Back in 2015, the White Sox drafted Carson Fulmer eighth overall while his Vanderbilt rotationmate Walker Buehler lasted all the way until the Dodgers selected him at No. 24.
Fulmer held an edge through the 2016 season, not because Fulmer dominated the minors, but because Buehler had Tommy John surgery two months after he was drafted. The Dodgers were aware of some degree of arm troubles during the season, but they could only determine and declare a course for him once he had the full post-draft physical. They were able to draft him toward the end of the first round, and sign him for a little under slot.
Buehler only threw five innings through the 2016 season, but the next four standard seasons were better than the one that came before, culminating in a fourth-place finish in the National League Cy Young voting last year.
Pallette shares some characteristics with Buehler, but the White Sox will start with waiting out Tommy John surgery, as Pallette underwent the procedure in January. Prior to the injury, Pallette was expected to lead the staff for a talented Arkansas team, and if he’d made the strides expected of him, he had a decent shot at being selected in the first half of the first round. Instead, he fell to the White Sox at No. 62, which carries a slot value of $1,158,600.
What’s his game?
The Buehler comparisons are natural because he has the same frame — 6’1″, 180 pounds — and a similar fastball-curve attack with excellent spin rates on both. His fastball sat 93-95, and reports had him dabbling in the high-90s, but he hadn’t proven the in-game or in-season endurance to attach high-90s to his profile with enough confidence.
While they’re touting a comparable toolbox — and Pallette has shown more power at this stage in his career — teams had a better idea of how Buehler could deploy his arsenal over the course of a full championship season. Pallette threw only 61⅔ innings for the Razorbacks before the White Sox selected him, and both Eric Longenhagen and Keith Law referred to some mechanics the Sox might have to help him clean up once he’s ready to rehab.
Basically, whether building up his stamina or tweaking how his fastball leaves his hand, it sounds like there’s a little more work involved here, and this is why the 61st pick is appropriate with regards to where the main outlets had him ranked.