White Sox

White Sox MLB Draft tracker: Rounds 3-10


White Sox MLB Draft tracker: Rounds 3-10

Thanks to the offseason signings of David Robertson and Melky Cabrera, the White Sox lost their second- and third-round picks in the 2015 MLB Draft. So after taking Vanderbilt right-hander Carson Fulmer with the No. 8 overall pick in the first round, the White Sox had to wait until pick No. 112 to make another selection.

[MORE: Carson Fulmer hopes to follow Chris Sale's path]

Tuesday's edition of the MLB Draft covered rounds three through 10, with the White Sox -- as usual -- taking plenty of college pitchers.

"Obviously we’re pretty good at developing college pitchers so we’re going to stick with that for a little while," White Sox assistant scouting director Nick Hostetler said. "It was our goal to add a catcher and we did that as well. We’re not going to shy away from our strength, especially in a deep draft lie this with college pitching so it made sense to go that way."

The White Sox selections from Tuesday were:

Third round: None

Fourth round (No. 112): Clemson LHP Zack Erwin. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound Erwin posted a 4.26 ERA with a 62/28 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 72 2/3 innings split between the Tigers' bullpen and starting rotation in 2014.

Fifth round (No. 142): Rice RHP Jordan Stephens. The ace of the Rice rotation underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014 but returned strong this spring, posting a 3.17 ERA over 59 2/3 innings with a sparkling 75/17 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Sixth round (No. 172): Carl Albert High School (Okla.) 1B Corey Zangari. MLB Network's Jonathan Mayo said initially Zangari was viewed as a pitcher, but he had mixed results on the mound and appears to enter the White Sox as a position player. He's committed to play his college ball at Oklahoma State.

Seventh round (No. 202): Iowa RHP Blake Hickman. The Chicago native and Simeon alum pitched well for the Hawkeyes this year, posting a 2.99 ERA with 52 strikeouts and 42 walks over 16 starts. He signed his letter of intent to attend Iowa at a White Sox-hosted signing day ceremony and was a four-time White Sox Double Duty Classic selection from 2008-2011. 

Eighth round (No. 232): Coastal Carolina C Casey Schroeder. The Chanticleers' backstop didn't hit well for average in his one year with Coastal Carolina (.230 AVG) but he did show some pop with his bat. In 54 games, he hit 13 home runs with 31 RBI, including a .870 OPS. Schroeder was drafted twice before 2015, first in the 22nd round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of high school by the St. Louis Cardinals and in the 14th round in 2014 by the Oakland Athletics.  

Ninth round (No. 262): Illinois-Chicago LHP Ryan Hinchley. The southpaw was used sparingly in 2015, only making eight appearances with one start. While his control might be somewhat of a concern (37 walks over 31.1 innings between 2014-15 seasons), scouts love his power pitches. He recorded a 11.7 K/9 rate his senior year in Chicago. 

10th round: (No. 292): Michigan CF Jackson Glines. The former Wolverine may not add a lot in the power department at the plate, but he more than makes up for it with contact and speed. The lefty had a slash line of .349/.440/.492 in his senior year at Ann Arbor and swiped seven bases. He's also flashed some leather out in center field, as seen by this outstanding catch in the Big Ten Tournament. 

Lucas Giolito relieved to be able to shed No. 1 pitching prospect label

Lucas Giolito relieved to be able to shed No. 1 pitching prospect label

GLENDALE, AZ — You don’t need a scale to see that Lucas Giolito lost some weight in the offseason. As he walks around Camelback Ranch, he just seems lighter. These pounds were shedded thanks to a certain label that has been detached from his name and his being.

“Lucas Giolito, number-one pitching prospect in baseball” is no more.

“Definitely. Big time relief. I carried that title for a while,” Giolito told NBC Sports Chicago. “It was kind of up and down. I was (ranked) 1 at one point. I dropped. I always paid attention to it a little bit moving through the minor leagues.”

Which for any young hurler is risky business. The “best pitching prospect” designation can mess with a pitcher’s psyche and derail a promising career. Giolito was walking a mental tightrope reading those rankings, but after making it back to the majors last season with the White Sox and succeeding, the moniker that seemed to follow him wherever he went has now vanished.

“Looking back on it, that stuff is pretty cool," Giolito said. "It can pump you up and make you feel good about yourself, but in the end the question is, what are you going to do at the big league level? Can you contribute to a team? I’m glad that I finally have the opportunity to do that and all that other stuff is in the rear view."

This wasn’t the case when the White Sox acquired Giolito from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton trade in December 2016. When he arrived at spring training last year, he was carrying around tons of extra baggage in his brain that was weighing him down. Questions about his ability and makeup weren’t helping as he tried living up to such high expectations.

“Yeah, I’d say especially with the trade coming off 2016 where I didn’t perform well at all that year," Giolito said. "I got traded over to a new organization, I still have this label on me of being a top pitching prospect while I’m going to a new place, I’m trying to impress people but at the same time I had a lot of things off mechanically I was trying to fix. Mentally, I was not in the best place as far as pitching went. It definitely added some extra pressure that I didn’t deal with well for a while."

How bad was it for Giolito? Here are some of the thoughts that were scrambling his brain during spring training and beyond last season.

“I saw I wasn’t throwing as hard. I was like, ’Where did my velocity go?’ Oh, it’s my mechanics. My mechanics are bad. I need to fix those,” Giolito said. “Then I’m trying to make adjustments. Why can’t I make this adjustment? It compounds. It just builds and builds and builds and can weigh on you a ton. I was 22 turning 23 later in the year. I didn’t handle it very well. I put a lot of pressure on myself to fix all these different things about my performance, my pitching and trying to do it all in one go instead of just relaxing and remembering, ‘Hey, what am I here for? Why do I play the game?’”

Still, pitching coach Don Cooper wanted to see what he had in his young prospect. So last February, he scheduled him to make his White Sox debut against the Cubs in front of a packed house in Mesa.

“It was kind of like a challenge," Giolito said. "They fill the stadium over there. I’m like, ‘Alright here we go."

Giolito gave up one run, three hits, walked one and struck out two in two innings against the Cubs that day.

“I pitched OK," he said. "I think I gave up a home run to Addison Russell. At the same time, I remember that game like I was forcing things. I might have pitched okay, but I was forcing the ball over the plate instead of relaxing, trusting and letting it happen which is kind of my mantra now. I’m saying that all the time, just having confidence in yourself and letting it go.”

A conversation in midseason with Charlotte Knights pitching coach Steve McCatty, suggested by Cooper, helped turn Giolito’s season around. The lesson for Giolito: whatever you have on the day you take the mound is what you have. Don’t force what isn’t there.

Fortunately for Giolito he has extra pitches in his arsenal, so if the curveball isn’t working (which it rarely did when he came up to the majors last season) he can go to his change-up, fastball, slider, etc.

It’s all part of the learning process, both on the mound and off it. Setbacks are coming. Giolito has already had his share. More will be on the way.

“You want to set expectations for yourself. You want to try and achieve great goals,” he said. “At the same time, it is a game of failure. There’s so much that you have to learn through experience whether that be success or failure. Especially going through the minor leagues. There’s so much that you have to learn and a lot of it is about development. It’s a crazy ride for sure.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Chris Bleck (ESPN 1000) and Scott King (WGN Radio) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Ryan Pace’s offseason begins. Josh Sitton and Jerrell Freeman are gone, but what will he do with Kyle Fuller?

Plus, Rick Hahn joins Kap from Glendale, Ariz., to discuss the state of the White Sox rebuild, how tough it is to keep their best prospects in the minors and why Jose Abreu is so important for his young team?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: