White Sox 2018 Amateur Draft Strategy from a Fan’s Perspective
The White Sox returns from last year’s 95-loss season are about to come home in the form of the fourth pick in the 2018 Amateur Draft.
Who should the White Sox take?
Pitching wins championships. Look at the White Sox own 2005 World Championship. It was dominant pitching that won the end of that season and entire postseason. The Sox finished that year winning 12 of their final 13 games, including both the ALCS and World Series in a classic case of pitching peaking at the right time.
Pitchers win the battle against hitters 70% of the time. The better a team’s pitchers and each individual contributor, the greater that percentage increases. The Sox have lots of pitching prospects. The Sox and frankly no team ever has enough dominant starters.
Casey Mize should not last until the 4th pick. If he does, he will be the 4th pick. Brady Singer is as safe a bet as you’ll find atop any amateur draft. Thinking about Carter Stewart and his 6’6” frame tossing 98 mph fastballs makes my mouth water. Imagining Shane McClanahan finding the strike zone with his 100 mph heat from the down-state side of the mound does the same thing.
Do I love Alec Bohm? Oh yeah. And do the Sox need a reliable third baseman with high projected power? You know it. What about Joey Bart? Think the Sox could use a top defensive catcher who is as strong in the batter’s box as he is behind the plate? Who could say no?
The Sox should. They should use their high order pick to snatch up a top pitcher. Because pitching wins championships.
Think about it this way. Name any position player – any player at any position – and decide if you would rather have them instead of Justin Verlander. Or Corey Kluber. Or Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Madison Bumgarner or – I brace myself – Chris Sale. Mike Trout? Bryce Harper? Jose Altuve, J.D. Martinez, Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge, George Springer? Which would you rather have, a dominant pitcher or hitter?
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The Sox should draft a pitcher.
But hold up! For the sake of argument, maybe that’s not the right way of thinking. Looking at the Sox depth of talent, you see Pitching and Outfielders. One can easily make a case they should consider top offensive and positional talent. Bohm or Bart, as well at Jonathan India (3B/SS), Travis Swaggerty (of), spark plug Nick Madrigal (2B/SS), or high school phenom Jerret Kelenic (OF) could all end up Major League stars and will likely go in the top 10. Would the Sox dare not take one of these top hitters? A great hitter for a hitters park?
In the end – like life – it all comes down to choices. The White Sox and every other Major League team is stack-ranking draft prospects as best available talent. Many team’s lists will have commonality, but each will be unique. The Sox list will depend to some degree on the 3 choices ahead of them and who remains available, but barring any drastic surprises they know at this moment who they will draft. The choice will be revealing.
No matter who they take the talent will be heralded and at this point seem likely to succeed at the major league level. What happens next is all yet to be determined, including further development, injury risk or other determining factors. The draft is a bet.
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So with all this said, who do I think the team will take? All media speculation and supposed team insights aside? I’m just a fan, and what I want matters less for the purposes of this post than what I think may happen. So here’s my best guess:
My hunch is they take a pitcher. And my hunch is that he’s a former Florida Gator whose name rhymes with Grady Ringer. With everything I know, have seen and have been exposed to, I simply would not bet against him.