Chicago White Sox: Draft Review

General Manager: Kenny Williams
Farm Director: Buddy Bell
Scouting Director: Doug Laumann

2006-2009 Draft Results:
First three rounds included
x- over-draft signees ($200,000+)

2009 1st Round: Jared Mitchell, OF, Louisiana State
1S. Josh Phegley, C, Indiana
2. Trayce Thompson, OF, California HS
2. David Holmberg, LHP, Florida HS
3. Bryan Morgado, LHP, Tennessee (Did not sign)

Mitchell’s .417 on-base average was impressive in just 34 low-A ball games. However, his line of .296/.417/.435 was aided by a crazy-high .453 BABIP. His walk rate of 16.7% was offset by a nasty strikeout rate at 34.8%, which is obviously going to have to come down. With an ISO of .139, his power is undeveloped at this time, although he could develop into a 15-homer hitter. Despite good speed, Mitchell nabbed just five steals in eight attempts.

With Tyler Flowers already in the upper levels of the system, the club added another offensive-minded backstop in Phegley. The right-handed hitter struggled in his debut and hit just .224/.277/.408 in 196 low-A at-bats. The 21-year-old prospect posted a nice ISO rate at .184 and slugged nine homers in 196 at-bats. However, he managed a walk rate of just 5.3% and his BABIP was very low at .238. Phegley’s going to have to pick it up against right-handed pitching after hitting just .204/.259/.362 (.216 BABIP).

After going the college route with its first two picks, the club then nabbed a couple of interesting high school players: Thompson and Holmberg. An outfielder, Thompson had a bumpy debut but he’s the son of a former NBA player, so he’s loaded with athleticism, as well as a quick bat. Despite that, he’s raw as a baseball player and he hit below .200 and struck out at an alarming rate: 38.1%. Left-handed Holmberg had a solid debut in rookie ball for a teenager. He allowed 40 hits in 40.0 innings, while posting a walk rate of 4.05 BB/9 and a strikeout rate of 8.33 K/9. His ground-ball rate has some room for improvement at 44%, and he struggled a bit with the long ball (1.13 HR/9).

The club failed to sign third round pick Morgado, who was a draft-eligible sophomore left-hander at the University of Tennessee. Harold Baines Jr., 21, was nabbed late in the draft but hit just .147/.220/.160 in 75 rookie ball at-bats.

2008 1st Round: Gordon Beckham, IF, Georgia
2. NA
3. Brent Morel, 3B, Cal Poly
7x- Jordan Danks, OF, Texas

Despite lacking a second-round selection, the White Sox had an excellent draft. The acquisition of Beckham makes the draft a winner all on its on, but the club also nabbed a few other interesting prospects. Back to the No. 1 pick for a moment, though… Beckham appeared in 45 minor-league games before being called up in ’09, and he stuck in the Majors for the remainder of the season by hitting .270/.347/.460 in 378 at-bats. He showed good power with a .190 ISO and he kept the strikeouts in check (17.2 K%). Beckham could see his average improve in 2010 if he can better his .294 BABIP. The first-year wOBA of .351 bodes well for the infielder.

Both Morel and Danks have a chance to play roles in Chicago, although they are both very different players. Morel has shown solid statistics throughout his career despite average tools. Danks has displayed outstanding tools, while his numbers have been inconsistent. Fifth-rounder Dan Hudson looks like a steal, after pitching well at five stops during the ’09 season. However, the right-hander may be overrated a little bit now, and he looks like a solid No. 3 starter, with No. 2 starter potential.

Dexter Carter, a 13th-round selection, posted excellent numbers in his debut but was used as part of the loot to acquire veteran right-hander Jake Peavy from San Diego during the 2009 season. The club made a run at signing football legend Howie Long’s son Kyle Long (23rd round), but the left-hander spurned them for Florida State University.

2007 1st Round: Aaron Poreda, LHP, San Francisco
2. Nevin Griffith, RHP, Florida HS
3. John Ely, RHP, Miami (Ohio)

The ’07 draft was not a great one for the club, although Poreda – like Carter above – was used in the Peavy deal. Griffith got back on the mound in ’09 after struggling with injuries in his first two pro seasons. The 20-year-old right-hander allowed 69 hits in 67.2 innings of work in low-A. His strikeout rate was quite low at 4.66 K/9, but his ground-ball rate was very close to 50%. He needs to improve against left-handed batters after they hit .358 against him.

Ely has proven to be a solid pick. He has average stuff, but his control is solid and he posted a walk rate of 2.88 BB/9 at double-A in ’09; it’s never risen above that in his three year pro career. His BABIP of .293 helped him allow just 140 hits in 156.1 innings, and his ground-ball rate has been right at 50% over the past two seasons. He projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter, which is nothing to sneeze at.

2006 1st Round: Kyle McCulloch, RHP, Texas
2. Matt Long, RHP, Miami (Ohio)
3. Justin Edwards, LHP, Florida HS

This was definitely not a draft to remember. Both college starters McCulloch and Long have struggled in professional baseball. Edwards, 22, spent the majority of ’09 in high-A ball and posted a FIP of 4.71, as well as a strikeout rate of 2.86 K/9 in 78.2 innings. Infielder John Shelby (5th round) and right-hander Brian Omogrosso (6th round) could see MLB time.

Up Next: The Chicago White Sox Top 10 Prospects

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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