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.
“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.”
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.”