2022 MLB Draft Report: Reid Detmers no-no and revisit 2017 MLB Draft

When the Los Angeles Angels selected Reid Detmers 10th overall in the 2020 MLB Draft, I was jealous. Taken one spot before the White Sox, I figured Detmers could be the missing piece for a starting rotation that needed depth. It didn’t take Detmers long to reach the majors. The Angels had Detmers start in AA, where he had a 3.50 ERA in 12 starts striking out 97 in just 54 innings. A brief appearance in AAA and Detmers made his major league debut on August 1st, 2021. 

He got roughed up early. First two starts, Detmers allowed 11 ER in 9.1 innings but flashed the promise he had coming out of Louisville in his start against Houston, limiting the Astros to just one run over six innings and striking out six. It wasn’t an excellent end for Detmers in 2021, as he had a 7.40 ERA after just five starts, but the Angels saw enough to give him a job in their starting rotation this season. 

It’s been a mix of good and bad for Detmers so far in 2022, but this past Tuesday, he was exceptional. Against a formidable foe in Tampa Bay, Detmers irritated the Rays hitters with his combination of high fastballs and that deadly curve nicknamed “Hell’s Rainbow.” The Rays only struck out twice but didn’t manage to barrel up many pitches. Detmers maintained his velocity while entering uncharted territory, pitching after the seventh inning. At age 22, and in his 11th career start, Detmers completed the first solo no-hitter of the 2022 season. 

The White Sox could use Detmers. Hell, they could use Garrett Crochet. But that’s just how the draft works sometimes. The player took before you threw a no-hitter in 2022, while your selection is not pitching to any hitters this season due to injury. 

Looking back at the 2017 MLB Draft

While I remembered the 2020 MLB Draft on Tuesday night, the 2017 class was on my mind when Jake Burger was optioned to Charlotte. It’s been a grueling road for Burger, who has overcome two serious Achilles injuries, contemplated quitting baseball, and filled in for Yoan Moncada to start 2022. With those caveats, Burger has done quite well to achieve what he has on a personal level. It’s great to see he has that drive to continue to get better with the hopes of staying in the majors long term. 

From a White Sox management point of view, I’m not sure what the plan is with Burger. He’s 26 years old, doesn’t hit right-handed pitching well, and in 119 plate appearances, he’s struck out 42 times. With Yoan Moncada back, Burger is blocked on the roster unless the franchise wants to try him at second base. It’ll look like Mike Moustakas at the position, but the White Sox are not afraid to play people out of their regular positions, hoping to get their bat in the lineup. 

I don’t know if Burger’s bat has staying power in the majors unless his fortunes against right-handed pitching change. Will he get that consistent playing time in Chicago to find out? Not if there’s another severe injury to one of the core White Sox players, and in this contention window, I don’t think anyone wants to see that happen. 

White Sox signed Burger to a $3.7 million bonus in 2017 when they took him 11th overall. For their investment, the White Sox have seen Burger play 36 games at a 0.1 WAR clip, according to Baseball-Reference.

This selection comes off the heels of Carson Fulmer taken in the first round in 2015 and then the Zack’s (Collins and Burdi) in 2016. There were four first-round picks in three years to help boost the rebuild, and the White Sox amateur scouting department doesn’t have much to show for their efforts. I thought then the White Sox couldn’t afford these picks not to pan out. I ended up being wrong. The trade returns of Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and Adam Eaton worked well enough to overcome not meeting expectations from the MLB Draft. 

Looking back five years ago with a pair of hindsight goggles, who would have been a better selection for the White Sox? 

LHP Trevor Rogers went to the Miami Marlins two picks after the White Sox selected Burger. Coming out of high school, Rogers signed for $3.4 million in 2017. He quickly rose in the Marlins farm system and was impressive starting his major league career, even making his first All-Star team in 2021. Rogers finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting to Jonathan India and looked like a front-end pitcher for a surprisingly strong starting rotation in Miami. 

2022 hasn’t been a good start for Rogers. Walks have become an issue as he currently carries a 5.00 ERA after six starts with just 21 strikeouts in 27 innings. It’s been a significant dropoff in production for Rogers, but he has amassed a career 3.1 WAR. That’s the best for all 2017 first-round picks so far. 

But it’s not the best for the 2017 class. You have to go back to the 18th round to find the current WAR leader: Boston Red Sox RP Garrett Whitlock. Making 46 appearances in 2021, Whitlock had a 1.96 ERA to become one of the Red Sox most dependable relievers in their march to the American League Championship Series. Whitlock’s career WAR total is 3.8, and he signed $247,500. What’s a bit frustrating is that Whitlock pitched at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Right in the White Sox AA backyard.

The WAR front runners from the 2017 Draft Class are a bit underwhelming five years later. 

RankPlayerRound TakenCurrent TeamCareer WAR
1Garrett Whitlock18th RoundRed Sox3.8
2Daulton Varsho2nd RoundDiamondbacks3.2 
Trevor Rogers1st RoundMarlins3.1
4Tanner Houck1st RoundRed Sox2.8
5Keegan Thompson3rd RoundCubs2.5
6Griffin Canning2nd RoundAngels2.5
7Taylor Walls3rd RoundRays2.1
8Chas McCormick21st RoundAstros1.9
David Peterson1st RoundMets1.7
10 James Karinchak9th Round Guardians1.7

The Chicago White Sox do have #11 WAR ranked player of the 2017 MLB Draft Class in their farm system. It’s outfielder Adam Haseley (career WAR 1.6) who was initially taken 8th overall by Philadelphia. Oddly, he’s the only Top 10 player selected in that draft class with a WAR total over 1.0. 

I’m hoping things change for this draft class. Royce Lewis went number one overall and appeared ready to play in Minneapolis more consistently. Hunter Greene, MacKenzie Gore, and Kyle Wright are finding their way. This Top 10 list could look much different in two years, with those four previously mentioned players climbing up the ranks and fulfilling their hyped potential. 

Drafting Tim Anderson (2013) and Carlos Rodon (2014) in back-to-back years has aged very well for the White Sox. The five first-round picks from 2015 to 2018 (Fulmer, Collins, Burdi, Burger, and Nick Madrigal) have not. Unfortunately for the White Sox, their first-round luck hasn’t been that great. 

The 2017 MLB Draft is not yet a sunk cost for the White Sox. Maybe Burger gets more time at second base for the White Sox and can help address that positional need. Or, Gavin Sheets (second round) can figure out how to be more consistent. There’s also the possibility that some bullpen help could arrive and play a factor. 

It’s just not a draft class that has an outlook of producing an All-Star or player with staying power for the White Sox.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Default image
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

Articles: 771
Subscribe
Notify of
10 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
chipporter

I don’t think it fair to lump Madrigal in that class as not working out. He would be our starting 2B today if not for a boneheaded trade.

a-t

He’d be our starting 2B today if he hadn’t torn his hamstring off the bone, because that trade never happens otherwise

dongutteridge

I believe the Sox didn’t think he could stay healthy over the long term and that’s why they parted with him.

metasox

is even on the IL now

soxygen

I think you’re giving the front office too much credit…

So then this injury averse front office you describe picked up Craig Kimbrel’s option so that they could trade Kimbrel for the often injured AJ Pollock? In this scenario it is worth keeping in mind that we went from having a cheap flawed 2B (a position of organizational need) to having an expensive flawed LF/DH (a position of organizational abundance).

Last edited 9 days ago by soxygen
metasox

The jury is still out on whether he would have stuck on an everyday lineup

Right Size Wrong Shape

Nick Madrigal sucks.

dongutteridge

While there’s no defending the History of White Sox drafting (it’s abhorrent) Jake Burger was not a bad pick.

However, now he is just a trade chit but one that comes with decent value.

He deserves to be traded to a team that believes in him as a starter by the end of the year, at the latest. And, I think the Sox should expect decent value in return.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I was one of many who hated the pick. Instead of spending first round picks on hefty college sluggers who have no positional versatility, they should have been drafting players with a higher ceiling. I’ve grown to like Jake and definitely root for him, but the run of college guys didn’t do it for me. I’m glad they’ve shifted their focus more to high school guys.

soxygen

Though, as the article notes it was a pretty lousy class. The best toolsy position player who was available after Jake Burger was taken at #11 was probably Heliot Ramos (Giants took him at #19).

Ramos is still a prospect and is just getting his cup of coffee, but his OPS this year in AAA was .579. He may or may not pan out, but I don’t think there was a position player available and who was considered top-of-draft-talent who has turned out to be clearly better than Burger.

Last edited 8 days ago by soxygen
10
0
Join the discussion!x
()
x