The Yoan Moncadas, Michael Kopechs and Luis Roberts aren’t likely to be there when the White Sox pick 11th on Monday night. But the rebuilding White Sox should be able to find the kind of talent to continue strengthening their farm system.
The 2017 MLB Draft begins at 6 p.m. CST on Monday night. The likelihood that the grouping of players awaiting the White Sox when they pick at the No. 11 spot includes impact talent isn’t very high. But amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler believes the White Sox can continue to flush out baseball’s most improved farm system.
“(The rebuild) started along a little bit more quickly than what we expected, but at the same time, this year’s draft, we’re going to continue to add to that,” Hostetler said recently. “We want to keep that going. That was the problem before, we just didn’t have enough assets in our system for that to hold true throughout. We’ve got to continue each year to keep pushing forward.”
The White Sox have added a ton of impact talent over the last year. The signing of Robert last month was another critical piece, giving them the No. 25 overall prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. The White Sox added some potential impact pieces in last year's draft in Zack Collins, Zack Burdi and Alec Hansen. But this year's class doesn't seem as likely to yield the same type of talent at the spot at which the White Sox pick.
"This is an interesting draft," Hostetler said. "In the past there has been a pretty decent gap between the first 10 or 15 (selections) to the next group. This year there difference isn’t that much. From 11 to 49, there’s a bunch of players who will be very similar."
The possibility of adding more impact talent through that draft seems far more likely in 2018 if the White Sox continue to play like they have of late. After Sunday's loss at Cleveland, the White Sox have the fourth-lowest win percentage in the majors.
As for who the White Sox will take? Both MLB.com analysts and ESPN.com top project the pick will be North Carolina right-handed pitcher J.B. Bukauskas. BaseballAmerica.com thinks the White Sox would take Virginia first baseman Pavin Smith. Prep outfielders Jordan Adell and Austin Beck, as well as Kentucky first baseman Evan White and Missouri State third baseman Jake Burger, have also been listed as under consideration.
"We’re looking for the best guy, regardless of position, but also somebody who fits in to what we’re trying to do," Hostetler said. "We do want to limit a guy with a swing and miss, we want to make sure that we have hitters who put the ball in play and pitchers who pound the zone. I sound like a broken record with it, but it is true, it’s something we believe in. We want to make sure that that’s where we stick with. We’re going to take our shots. There’s going to be certain times where you want to step outside the box, and you’ve got to take a shot because if not, you’re going to end up with the same type of player throughout your system, and you don’t want that."