Given the state of the 2013 White Sox, it is more fun to think about the future instead of the present. Last night the White Sox, not possessing any of the competitive balance picks, had one pick in the first round, and one pick in the second. For those picks, they selected the junior college shortstop Tim Anderson with the 17th pick overall, and followed it up with Tyler Danish, using the 55th overall pick on a high school RHP.
Tim Anderson is a familiar pick for the White Sox in the sense that he was a two-sport athlete. Anderson possesses very good speed and athleticism, and apparently does well hitting for contact. This is the product of a slappy swing, which sacrifices power for putting the ball in play. Scouts seem divided on whether he will be able to hit for power at all, but the safe bet seems to be that if he does contribute on offense will be with a singles-doubles-walks profile. I am excited to see a great tools/athletic type pick who shouldn’t have trouble making contact once he has adjusted to more advanced opposition, as opposed to the Courtney Hawkins / Josh Fields / Jared Mitchell mold.
I’m a little frightened by how often I’m seeing some variant of the phrase, “needs improvement against offspeed pitches.” But given how much the White Sox have struggled with developing hitters, Anderson is a bit of a change of pace in what they need to work on in some respects. Anderson turns 20 in a few weeks, and he is still quite raw. Hopefully he can single/double/run his way out of low and high A as quickly as possible so that he can get the reps he needs against AA/AAA pitching where the breaking balls are far more sophisticated.
Anderson has the tools to stay at shortstop – whether he will or not remains to be seen, and I’ve seen his arm described as “serviceable,” and as a liability. There’s a chance he winds up at 2B or CF instead. Keith Law had him ranked as 37th overall on his Top 100. Baseball America says that there will be a very serious discussion as to whether he will be the White Sox #1 prospect next year.
The White Sox wound up passing on some interesting names here – Aaron Judge was a candidate, a 6’7” outfielder with tremendous power potential who actually has the speed to acquit himself well in the outfield would have been a fun project. A pair of high risk, high reward arms like Ryne Stanek and Sean Manaea were available, although they would slide past a whole lot of organizations who really know what they’re doing so I don’t know that I blame the White Sox for going with the position player at a valuable position. It’s also difficult to speculate as to what’s going on with some of these players health-wise.
Tyler Danish makes a good first impression due to his silly name. Danish is listed as 6’1” 185 but is apparently “shorter and heavier” than that. He’s a wonky pitcher, who throws 90-93 with very good movement and sink on his fastball, and he pairs it with a plus slider. The problem is that his is a very low three quarters delivery with strange arm action. The result is that he gets deception and movement, but scouts are worried that it’ll get him hurt. Anytime I see a delivery that isn’t close to over-the-top from the right side I worry that they’ll never be able to get opposite-handed hitting out.
Danish supposedly has very good feel for his secondary pitches, and he even varies his arm slots from time-to-time. I always loved it when pitchers could pull that off, a la Orlando Hernandez and David Cone.
Almost everything points to Danish being a reliever – his height is also problematic – although there’s a chance he’s a good one. Danish also has a commit to Florida. He did not appear on Law’s Top 100, although he was 96th on Baseball America’s Top 100 for the draft as of a few weeks ago.
If nothing else, the White Sox are taking some chances and clearly have some different evaluations than some of the prospect lists I’ve seen. And when you draft high school players, the chance that they change their profile is greater than with college ones – it could be that there is quite a bit of room for development with Danish. We’ll have a much clearer idea of how well or poorly the White Sox did in a couple years.