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White Sox Draft picks keep rebuild on right path

Chicago eager to develop 20 position players and 20 pitchers selected
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- After three days and 40 rounds, the White Sox Draft is complete, and thanks to having the No. 4 overall pick, Chicago reeled in quite a haul.

Up and down the Draft, the White Sox were pleased with their selections, said Nick Hostetler, the director of amateur scouting. With the White Sox in the second year of a rebuild, Hostetler said the successful development of the picks over the next few years will show that the "path we're taking is the right one."

CHICAGO -- After three days and 40 rounds, the White Sox Draft is complete, and thanks to having the No. 4 overall pick, Chicago reeled in quite a haul.

Up and down the Draft, the White Sox were pleased with their selections, said Nick Hostetler, the director of amateur scouting. With the White Sox in the second year of a rebuild, Hostetler said the successful development of the picks over the next few years will show that the "path we're taking is the right one."

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Draft Tracker: Every White Sox pick

The White Sox took 20 pitchers and 20 position players, including five shortstops, five outfielders, five catchers, two second basemen, two third basemen and one first baseman. College players made up 29 of their 40 selections, down from 34 last season.

"We wanted to walk out of here today feeling like we had both some floor and some ceiling with the players and the Draft as a whole, so we were happy with the way that that played out," Hostetler said.

The White Sox took second baseman Nick Madrigal on Monday with their top selection; he's largely regarded as the Draft's best college hitter. Madrigal shook off a broken wrist sustained in February to hit .406/.470/.586 in 32 games for Oregon State this season, and possesses the tools and quickness to be an above-average defender.

Hostetler said Monday he believes Madrigal will be able to play at Class A Advanced Winston-Salem at some point this season. Madrigal will split his time between second base, shortstop and third base.

Chicago rounded out Day 1 with outfielder Steele Walker out of Oklahoma in the second round (No. 46 overall). The White Sox view Walker as a center fielder, though he played mostly right field this year because Oklahoma quarterback, and No. 9 overall selection to the A's, Kyler Murray, played up the middle.

Day 2 saw the White Sox select six more college players and two high schoolers. Their top Day 2 selection was Konnor Pilkington, a left-handed pitcher from Mississippi State. Pilkington ranked 60th overall on MLB Pipeline and is unusually young for a college Draft pick -- he doesn't turn 21 until September.

Video: Draft 2018: White Sox draft 2B Nick Madrigal No. 4

Hostetler also said Tuesday that he received envious texts from multiple other teams after the White Sox took Virginia pitcher Bennett Sousa in the 10th round. Sousa projects as a left-handed bullpen specialist in the Majors.

The White Sox began Day 3 with high school shortstop Kelvin Maldonado and then a run on college pitching. Chicago's 12th- through 15th-round selections are all college juniors, and the first three -- 12th-rounder Isaiah Carranza, 13th-rounder Jason Bilous, and 14th-rounder David Martin -- were ranked in MLB Pipeline's Top 200.

Maldonado was the White Sox top target heading into the day, Hostetler said.

"He's a true shortstop with plus run tool, showed the ability to swing the bat," Hostetler said. "I got a chance to see him down in Puerto Rico in January. Really loose swing, it's fluid. There's still a ton of room for strength to add onto that frame that he has."

Video: Draft 2018: Sox draft LHP Konnor Pilkington No. 81

The pitchers selected right after Maldonado helped the White Sox boost their depth of power arms in the system, Hostetler said. The White Sox were "very, very pleased" that they were all able to fall to them.

"A little bit of inconsistency on all of their parts is probably why they fell a little bit," Hostetler said, adding that the White Sox development staff was in the Draft room to go over and "make sure that we're comfortable with taking him and knowing that they feel comfortable trying to correct any mechanical flaws that may hinder the player in the future."

Chicago made a few notable selections in the late rounds Wednesday. In the 37th round, the White Sox took second baseman Cannon King, the son of broadcaster Larry King, one year after taking his older brother Chance. Then in the 38th round, the White Sox selected Matthew Klug, an inspiring outfielder whose mom passed away in 2016 and his dad less than a year later.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Chicago White Sox