Jun 25, 2014; Omaha, NE, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores pitcher Carson Fulmer (15) throws against the Virginia Cavaliers during game three of the College World Series Finals at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
So while a guy like Carson Fulmer could make it to the bigs as a reliever in short order and maybe even as a starter by the time the ink fades on Danks’ contract, the White Sox have plenty of upside arms already in the system.
What the current system lacks, at the major and minor league level, is offense. Time and time again, the White Sox have made journeymen pitchers look like aces this season and hitting coach’s Todd Steverson‘s “selective-agressiveness” approach is looking more aggressive than selective, without the power dividends that usually come along with that type of approach.
Shortstop Tim Anderson and outfielder Courtney Hawkins look like prospects that can help the big league club down the road, but outside of those names the future of homegrown position player talent arriving on the South Side looks grim.
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There’s nothing wrong with capitalizing on an organizational strength, and for the White Sox that is manufacturing arms capable of making it to The Show. Just as the Chicago Cubs have almost exclusively drafted and traded for bats, planning to use the excess sluggers as assets to flip for pitching, the White Sox have employed a similar strategy except on the pitching side.
They traded homegrown starter Hector Santiago for current center fielder Adam Eaton, the type of player the White Sox system has consistently failed to develop. Homegrown pitching talent Addison Reed was dealt for third base prospect Matt Davidson, who unfortunately fell into the plagued position side of the farm system.
Davidson is a perfect example of the failure of the current process. A Futures Game standout the summer before the trade, Davidson was regarded as an MLB ready third base prospect, with a 20-30 home run ceiling in his prime from the coveted right side.
One year in the White Sox’s farm system and his career has gone off the rails. Davidson can still recover but a player like Jared Mitchell, who will stand as one of the White Sox’s most colossal busts considering he was taken a pick before Mike Trout, will not.
More than anything, I think the White Sox are hesitant to draft a position player because they have a very poor track record developing them. They can’t let that stop them though.
The White Sox can’t let a poor position player track record faze them into drafting an arm.
Gordon Beckham was taken with the 8th pick in the 2009 draft, and while he had bust written all over him last year, he’s looking like a competent piece this season. Whether that’s sustainable is up for debate.
Still, Beckham was an instant fan favorite because he was a homegrown player. In fact, he’s the only current regular on the team to originate from the draft. Micah Johnson was fun to root for because he’d been a product of the system, but has since been demoted due to awful defense.
The White Sox need another Gordon Beckham. Scratch that. Not a carbon copy of Beckham, but the idea of him. They need a high-end talent that they can mold into a homegrown cornerstone player, and this 8th pick is their best chance of landing such a piece.
Next: Former position player draft choices