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When choosing at No. 26 overall in the first round, endless possibilities present themselves ahead of where Mike Shirley will make his third first round selection as scouting director for the Chicago White Sox. The top prospect in an evolving farm system, Colson Montgomery was the club’s first rounder with the 22nd overall pick, and he was seen as the top target in the lead up to the 2021 draft. Things are much more fluid this time around.
Montgomery has been stellar in his first professional season and his play has landed him on top 100 prospect lists at MLB Pipeline and Baseball America. In 2020, Shirley took Tennessee southpaw Garrett Crochet with the 11th overall pick in the first round but there were strong rumors connecting the then first year scouting director to California prep slugger Tyler Soderstrom. While it didn’t ultimately occur, that methodology leads me to believe that South Carolina prep infielder Tucker Toman is very much in play as the primary target in the first round for the White Sox.
Pitching is a huge organizational need as well and while decision makers for the club may ultimately prefer to wait until the later rounds to load up on hurlers, they could decide that the best path involves selecting a college pitcher in the first round. They could definitely go in this direction with the 26th pick depending on how the pieces fall in front of them. In this projection, Tucker Toman is off the board already but one of the highest upside pitchers in the class has fallen down the board.
Below are some options for the White Sox with their first three selections along with the rest of the first round.
Round 1: #26 Overall: Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama
Pick Slot Value: $2,788,000
Signing Bonus Guess: Slot
Prielipp falling to the White Sox could be considered a best case scenario but call me an optimist in this instance. The 21-year-old left hander looked like a potential top ten pick in this class before undergoing Tommy John surgery during his sophomore season at Alabama. The 6-2, 205 pounder is on the mend and has thrown bullpens in front of scouts recently. The stuff appears to be mostly back and he has a quick arm and athletic frame with a toolset to become a frontline starter.
Prielipp is ranked as the No. 38 overall player in the draft class according to Baseball America. Possessing a mid nineties fastball and two overwhelming secondaries, the southpaw is a tremendous prospect but his limited track record makes him a wild card. The lefty’s slider is a devastating pitch and many scouts and publications have referred to it as a 70-grade offering. He was the high school player of the year in the state of Wisconsin back in 2019 and was the top prep prospect from the state. He’s ranked 25th overall in the class at MLB Pipeline.
Prielipp would immediately become the top starting pitching prospect in the White Sox’s system. It’s very possible that the former Crimson Tide southpaw goes well before the Sox are on the clock at 26. The addition of college pitching in the 2022 draft is likely and doing it in the first round with a player of this caliber would be a promising development for the franchise.
Pick 62: Roman Anthony, OF, Stoneman Douglas HS (FL)
Pick Slot Value: $1,158,600
Signing Bonus Guess: $1,600,000
Anthony was a highly regarded prospect after his junior year in high school but struggled with too many strikeouts on the summer circuit. The 6-3 205 pounder plays center field but projects to an outfield corner in the future. The 18-year-old possesses significant raw power from the left side and while there are some hit tool concerns, he was much better this spring. He’s committed to the University of Mississippi. His selection would give the White Sox another prep hitter that hits from the left side. The Floridian is ranked as the #No. 56 overall prospect in the class at MLB Pipeline and lands at No. 74 for Baseball America.
Pick 101: Nate Savino, LHP, Virginia
Pick Slot Value: $606,300
Signing Bonus Guess: $1,000,000
The 6-3 210 pounder was one of the best prep lefties in the 2019 draft class. He chose to attend the University of Virginia where his stuff promptly backed up and he struggled for two seasons. The 20-year-old pitched better in 2022 but sputtered a bit down the stretch once again. The southpaw deploys a low nineties fastball and an inconsistent changeup that flashes plus. Savino profiles as a back-end starter.
Full First Round Mock Draft
|1||Orioles||Termarr Johnson||2B||Mays HS (GA)|
|2||Diamondbacks||Druw Jones||OF||Wesleyan HS (GA)|
|3||Rangers||Jackson Holliday||SS||Stillwater HS (OK)|
|4||Pirates||Cam Collier||3B||Chipola JC|
|5||Nationals||Kevin Parada||C||Georgia Tech|
|7||Cubs||Brooks Lee||SS||Cal Poly|
|8||Twins||Elijah Green||OF||IMG Academy (FL)|
|9||Royals||Gavin Cross||OF||Virginia Tech|
|11||Mets||Jett Williams||SS||Rockwell-Heath HS (TX)|
|12||Tigers||Jace Jung||2B||Texas Tech|
|13||Angels||Carson Whisenhunt||LHP||East Carolina|
|14||Mets||Brock Porter||RHP||Orchard Lake St. Marys Prep (MI)|
|15||Padres||Justin Crawford||OF||Bishop Gorman HS (NV)|
|21||Mariners||Cooper Hjerpe||LHP||Oregon State|
|23||Blue Jays||Tucker Toman||3B||Hammond HS (SC)|
|24||Red Sox||Sterlin Thompson||OF||Florida|
|26||White Sox||Connor Prielipp||LHP||Alabama|
|28||Astros||Jacob Melton||OF||Oregon State|
|29||Rays||Brandon Barriera||LHP||American Heritage Plantation HS (FL)|
|30||Giants||Chase DeLauter||OF||James Madison|
|32||Reds||Dylan Lesko||RHP||Buford HS (GA)|
|33||Orioles||Robby Snelling||LHP||McQueen HS (NV)|
|35||Royals||Owen Murphy||RHP||Riverside Brookfield HS (IL)|
|36||Pirates||Cole Young||SS||North Allegheny HS (PA)|
|39||Padres||Jackson Ferris||LHP||IMG Academy (FL)|