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Sox take 5 college hurlers on Day 2 of Draft

MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- The White Sox Draft room exhibited some general excitement, bordering on giddiness, during the brief look into the group when picks were announced during Day 2 of the 2018 MLB Draft on Tuesday.

Draft Tracker: Follow every White Sox Draft pick

CHICAGO -- The White Sox Draft room exhibited some general excitement, bordering on giddiness, during the brief look into the group when picks were announced during Day 2 of the 2018 MLB Draft on Tuesday.

Draft Tracker: Follow every White Sox Draft pick

That upbeat demeanor tied into satisfaction coming from the 10 picks in total, but certainly was ignited by their first two picks made Monday night. In Oregon State infielder Nick Madrigal, taken No. 4 overall, the White Sox added what they believe is the best hitter and possibly the best player of the Draft.

In Oklahoma outfielder Steele Walker, selected in the second round with pick No. 46, the White Sox believe they picked up a second first-round talent without having a second first-round selection.

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"It takes a little bit of pressure off early, just with the first pick you get the guy that you want. It sets the tone for the rest of the Draft," White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler said during a Tuesday evening conference call. "You feel like you're one-for-one and you've got the player that you've been targeting.

"Then to have an opportunity to add Steele to that, it's just a situation where we felt the tools were so great, the talent was so great, and looking at reports here, we've got six first-round grades on him. To have that consensus over a scouting department and on a player and have an opportunity to add him in the second round, it's exciting.

"And I think the other thing too, the big thing, is they're both up-the-middle players," Hostetler said. "Starting off the Draft with two premium up-the-middle guys, for us that was a heck of a start and we were excited to add two there."

Here's a look at the rest of the White Sox picks following Madrigal and Walker on Day 2.

Round 3: LHP Konnor Pilkington, Mississippi State
Pilkington joins the White Sox as a three-year member of the Bulldogs' rotation. He became the team's ace as a sophomore despite being on the younger side (he doesn't turn 21 until September) and despite a dip in velocity this spring, he's still striking out hitters with regularity and walking fewer than he has all through college.

The left-hander is 6-foot-3 and profiles as a potential No. 3 or No. 4 innings-eating starter. Right now his changeup is more advanced than his slider, and he relies on the former more to get batters out. Pilkington's slider can look more like a curveball at times, but he could wind up with three above-average pitches.

"We are very, very excited to add a premium starter like this in the third round," Hostetler said. "Konnor is a guy that when we left last night we obviously realized he was still on the board and a guy a couple of our scouts had high. A couple of first-round numbers and a couple of high second-round numbers on."

Pilkington ranked 60th overall on MLB Pipeline's Top 200 when Chicago selected him at No. 81 overall. The slot value is $726,700.

Round 4: SS Lency Delgado, Doral Academy (FL) HS
Delgado has size, 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, and speed, running a 6.87 60-yard dash. As he's grown, he's maintained his athleticism and scouts love his natural feel for the game, especially on defense.

Though he might eventually move to third base, Delgado should be fine there given his plus arm strength and bat. Hostetler raved about Delgado's power potential.

"Our scout in Florida, Pepe Ortega, was just absolutely begging for this guy. Pepe has about 30 years of scouting and has found a lot of big leaguers, so when he screams and yells for a guy I listen," Hostetler said. "We've had a chance to see Lency over the last two years play, and the power is special. He's got some type of premium power from the right side."

The slot value is $517,800 for No. 108 overall. Delgado is currently committed to Florida International.

Round 5: RHP Jonathan Stiever, Indiana
Stiever grew up near Milwaukee and was a first-team all-state pitcher in high school, though he wasn't drafted. He made a name for himself at Indiana, however, earning Friday night starter status during his sophomore and junior years.

The 88th prospect in MLB Pipeline's Top 200, Stiever throws a hard spike-curveball that he can manipulate, throwing it harder or slower when necessary. His fastball sits in the low 90s, but he has been recorded at 96 mph. Stiever also throws a changeup to keep lefties in check, but his breaking ball is his go-to offspeed pitch.

"This guy's got unbelievable pitchability," Hostetler said, adding that the White Sox were happy to see Stiever fall due to his smaller size. "He pounds the strike zone, premium stuff. We've got guys that believe his fastball's gonna play up to about 93-94, and we definitely look at him as a starter."

Stiever threw 100 1/3 innings for the Hoosiers this year, compiling a 3.41 ERA and striking out 97 while walking 32. The slot value for No. 138 overall is $386,800.

Round 6: RHP Codi Heuer, Wichita State
Continuing the trend of college pitching, Heuer was taken in the sixth round. After spending his first two years with the Shockers as a reliever, he transitioned to Friday night starter in 2018.

Per MLB Pipeline, Heuer's arm action might be better suited for relief work. He generally throws his fastball anywhere from 92-96 mph, and while his slider is only average it's much improved. Heuer also throws a changeup, but so far his slider is his best offspeed pitch.

Heuer threw 79 1/3 innings in 16 games (15 starts) for Wichita State this year, pitching to a 4.31 ERA. He struck out 82 and walked 37. The slot value for No. 168 overall is $290,200.

Round 7: OF Cabera Weaver, South Gwinnett (Ga.) HS
Weaver is long, lanky and fast. He's 6-foot-3 and only 150 pounds, but ran the fastest 60-yard dash times at a Perfect Game showcase at 6.27 seconds. That speed has translated into a solid defensive skill set, and he can also make accurate throws from the outfield.

Weaver is still growing and scouts believe his bat will catch up once he puts on more muscle. He still makes consistent line-drive contact but hasn't hit for much power yet.

"Huge ceiling. We think he's a pure center fielder that can really, really run. The bat is the tool that will need the most time and most work," Hostetler said. "The run tool is there, the defense is there, the arm is there.

"It's just the matter of getting the swing a little more consistency," he added. "This is a very high-ceiling player that if it clicks, he's an impact center fielder for a long time."

Weaver verbally committed to Georgia in 2016. The slot value for No. 198 overall is $226,200.

Round 8: LHP Andrew Perez, South Florida
Aside from two starts his freshman year of college, Perez worked strictly as a reliever for the Bulls. This season he was stellar in 24 appearances (42 1/3 innings), pitching to a 2.34 ERA and striking out 50 while walking 12.

Perez throws his fastball in the high-80s, low-90s range, and can top out around 94 mph. He also throws a curveball, which is better than his changeup. The slot value for No. 228 overall is $179,200.

Round 9: C Gunnar Troutwine, Wichita State
Troutwine, who likely caught all of Heuer's appearances, earned the starting catching role as a freshman and caught 179 games (170 starts) during his four years as a Shocker. He dealt with patellar tendinitis in 2017, but rebounded in a big way this season, hitting .302 and slugging .505.

Troutwine cut down on his strikeouts in 2018, whiffing only 38 times compared with 60 in his full sophomore season. He walked 34 times this year to go along with his 55 hits.

The catcher also gained some notoriety in his senior season, growing out a full beard, a la Justin Turner. Troutwine is also a redhead, and per the Wichita Eagle, he uses special conditioner for the beard and sometimes waxes his mustache "if I'm feeling fancy."

The slot value for No. 258 overall is $153,200.

Round 10: LHP Bennett Sousa, Virginia
Sousa was drafted in the 34th round by the Nationals last year, but improved his stock enough to rise into the top 10 rounds. Like Perez, Sousa spent most of his college days pitching out the bullpen, and Hostetler views him as a potential left-handed specialist out of the 'pen.

"I've actually gotten a couple texts from other teams that really liked him, he was up to 93 in the ACC Tournament just last week," Hostetler said. "While we did save some money there and we have an opportunity to be flexible [Wednesday], we still got premium talent with Troutwine and Sousa."

Sousa struck out 61 hitters in 43 innings this season for the Cavaliers, good for a nearly 13.0 K/9 rate. He did walk 22 batters this season and factored into nine decisions out of 23 appearances.

The slot value for No. 288 overall is $142,300.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

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