White Sox: Is Weekend Series Against Giants Critical for 2018 Draft?

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 22: Lucas Giolito
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 22: Lucas Giolito /
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White Sox weekend series against Giants could play role in draft pick for 2018. Both teams are behind the Phillies for top pick in next year’s draft.

While the White Sox season is winding down, there is a race heating up that many around baseball are not talking about. Given it is not what any club wants to fight over, but the South Siders are battling it out for a top pick in the 2018 draft. For those who read my article regarding the race to draft first overall, you would understand how a vital series taking place at Guaranteed Rate Field this weekend might interest the fan base. First who is that team and second, where should our allegiances be?

Even though the San Francisco Giants qualified for the 2016 NLDS, they are fighting for a different prize this year. And since that is the case, their appearance at 7:10 p.m. needs to be discussed. With the Sox now trailing them by 0.5 games, does it make sense for Sox fans to go against their instincts and root for the Giants this weekend?

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What is the answer to this question? It is a resounding yes, not only considering the fact the Sox would move up in the draft order but also in slot money for each pick. Anytime you are building an organization through the draft, it isn’t just the top pick that matters. Those following are vital as well, especially when you take into account the number of good players selected in the later rounds.

So, who has the edge this series? Friday’s battle seems to favor the South Siders, as Lucas Giolito is slated to face off against Matt Moore. While Moore had been very good in prior seasons, his 2017 campaign has been atrocious to say the least. With an ERA of nearly 5.50 (5.42 to be exact) and only four wins (4-13 overall) his glory days in Tampa Bay seem to be behind him. Meanwhile, Giolito has gone seven strong innings the last two times he took the hill. Unless Moore discovers his old self, the Sox are in pretty good shape here.

Game two could determine the series as to who takes it altogether. With the Giants sending Jeff Samardzija to the mound, the outcome could head in either direction. However, his opponent is the vulnerable James Shields, who has given up 22 home runs in only 91.1 innings pitched. To put that into perspective, Shields is giving up a gopher ball 2.2 times every regulation game. In other words, the advantage goes the Giants on Saturday.

In the series finale on Sunday, the Sox have virtually zero chance to win the game on paper. Anytime the Giants send Madison Bumgarner to the bump they have an excellent chance of coming away victorious, however when he faces off against Carson Fulmer the likelihood increases ten-fold. Speaking of the latter, Fulmer may turn into a solid pitcher down the road however that is not occurring at this time.  Due to the aforementioned matchup on the bump, San Francisco has a significant upper hand headed into the last game of the home stand.

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Overall, one aspect to keep in mind when reading this article is that baseball is the most difficult sport to predict. Especially when it is done on a game-by-game basis, which makes the process nearly impossible most of the time. In other words, while it may look as though the Giants will take two out of three, it could easily be the Sox taking the series if not sweeping. So expect the unexpected, Sox fans.