White Sox: Looking Ahead to the 2018 Draft
Prep shortstops are among the top prospects that will be available in the upcoming draft. Will the Sox break tradition and pick a high school player with their top pick?
The White Sox will be selecting 4th overall in this June’s MLB amateur draft. The experts predict this to be a very strong draft, especially with prep players.
In the recent past, the White Sox have been reluctant to choose high school players with their top pick. In 2012, the Sox had two first round picks and both were high school position players. Outfielder Courtney Hawkins was selected 13th overall. Keon Barnum was a supplemental first-round pick. Obviously, to this point at least, neither have resembled anything close to what one would expect from a first-round draft pick.
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You have to go all the way back to 1977, when the Sox selected future All-Star Harold Baines with the first overall pick, to find a successful prep position player the Sox picked in the first round.
This year, however, two things stand out that may have the Sox thinking differently. First, the Sox are sorely lacking at the shortstop position throughout the entire organization. Of the White Sox current top 30 prospects, not one is a shortstop. The need is definitely there.
Secondly, that brings us to this year’s draft. Both Brice Turang and Nander De Sedes are top-level high school shortstop prospects that could be available when the Sox pick fourth.
De Sedes comes from the same high school as Francisco Lindor. He’s also been compared to Lindor because both are switch-hitting shortstops. MLB’s Jim Callis even projects the Sox selecting him when their time comes to pick.
Turang is projected as a five-tool talent. He was the top overall prospect before an average at best Spring last year. The only concern some experts have about him is power. However, many expect he will gain that as he grows.
The issue is experience and the level of competition that High School players go up against. Without seeing them excel at the College level, it’s always a risk to take a High School position player high in the draft. Prep players have a higher chance of becoming a bust.
However, the Sox have been targeting definite weak spots in their organization with the last two drafts. Jake Burger and Zack Collins filled very definite positional weak spots. Shortstop is definitely now the weakest position in the organization and this appears like a good draft to fill that need.
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Tim Anderson may be the shortstop of the immediate future, but the Sox need depth at the position. While a High School player would not provide immediate help at the major league level, a top-level talent like De SEdes or Turang would provide stability at the lower levels. The shortstop position is a prime position of concern and this is the year to invest in it.