Should the Chicago White Sox Draft a Bat at No. 8?

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The title of this article begins with Should rather than Will because the answer to the latter is likely “no.” According to CSN’s John Paschall, most draft prognosticators see the Chicago White Sox targeting a college pitcher with the number 8th pick in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft.

"“While much can change before the 2015 MLB Draft, which begins on Monday, here are a few experts’ picks for the White Sox selection at No. 8: Callis’ take: Chris Sale (2010) and Carlos Rodon (2014) are the White Sox’s two best first-rounders in the past decade, and they’re on the hunt for more college pitching. They’ll probably opt for Fulmer, Jay, Harris or Buehler, in that order.”"

Let me qualify by saying that I’m extremely high on RHP Carson Fulmer and would be fully content if he or Illinois product RHP Tyler Jay fell to the White Sox at number 8. Fulmer in particular has drawn comparisons to Sonny Gray and has the unorthodox type of delivery and small frame that may actually allow him to fall to 8. Hey, the White Sox have had success with another small, funky college arm in Chris Sale.

But what if Fulmer isn’t on the board, or even more intriguing, what if outfielder Kyle Tucker or LSU shortstop Alex Bregman, who had heading to Chicago in a recent mock draft, falls in their lap. Do they still take a college arm?

Here’s why they shouldn’t.

ESPN’s Doug Padilla sums it up pretty astutely here:

"“Looking back at that 2014 draft, it was extremely pitching heavy. After Rodon was picked in the first round, the White Sox selected pitchers with four of their first five picks…A number of position players appear on their way to Chicago now, and next week’s draft could do wonders for adding more to the system.”"

That’s merely scratching the surface though, because it is important to remember that the White Sox lack a 2nd and 3rd round pick this year due to the David Robertson and Melky Cabrera signings, both of whom had draft pick compensation attached to them last year.

It’s also important to note where the starting rotation currently stands. At the front end are lefties Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, who are both under team control through at least 2019 on team-friendly contracts. At the backend, Carlos Rodon is under control for six seasons, and won’t even hit arbitration within the next three years.

Jeff Samardzija has had a roller coaster season thus far, mixing in disastrous starts with outings that resemble the frontline starter the White Sox thought they traded for. It’s not out of the question that the White Sox still desire a long-term relationship with the competitive right hander and it may not come at the hefty $100 million price tag anymore.

That really just leaves open one rotation spot, assuming that John Danks isn’t retained after the 2016 season, and Danks may even be dealt before then depending on how much cash the White Sox are willing to eat.

The White Sox have plenty of upside arms already in the system, so Fulmer would be more of a luxury rather than a necessity.

This brings me to Chicago’s current top ten prospects. rates right-hander Francelis Montas at number two, and righties Spencer Adams and Tyler Danish at three and six respectively. That’s discounting former top prospect Erik Johnson, who could be a capable rotation piece if he can round back into his 2013 form.

Montas and Danish are obviously closer to the majors than Adams, and Montas in particular has a ceiling of a frontline starter according to A steal in the Jake Peavy trade with Boston in 2013,  Montas could presumably crack the rotation as soon as next season depending on how the backend shapes out going into the year.

Next: More on the White Sox draft