White Sox

Lack of high picks could sway White Sox first-round selection

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Lack of high picks could sway White Sox first-round selection

The obscenely large gap between their first and second picks in the 2015 amateur draft could heavily weigh on how the White Sox pick Monday.

They’re likely hitting with a two-strike approach instead of swinging for the fences.

While the White Sox own the eighth overall selection in today’s proceedings, their next choice doesn’t come until No. 112 on Tuesday. The team surrendered its second- and third-round picks in the 2015 draft this offseason when free agents David Robertson and Melky Cabrera were signed in December. That 104-pick gap could sway whom they take when they make their selection at approximately 6:37 p.m. CST on Monday.

[RELATED - Why the White Sox hardly celebrated when they drafted Chris Sale]

“You always want to make sure you get No. 1 right,” assistant scouting director Nick Hostetler said. “But at the same time, I don’t know you if you can take the chance on No. 1 as maybe you could if you had some backups in the second and third rounds. If you swing and miss at one now, you don’t have a guy until your fourth round. You don’t want to blow your whole year of development and getting players in.”

The players at the top of the 2015 draft don’t have the same sort of flash as the 2014 class - “It’s not a sexy year,” Hostetler said.

Ultimately, the best pitcher might not immediately surface in the majors and could come from a later round. But this year’s class is stocked with college arms, players whom could quickly reach the majors as a reliever.

The White Sox have almost exclusively been linked to those pitchers. In their latest mock drafts, Baseball America and MLB.com have the White Sox selecting UC Santa Barbara’s Dillon Tate. Those publications have also linked them to Tyler Jay (Illinois), Kyle Funkhouser (Louisville), Carson Fulmer (Vanderbilt) and Missouri State’s Jon Harris.

Because they don’t pick again until the fourth round, scouting director Doug Laumann has familiarized himself with the group the White Sox believe will be there at No. 8 more than in past years.

“There’s going to be 100 names that come off the board between our picks, so we don’t want to spend a lot of time and a lot of man-hours talking about players that aren’t going to be there,” Laumann said. “But ultimately somebody’s going to fall to us and we have to be prepared for whoever that happens to be.”

[MORE: White Sox front office mocks Monday's amateur draft]

Though they say they’re almost certain they’ll grab a pitcher, the White Sox could try to fill another void in the farm system. The farm system has a need for outfielders and catchers. Perhaps a player like Arkansas sophomore outfielder Andrew Benintendi - who has seen his stock quickly rise (BA now has him going fifth overall to Houston) - could tempt the White Sox if he’s there.

The left-handed hitting Benintendi hit .443 this season and “has above-average tools, from his bat to his speed to his power potential,” according to Baseball America

No matter where they end up, the White Sox believe they are in a good position.

“We are going to get a good player at eight,” general manager Rick Hahn said last week. “We feel real good about who will likely be available there and the number of names we have in our mix there at eight.” 

Jose Abreu has already begun mentoring Luis Robert

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu has already begun mentoring Luis Robert

As the White Sox have added young Cuban stars in the making in Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, Jose Abreu's long-term role on the team has shifted.

The 31-year-old first baseman has been looked at as something of a mentor for the two young Cubans. He seems to be delivering on that so far.

Abreu picked up Moncada from the airport when he first was called up to the White Sox last July. Now he's helping Robert in the batting cage.

The Cuban trio is expected to play a big part of the White Sox future in the coming years. 

Robert has already stated his goal of making it to the majors this year to join Abreu and Moncada, but that may be an overly ambitious goal. Either way, plenty of eyes will be on him throughout 2018 as he marches towards the White Sox roster and his Cuban teammates.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Meet the real Tim Anderson

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Meet the real Tim Anderson

On the latest White Sox Talk Podcast, Tim Anderson opens up about his struggles in 2017 and why he wants White Sox fans "to know the real me."

Anderson dives into his personal tragedy from last season when his best friend was murdered in Alabama. 

He talks with Chuck Garfien about the dark days that happened, how counseling helped him, his new leadership role in 2018, if he'll draw more walks this season, "bringing swag to the South Side" with Yoan Moncada and much more.

Listen to the full White Sox Talk Podcast right here: