you buy with Power 5 conference kids. They really provide stability in the clubhouse. You think about the Major League team, with some of the players we have who came out of that sector, you start to realize the value of how it makes everybody better.”

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11th round: Christian Edwards, RHP, Jacksonville State

Edwards posted a 2.48 ERA with 83 strikeouts to 27 walks over 69 innings in his junior year as the Gamecocks’ Friday night starter.

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12th round: Johnny Ray, RHP, TCU

Ranked: BA: No. 350

Poor old Johnny Ray posted a 6.50 ERA in 2021 thanks to problems with walks (28) and homers (13) over his 44⅓ innings with the Horned Frogs. He’s got plus velocity and some sharpness to his curveball according to Baseball America, but he struggles to throw strikes with the latter, and the former doesn’t miss bats. He missed 2019 to Tommy John surgery and the pandemic limited his 2020 season to four starts, so the White Sox may see a relatively blank slate.

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13th round: Colby Smelley, C, Shelton State CC

Smelley made a successful transition from pitcher to catcher at the Tuscaloosa, Ala. junior college, hitting .435/.540/.661 with more walks than strikeouts. He’s signed with the University of Lousiianaand signing with the University of Louisiana. He told the Tuscaloosa News that he’s undecided on his path.

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14th round: Noah Owen, RHP, Golden West College

Owen posted a 3.15 ERA with 49 strikeouts against seven walks over 40 innings for the junior college in Huntington Beach, Calif. He signed a commitment with Washington State, which would be his third collegiate program after spending 2019 with the University of San Diego, and then one game in 2020 with UC Santa Barbara.

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15th round: Cameron Butler, OF, Big Valley Christian HS (Calif.)

Ranked: BA: No. 210

Butler, who has the fourth-highest ranking on Baseball America’s Top 500 list among the White Sox 2021 draft class, sounds like he’s forgoing a commitment to Cal Poly to go pro. Baseball America says Butler didn’t see much advanced competition in the Modesto area, but he demolished what he saw.

He played shortstop in high school, but he’s listed as an outfielder in the draft lists. BA says he has the athleticism to cover both.

Butler has some crudeness to his game and will swing and miss, but he keeps improving and optimistic evaluators see the tools to project him becoming an average hitter with above-average power. Butler is an impressive athlete who makes Derek Jeter-esque backhanded plays and jump throws from shortstop. He is a plus runner who is light on his feet and has the plus arm strength to make throws from anywhere on the field. Butler isn’t particularly polished and may move to second base or center field at the higher levels, but he is athletic enough to stand in at shortstop and provide defensive versatility up the middle. Butler has rarely faced good competition and requires a lot of projection, but his strength and athleticism have teams interested. He draws high marks for his work ethic and has the makeup to get the most from his natural ability.

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16th round: Terrell Tatum, OF, NC State

The junior hit .317/.423/.543 with 12 homers, 16 steals, 33 walks and 68 strikeouts over 53 games with the Wolfpack, most of which were as a DH. He garnered All-ACC honors for his regular season. He was one of the numerous Wolfpack players sidelined in the College World Series against Vanderbilt due to a COVID-19 outbreak, but here’s a homer off second-overall pick Jack Leiter when he was able to play.

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17th round: Jayson Gonzalez, 3B, Vanderbilt

The Commodores third baseman hit .280/.391/.497 over 61 games in his junior season, including nine homers. He hit another one in Game 1 of the College World Series national championship series against Mississippi State.

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18th round: Adam Hackenburg, C, Clemson

The brother of former Penn State and New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg, Adam Hackenberg hit .258/.357/.392 in 33 games for Clemson in 2021.

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19th round: Shawn Goosenberg, SS, Northwestern

With his .362/.426/.717 performance in 2021, Goosenberg first or second on the Wildcats leaderboard in all three slash lines, along with homers (14), doubles (12) and RBIs (30). He also went 10-for-10 in stolen bases, which is the kind of all-around production that makes him a coach’s favorite.

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20th round: Haylen Green, LHP, TCU

TCU’s 5-foot-11-inch, 185-pound closer with a sidearmed delivery struck out 55 against just five walks over 48⅔ innings. His 3.33 ERA was softened by six of his 24 runs being unearned. The final pick of the White Sox draft does not have any connections or relations to the White Sox front office.

(Photo by Jayson Gonzalez by Steven Branscombe/USA TODAY Sports)

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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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Shelley or Smelley? The blurb has both names

Joliet Orange Sox

It’s Smelley which really helps him make the all-name team. In confirming the name, I learned he went to the same high school as Tim Anderson.


A few of these bats sound like they have real upside. Obviously stats aren’t everything, but I can’t believe numbers like those of Tatum and Goosenberg slipped as far as they did.


Not sure where to ask this question, but is the Patreon version of the podcast available on Spotify? I’ve just about had it with the Apple podcast app.


Okay, thanks Jim.


I’m glad the team drafted some bats on Day 3. Personally, I’m looking forward to following the ups and downs of Smelley, Goosenberg, and Butler.


Poor old Johnny Ray posted a 6.50 ERA in 2021

I see what you did there. I *hope* he doesn’t sound sad on the radio.

Greg Nix

Toora loora toora loo rye ayyyyy