Over the next six weeks, MLB-DI will take a look at each teams draft class, breaking down the best — and most questionable — over the past week.
Next up: The Chicago White Sox. Over the past few years — at least in terms of process and understanding value — the White Sox have done poorly in the draft, leading to one of the worst farm systems in baseball. Did things change this year?
To the jump!
The Decision Makers
General Manager: Kenny Williams
Director, Scouting: Doug Laumann
Position Players: 22
Corner infielders: 07
Middle infielders: 08
The First Ten Rounds
Steal: Player was selected several rounds — or in the case of the first-round, several picks — earlier than his value indicated.
Solid: Player was taken later than his value indicated.
Average: Player was selected where his value indicated.
Slight-reach: Player was taken slightly earlier than his value indicated.
Reach: Player was drafted several rounds or picks earlier than his value indicated.
|01.13||Courtney Hawkins||OF||Carroll HS (TX)||Solid|
|CA.48||Keon Barnum||1B||King HS (FL)||Reach|
|02.78||Chris Beck||RHP||Georgia Southern||Average|
|03.108||Joey DiMichele||2B||Arizona State||Reach|
|04.141||Brandon Brennan||RHP||Orange Coast CC||Reach|
|05.171||Nick Basto||SS||Archbishop McCarthy HS (FL)||Reach|
|06.201||Kyle Hanson||RHP||St. John’s||Solid|
|07.231||Jose Baraza||C||Sunnyside HS (CA)||Average|
|10.321||Brandon Hardin||RHP||Delta State (MS)||Average|
It wouldn’t stun me one bit if Hawkins ended up being the best hitter in the 2012 class. He has plus-plus bat speed that will generate plus power, though the swing does need to be tinkered with a bit in order to maximize it. He’s probably a right-fielder, but he has plenty of arm strength and speed for the position. He’s a bit boom or bust, but in the middle of the first-round, he was outstanding value.
Barnum has plenty of power — some graded it 70 and above — but there’s little else in terms of tools, and I have my doubts about whether or not he’ll be able to play in the outfield. The Ryan Howard comps are lazy, he doesn’t have near the pitch recognition at this point, and he’s more than likely low on-base, high strikeout guy who can hit 25-30 homers.
When the year started, Chris Beck ranked as my fourth best collegiate starter, and at one point he looked like a potential top ten pick. A mediocre at best junior campaign cause a hard fall, but he’s still an intriguing arm and potentially a steal in the second round. The arm slot needs to be fixed — and the velocity needs to get back to that 94-96 range he showed in the Cape last summer — but there’s No.2 potential in his right arm.
In order for DiMichele to be a solid selection in the third round, he’ll have to be a very good second baseman. I don’t think he can even stay at the position, so this was a bit of a stunning pick. Yes, the production has been elite, but the bat speed just doesn’t play at the professional level.
Brennan has good size, but he’s a one above-average pitch pitcher right now who’s fastball tops out at 94. If the slider improves he might be able to start, but he looks like a middle reliever at this point to me.
I am one of the few who thought highly of Kyle Hanson, but I think he could be a steal in the sixth round. He’s almost assuredly a reliever, but his size and sink on the fastball should play well, and it wouldn’t stun me one bit if he’s a fast track guy as a 7th-8th inning arm, which isn’t bad at all for the 201st pick in the draft.
Lets start with the positive, to say that this class was an improvement over last years is quite the understatement. Hawkins was a top ten talent, and should Beck show the stuff he had in the 2011 Cape, he could be classified as one of the steals of the class.
Unfortunately, the selections of Barnum and DiMichele were head puzzlers, and after the Hawkins selection, there just isn’t very much upside. It’s certainly an improvement, but it wasn’t necessarily one of my favorite drafts, either.