White Sox’s first two 2022 picks are pitchers who require patience

When the White Sox have selected a pitcher in the first round of the draft, it’s because they’ve wanted to see him as soon as possible.

2020: Garrett Crochet went from being selected at No. 11 to pitching for the White Sox at the end of the year without any minor-league experience, but in the White Sox’s defense, there was no minor-league experience to be found in 2020.

2016: Zack Burdi made it as high as as Charlotte in the same year he was drafted out of Louisville 26th overall, but the White Sox’s postseason hopes fizzled, and an arduous rehab period after Tommy John surgery the next season doused Burdi’s potential.

2015: The White Sox promoted Carson Fulmer up the chain, and ultimately to the majors, a year after the Sox selected him eighth overall. The problem was that Fulmer never really earned promotions after A-ball, and Robin Ventura had no idea how to use Fulmer at the MLB level. That was one of the few things for which Ventura couldn’t be blamed.

2014: Carlos Rodón could’ve pitched out of the White Sox bullpen at the end of the year if there were a need. Because the White Sox were still in the middle of their first rebuild, there wasn’t one. But they did try to break out of the intentional-losing period over the winter, so Rodón only pitched two games for Charlotte before spending the rest of the year in the White Sox rotation.

2010: Rodón was fast-tracked like that because the White Sox had incredible results with Chris Sale, who threw just 10 innings in the minors, transitioned seamlessly to the White Sox bullpen, which begat a smooth and startlingly successful transition to the White Sox rotation. He might be a Hall of Famer.

The White Sox spent the next decade understanding how rare a beast Sale was. Even Rodón, who spent his career at NC State understanding that he wasn’t destined to ride minor-league buses for long, struggled to maintain effectiveness in the majors because he never figured out a routine for pitching every five days over six months. That process took him the better part of six years.


Looking at it through this lens, the White Sox’s first two selections in the 2022 draft were built with anti-impatience devices included. With the 26th overall pick, the White Sox selected Noah Schultz out of Oswego East High School, whose draft stock was held back by a case of mono in the spring. In the second round, the Sox selected Arkansas righty Peyton Pallette, who had Tommy John surgery in January and won’t be ready until sometime next year.

The bad news is that neither pitcher can be penciled into MLB plans three years from now. That could also be the good news, because that means the White Sox aren’t counting on the first round of the draft as a quick fix for MLB emergencies.

Both angles are valid, because the White Sox haven’t shied away from seven-figure bonuses for prep arms, and they’ve yet to see results. They spent $4.1 million on Matthew Thompson and Drew Dalquist in the second and third rounds of 2019, followed by $3 million on Jared Kelley, and none of those prospects has any considerable momentum in A-ball thus far. Ideally, you’d like to see somebody like Schultz drafted after the White Sox have established a bit of a track record with teenage arms.

That said, while Schultz wasn’t expected to go in the first round, everybody seems to understand why the White Sox wanted him there. He’s a 6-foot-9-inch lefty who White Sox scouting director Mike Shirley stresses does not move like a 6-foot-9-inch teenager.

“If he doesn’t get mono, Noah Schultz could be going extremely high in this draft,” Shirley said. “You sometimes think about the awkwardness of a guy being 6-foot-9, but he does not move like that. The weapons operate with little effort. You’re talking about a guy who we saw up to 98 miles an hour in his opening start before the mono. He came out hot. Our staff, being that he’s local, was able to get there.”

It can be very difficult to mechanically sync up such a long-levered frame, and league scouts view Schultz as a project to harness plus stuff into usable command. But the reason Shirley emphasizes Schultz’s ease of movement is to express optimism that he’s athletic enough to improve his command as he matures and continues to add strength.

And if he has a full spring and a showcase circuit sans rust, maybe he doesn’t stand a shot at dropping to the White Sox. But even if Schultz didn’t battle illness, he’ll still have to contend with some shifts in how he moves, because you’d figure that frame will add weight. Hell, at 18, a little more height remains in play.

The Sox don’t have a whole lot of precedents here, but given the extreme nature of Schultz’s profile, even some success from the Thompson/Kelley/Dalquist tier would provide so much instruction. Schultz is far more intriguing on draft day than anybody from that trio, so the Sox are in charge with maintaining a difference, rather than building up a distinction that makes a difference in professional ball.

As for Pallette, his case is a lot more cut-and-dried. He at least has a season in the Arkansas rotation under his belt, but before the Sox can chart a trajectory from the SEC to the big leagues, they first have to manage a recovery from Tommy John surgery. Fulmer and Burdi are humbling examples of neither process being assumable, but that territory is well-trod, and first comes waiting until 2023.

In a perfect situation, this combination of pitchers would’ve landed while Thompson, Dalquist and/or Kelley advanced into Double-A with Sean Burke maintaining a fast-trackable profile. As it stands, the White Sox have Davis Martin as the lone high-minors success story, and Cristian Mena providing the undercard as the 19-year-old to watch in Winston-Salem. Alas, after Mena and Norge Vera, Schultz and Pallette are the next pitchers to watch, and even optimistic timelines don’t have them helping this particular White Sox window.

If nothing else, these selections show that the White Sox scouting department is free to operate independently from 26-man roster pressures, and that hasn’t always been the case. Whether that translates into MLB success on any timeline remains to be seen, but now that they’re drafting at the end of the first round again, all expectations are automatically tempered due to the naturally lower success rate. You may as well indulge that luxury with a healthy and healing shrug.

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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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a-t

It’s obv not *good* that Pallette is rehabbing from TJS, but the timing (Jan) isn’t too bad, because it means he’ll be just about ready to go for spring training next year. Losing out on complex league ball/instructs in his draft year is not terribly important for a SEC pitcher.

Schultz and Pallette are both breaking ball spin rate monsters, which seems to be a common trait among the pitchers that the Shirley scouting regime targets.

knoxfire30

I like the idea of the draft room not using the 26 man roster as some sort of ill fated guide to how they should draft, I do think they should of taken more into consideration that their upper minors have almost no pitching prospects though and it could create a viable problem for a team not willing to spend that could be losing Gioltio and Lynn post 2023.

Getting over that, the wave of young arms to keep an eye on is getting semi exciting, you will have the older high end stuff guys like Nora joined next year at some point by Pallette, You have the out of somewhat nowhere guys Simas and Mena, and then you have the now quad pack of prep arms in Kelly, Dalquist, Thompson and Schultz that will be meshed together.

Its always a game of numbers so getting even 2 viable starters out of the mix would be great.

soxfan

These picks were really made without the 26 (or even 40) man roster in mind. Not only will they not be available to contribute in this window or provide depth to the high minors as those guys do find a way to contribute in this window, they barely even provide low minor depth such that we could confidently trade some of the other high-upside prospects for potential contributors.

Torpedo Jones

Baseball drafting and development is such a crapshoot, that I’d argue teams are better served going for what they perceive to be the best player available. I like the picks as they represent some element of boom or bust, rather than looking for safer picks that bring a lower ceiling – particularly if they are so convinced of the upside Schultz possesses. As others joked, at 6′ 9″ he could at least serve as a developmental prospect for the Bulls if his pitching stalls….

soxfan

Like I said in the Pallette thread, I don’t know enough about either guy or the process overall to say whether or not they’re good or they’re bad. But they are reflective of the organizational philosophy. I think some (including me) were expecting picks that could directly or indirectly contribute to improving our odds in the current competitive window or at least keeping it open a year or two longer. These guys were both drafted with an eye on the next window. They won’t be on the same roster as Tim or Luis and it’s hard to see how they even provide enough organizational depth/resilience to allow the team to trade other guys who might return someone who could be.

phillyd

A little early to say they won’t be on the same White Sox roster as Luis Robert one day, no? That is an awfully pessimistic statement.

Last edited 23 days ago by phillyd
soxfan

That’s fair. Didn’t realize his contract was that much longer than the rest of the core’s. But the central point remains – it’ll be a new competitive window, since by 2027 most of Abreu, Anderson, Moncada, and Jimenez will likely be gone. I don’t know how polished Pallette is, so he may optimistically show up by 2025/26 if his recovery goes well, but I’d think Schultz is a 2027 or so guy.

soxygen

Luis Robert staying with this team through his whole contract could be a little overly optimistic, no? First of all, once the window is shut there is no point in keeping him. Second of all, if this were the NBA his body language would be telling us he wants a trade.

itaita

Wouldn’t the closest comp for Schultz and the Sox be Alec Hansen? I know it did not work out in the end but if i remember right they ended up fixing the mechanics issues he had and looked to be on a great track till an injury ruined everything.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Hansen was an experienced right-handed college pitcher, and Schultz is a left-handed high schooler who barely pitched his senior year. I don’t see the comparison.

knoxfire30

yea i dont see the comparison at all, hansen had like 100 innings or something his sophmore year at oklahoma and was garnering possible top 5 pick consideration because of the arm talent, he then lost his control jr year

upnorthsox

If by injured you mean he lost the ability to throw a ball over the plate for a strike than yeah it ruined everything.

asinwreck

Hell, at 18, a little more height remains in play.

On ESPN, one of the panelists mentioned he had grown a full foot in just one year. I’m trying to imagine what that would be like, and how the world would look and feel completely different to how it did the year before. That scouts favorably evaluate his flexibility and balance is encouraging, and here’s hoping he retains those traits if he continues to grow.

However tall he gets, I want him to surprass Jon Rauch in effectiveness in the select circle of White Sox pitchers who are taller than Lucas Giolito.

GrinnellSteve

A meteoric rise…

GrinnellSteve

I don’t know enough about either pick, but I love the philosophy of drafting high ceilings with no regard to timetable and perhaps no regard for position. You sustain success by getting as many studs as possible in your system.

I’d rather draft guys who could become perennial All-Stars than safe 4th starters. Maybe both these guys end up being Lance Broadway, but at least the Sox were aspiring to something great.

I reserve the right to be totally confounded once we see their entire draft board. For now I’m surprised and pleased.

MrStealYoBase

There’s a lot of risk in these guys but I much prefer this high risk-high reward strategy to “here’s another college bat with the floor of a AAAA guy and the ceiling of a 4th OF.

Greg Nix

Last time they were routinely picking in this part of the first round, they wasted a lot of picks on guys with bland profiles like Kyle McCullough and Lance Broadway. So late in the draft order, I think it makes a lot more sense to pick A) guys with big upside, and B) gamble on guys you’re higher on than everyone else. At that point, the odds of anybody being a major league contributor are below break-even anyway so might as well swing big.

tl;dr It appears the Sox are doing something I agree with. That hasn’t been the case much lately.

mrridgman

Braodway is a name I haven’t heard in a while, thanks GrinnelSteve and Greg for the fond memories. WS had several first picks in that era that had no ceiling at all.
I agree that drafting in the back end it’s almost impossible to get fairly immediate help for a contending team, unless you ID a reliever, and then you’re probably just wasting the pick. Swing high and hard.