2021 MLB Draft: Four college pitchers White Sox could consider with 22nd pick

Sox Machine logo for MLB Draft coverage

College pitching is the 2021 MLB Draft’s second strongest pool behind prep hitters. The Vandy Boys of Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker have grabbed most of the attention. Behind them, Texas RHP Ty Madden and Kansas State LHP Jordan Wicks are expected to be selected within the first 20 picks. 

While the rumors of the Chicago White Sox selecting a prep bat at with the 22nd pick still exist, there are whispers that the front office is contemplating a college pitcher. Below are four pitchers who could find themselves available to the White Sox when it’s their turn to draft in the first round. 

Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (OH)

Possessing a fastball that hits triple-digits, Sam Bachman has the type of talent and arsenal to be selected in the top 10. Unfortunately, the concerns about Bachman’s injury history could cause him to drop in the draft despite what the rankings say. 

In his junior year, Bachman missed time after his Feb. 26 start against FIU, when he struck out 10 over six innings. Bachman didn’t return to the mound until March 20, and that was out of the bullpen. As he built up his workload each week, Bachman returned to starting games on April 10. The last seven starts for Bachman saw his elite velocity return, and the results were impressive. Over 39.2 IP, Bachman struck out 61 to just 10 walks. Opposing batters had just 19 hits with only one home run, and Bachman’s ERA during that stretch was 2.28. 

When a pitcher has this type of velocity paired with what some scouts believe is a 70-grade slider, a team will be tempted to draft and call up Bachman to help out of the bullpen, much like what the White Sox did last year with Garrett Crochet. I have little doubt that Bachman can strike out hitters in the major leagues. 

Unlike Crochet, I do believe that Bachman can be developed into a starter given time. I see a Corbin Burnes-type profile and expect Bachman to be one of the top 15 picks. However, if the injury history does scare enough teams that Bachman falls to the White Sox at No. 22, I sense a tough decision in the draft war room. 

Gavin Williams, RHP, East Carolina

For Sox Machine Patreon supporters, I wrote about Gavin Williams after his electric Super Regional performance against Vanderbilt. Along with Colson Montgomery, Wes Kath, and Max Muncy, Williams has been a name I’ve heard the White Sox considering at Pick 22. Even though it is not a long track record of starting for Williams, the arsenal does remind me of Michael Kopech.

I would advise any team selecting Williams in the mid-to-late first round to continue letting him develop as a starter. Just like Bachman, a team will be tempted to put Williams in their major league bullpen trying to take advantage of a 98-mph fastball paired with above-average offerings of his slider and changeup. There’s also an injury history with Williams that limited him to just three innings pitched in the shortened 2020 campaign. 

If the White Sox were to select Williams, I’d hope to see him take the rest of 2021 off and have him ready to start 2022 at Winston-Salem (High-A). There’s a special arm with the potential to become an impact starting pitcher if handled with the same care as they did with Michael Kopech pre-and-post Tommy John. Williams would be a good insurance plan if a contract extension with Lucas Giolito doesn’t come to fruition. 

Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State

Thanks to an incredible performance in the College World Series, Mississippi State’s Will Bednar is in the spotlight leading up to Sunday. In his three starts at Omaha, Bednar pitched 18.1 innings, only allowing five hits and three earned runs while striking out 26 batters. The fastball sits at 94 mph, and I’ve seen it touch 96, but what captures everyone’s attention is his slider, which has Sharp break that right-handed hitters frequently give up on. Bednar uses the slider as a putaway offering, but he also likes throwing it for a first-pitch strike just to keep hitters from jumping on his fastball early to avoid falling behind in the count. 

Bednar needs to work on his changeup as he doesn’t use that pitch often in starts (<10% usage). It’s also a bigger body type that may give teams pause, but it reminds me of Lance Lynn. Once again, injury history may come into play as Bednar suffered a shoulder injury in 2019 that pushed him to Mississippi State.

Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara 

Michael McGreevy is someone that has a wide range where he could be drafted. Some think he’ll be taken in the Comp Rounds or the early second round. Then others could see McGreevy not even make it to the White Sox at Pick 22 because of his elite command. 

In 16 starts, McGreevy pitched 101.2 innings while only walking 11 against 115 strikeouts for the season. McGreevy is viewed as someone with projection left in his development. The fastball sits between 92-93 mph and is paired with a curve and slider. Again, depending on who you ask, some believe McGreevy can gain additional velocity from his delivery. If he can, then McGreevy becomes a pitcher with a 60-grade velocity at 60-grade command. That combination plays in the major leagues.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Become a patron at Patreon!
5 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
knoxfire30

I’ve been surprised by the high volume of talk centering around prep bats with the Whitesox.

They have actually done pretty well drafting college arms…. their current window is open, 2 of their starting 5 pitchers could walk this year, and 1 more next year. Why not take a college starting pitcher looking ahead at 2023-2024 as years where some of the big bats Eloy, Moncada, Anderson, Robert become a bit more expensive and the sox will likely be hurting for starting pitching.

I would be very tempted to take Gavin Williams… you can go prep bat rounds 2 and 3

Soxfan2

My dream scenario is taking a college pitcher at 22 and then someone like Peyton Stovall makes it to us in the 2nd round. I highly doubt he drops that far but you never know.

soxygen

I can’t make up my mind on which approach makes more sense (prep bat or college arm) but among the college pitchers Gavin Williams is the one who sounds most appealing.

phillyd

Josh, would you be upset if the Sox took any of these guys?