CHICAGO – Harold Baines was a top Draft pick in the first round for the White Sox. In fact, the Hall of Famer was the No. 1 pick overall in 1977.
Fellow Hall of Famer Frank Thomas also is on this top pick list, as are six players currently contributing to the 2021 American League Central leaders. Here’s a look at every top Draft pick by the White Sox in each season, from most recent to back when it all began in 1965.
2021: Colson Montgomery, SS, Southridge HS (Ind.) (No. 22)
Montgomery distinctly reminded the White Sox of star Tim Anderson, given his ability to hit for both average and power and his knack for making his presence felt in the middle of the diamond. Montgomery's selection marked the first time the White Sox took a high school player with their first Draft selection since outfielder Courtney Hawkins in 2012.
2020: Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee (No. 11)
Crochet’s 45 pitches thrown at 100 mph or above ranked second in the Majors during the 2020 season, and Crochet only pitched in five games covering six innings shortly after he was drafted. His velocity hasn’t been quite 100 mph in ’21, but he has still been a predominantly effective reliever with potential future starting responsibilities.
2019: Andrew Vaughn, 1B/LF, California (No. 3)
There was a Spring Training question as to whether the young man with an extremely polished plate approach would start the ’21 season as the team’s designated hitter. But an injury to Eloy Jiménez put Vaughn in left field, where he has played very well despite having very little experience at the position.
2018: Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State (No. 4)
Madrigal is a career .317 hitter over parts of two big league seasons, with 24 strikeouts over 324 plate appearances. The talented second baseman had his ’21 season cut short by a right hamstring tear and ensuing surgery.
2017: Jake Burger, INF, Missouri State (No. 11)
When Burger eventually reaches the Majors, it will be the stuff of Hollywood movie scripts. The third baseman missed parts of three seasons due to a pair of left Achilles ruptures but has been thriving offensively at Triple-A Charlotte this season as well as getting time defensively at second base.
2016: Zack Collins, C, University of Miami (No. 10)
Collins caught Carlos Rodón’s no-hitter earlier this season against the Indians and has established himself as a solid No. 2 catcher behind Yasmani Grandal.
2015: Carson Fulmer, RHP, Vanderbilt (No. 8)
After posting a 6.66 ERA over 20 games with the Reds in ‘21, Fulmer currently is pitching for their Triple-A affiliate in Louisville. Fulmer posted a 6.56 ERA over 44 games with the White Sox.
2014: Carlos Rodón, LHP, North Carolina State (No. 3)
Rodón is healthy, after dealing with Tommy John and left shoulder surgeries -- and is absolutely dominant. He no-hit the Indians this season and is one of the prime candidates to start for the American League in the 2021 All-Star Game.
2013: Tim Anderson, SS, East Central Community College (No. 17)
Anderson is the heart and soul of this White Sox team and the spirit behind the organization’s “Change the Game” marketing campaign. When Anderson goes, this team’s offense really goes. He is a solid presence defensively and a player who truly enjoys the game.
2012: Courtney Hawkins, OF, Mary Carroll HS (Texas) (No. 13)
Hawkins might best be known for his back flip while wearing a suit and dress shoes during his Draft night interview. He hit 19 home runs in 2013 and 2014 for Class A Winston-Salem but never reached the Majors.
2011: Keenyn Walker, OF, Central Arizona College (No. 47)
Walker could run with the best of them, swiping 204 bases over 605 games in the White Sox organization from 2011-16. But he only hit .229 with a .636 OPS and was out of baseball after a 2018 stint in independent baseball.
2010: Chris Sale, LHP, Florida Gulf Coast University (No. 13)
Sale is one of the greatest pitchers to ever take the mound for the White Sox. He came to the Majors two months after he was drafted, worked two years out of the bullpen and then made five straight All-Star appearances as a starter. His 274 strikeouts in 2015 remain a single-season franchise record.
2009: Jared Mitchell, OF, LSU (No. 23)
Mitchell was built like a defensive back, which is not surprising considering he played football as well at LSU. But a tendon tear in his left ankle suffered during a 2010 Cactus League game basically derailed his career before it ever got going. Mitchell also will be forever known as the White Sox selection arriving two picks before Mike Trout was taken by the Angels.
2008: Gordon Beckham, 2B, Georgia (No. 8)
Beckham was last heard as a guest analyst on the White Sox broadcast of games in Houston. He came up as a third baseman in 2009, with very little experience at the position, but ended up being a top-flight defensive presence at second. Beckham also hit 67 home runs over 839 games for the White Sox and finished his career with Detroit in 2019.
2007: Aaron Poreda, LHP, University of San Francisco (No. 25)
Ten games thrown out of the bullpen during the 2009 season covered Poreda’s White Sox career. He was traded that same year to San Diego as part of a four-player return for right-handed starter Jake Peavy.
2006: Kyle McCulloch, RHP, Texas (No. 29)
McCulloch has the distinction of being the team’s top pick following a World Series championship season. He reached as high as Triple-A Charlotte in 2010.
2005: Lance Broadway, RHP, TCU (No. 15)
Broadway posted a 4.69 ERA over 19 games with the White Sox, including two starts. He also dabbled in acting following his baseball career.
2004: Josh Fields, 3B, Oklahoma State, (No. 18)
The talented Oklahoma State quarterback made a big rookie debut by belting 23 home runs and driving in 67 in 2007. He was part of a 2009 trade with the Royals that brought Mark Teahen to Chicago. Left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez was taken 38th overall by the White Sox in this Draft.
2003: Brian Anderson, OF, University of Arizona (No. 15)
With Gold Glove-caliber defense in center, Anderson was targeted to take over for Aaron Rowand after Rowand was traded to Philadelphia for Jim Thome following the ’05 championship season. But Anderson hit just .225 with the White Sox and ended up giving pitching a try within the Yankees’ system in 2011 before retiring.
2002: Royce Ring, LHP, San Diego State (No. 18)
Ring made 99 career appearances over five seasons, but none of them came for the White Sox. Once believed to be a future closer, Ring never recorded a save.
2001: Kris Honel, RHP, Providence Catholic HS (Ill.) (No. 16)
The local product cruised through the 2003 season in the White Sox organization and was getting closer to a big league callup. But he never regained that form from his first three seasons and was out of affiliated baseball after 2008.
2000: Joe Borchard, OF, Stanford (No. 12)
Borchard, an all-round good guy and an accomplished quarterback at Stanford, agreed to a $5.3 million signing bonus to focus solely on baseball. He played in seven games during the White Sox World Series title year but was traded to Seattle for left-handed reliever Matt Thornton during Spring Training 2006. Borchard is now excelling in the business world but still holds the mark for longest home run hit at Guaranteed Rate Field at 504 feet in 2004.
1999: Jason Stumm, RHP, Centralia HS (Wash.) (No. 15)
Stumm appeared in 90 games over seven Minor League seasons with the White Sox. But the highest he ever reached was seven games with Double-A Birmingham in 2003.
1998: Kip Wells, RHP, Baylor (No. 16)
Rowand’s selection at No. 35 overall in this Draft ended up being the more impactful pick in the long run for the White Sox. But Wells would go on to make 296 Major League appearances, of which 219 were starts.
1997: Jason Dellaero, SS, South Florida (No. 15)
A potential shortstop of the future for the White Sox played just 11 games for the team in 1999. He also pitched in the Minors during the 2002 campaign.
1996: Bobby Seay, LHP, Sarasota HS (Fla.) (No. 12)
Seay had a 4.16 ERA over 261 games for three Major League teams, but none of them were with the White Sox. According to various reports, the White Sox voluntarily relinquished their rights to Seay about two months after the Draft.
1995: Jeff Liefer, OF, Long Beach State (No. 25)
Liefer had his best season in 2001 with 18 homers, 39 RBIs and an .833 OPS. Liefer played for five teams over parts of seven seasons.
1994: Mark Johnson, C, Warner Robins HS (Ga.) (No. 26)
Johnson became one of the team’s primary catchers during the 2000 AL Central championship season. The left-handed hitter knocked out all 16 of his career homers as part of the White Sox.
1993: Scott Christman, LHP, Oregon State (No. 17)
Christman was with the White Sox from 1993-97 but never reached the Majors.
1992: Eddie Pearson, 1B, Bishop State Community College (No. 24)
Although he never found Major League success, Pearson had one outstanding season with the Hyundai Unicorns in Korea in 1999. Pearson finished that season with a .289 average, 31 homers and 108 RBIs after spending 1992-98 with the White Sox.
1991: Scott Ruffcorn, RHP, Baylor (No. 25)
This highly touted prospect never fulfilled that full potential during his short big league career. Ruffcorn finished 0-8 with an 8.57 ERA over 30 games (nine starts), including 12 games and five starts with the White Sox. Ruffcorn posted a 15-3 record with a 2.72 ERA over 24 starts for Triple-A Nashville in 1994.
1990: Alex Fernandez, RHP, Miami-Dade College (No. 4)
Fernandez became another direct hit for the White Sox amateur scouting staff, producing an 18-9 record and 3.13 ERA in the 1993 season, when the White Sox captured the AL West crown. Fernandez finished 79-63 with a 3.78 ERA over seven seasons on the South Side.
1989: Frank Thomas, 1B, Auburn (No. 7)
The No. 1 hitter in the history of the franchise is known by many simply as the Big Hurt. The first-ballot Hall of Famer, who also played football at Auburn, has his White Sox jersey No. 35 retired along with a concourse statue at Guaranteed Rate Field. Thomas sits atop nine franchise statistical categories, including 448 home runs and 1,465 RBIs.
1988: Robin Ventura, 3B, Oklahoma State, (No. 10)
Ventura probably is the greatest third baseman to ever play for the White Sox. He had six seasons in Chicago with a least 90 RBIs and another five seasons with at least 20 home runs, setting career highs with 34 homers and 105 RBIs in 1996. He won five Gold Gloves with the White Sox and ended up managing the team from 2012-16.
1987: Jack McDowell, RHP, Stanford (No. 5)
Arguably the greatest run of first-round picks in franchise history began with McDowell in ’87. McDowell won 20 games twice with the White Sox, threw 49 complete games and captured the 1993 American League Cy Young as a division champ.
1986: Grady Hall, LHP, Northwestern (No. 20)
Hall put up a combined 25-16 record for Double-A Birmingham in 1989 and Triple-A Vancouver in 1990, but never made it to the Majors.
1985: Kurt Brown, C, Glendora HS (Calif.) (No. 5)
The tagline for Brown is he was taken one pick behind Barry Larkin with the Reds and one pick before the Pirates selected Barry Bonds. Brown hit 23 home runs in 586 Minor League games with the White Sox.
1984: Tony Menendez, RHP, American HS (Fla.) (No. 20)
Menendez had a couple of good seasons as a starter within the White Sox system but didn’t reach the Majors until 1992 with the Reds. He made 23 career relief appearances with the Reds, Pirates and Giants.
1983: Joel Davis, RHP, Sandalwood HS (Fla.) (No. 13)
Davis made 41 starts among his 49 career appearances for the White Sox. He finished 8-14 with a 4.91 ERA.
1982: Ron Karkovice, C, William R. Boone HS (Fla.) (No. 14)
Dubbed “Officer Karkovice” for his success at nailing would-be basestealers, Karkovice had a successful 12-year run behind the plate for the White Sox. He knocked out 96 career home runs and featured an 11.6 defensive bWAR at catcher.
1981: Daryl Boston, OF, Woodward HS (Ohio) (No. 7)
Boston played for Tony La Russa during his first stint as White Sox manager. Now, he coaches first base and the outfield in La Russa’s second managerial stint with the White Sox. Boston also hit 38 homers and picked up 52 stolen bases in seven seasons with the White Sox.
1980: Cecil Espy, OF, Point Loma HS (Calif.) (No. 8)
Espy was selected in the same Draft as Rick Renteria (No. 20 overall), Terry Francona (No. 22) and Billy Beane (No. 23). He was eventually traded to the Dodgers for Rudy Law, who was a major contributor to the team’s 1983 division title with 77 stolen bases.
1979: Steve Buechele, SS, Servite HS (Calif.) (No. 9)
Buechele had a solid career for the Rangers, Pirates and Cubs, hitting 137 homers with 547 RBIs over 11 seasons, but he never signed with the White Sox.
1978: Dave White, 3B, Valdosta HS (Ga.) (No. 31)
White spent three seasons at Class A Appleton from 1978-80 but never made it to the Majors.
1977: Harold Baines, OF, St. Michaels HS (Md.) (No. 1)
Hall of Fame player. Hall of Fame person. Baines remains involved with the organization after hitting 221 homers and 320 doubles with 981 RBIs and an .809 OPS in parts of 14 seasons with the White Sox. He’s one of the most accomplished designated hitters in the game’s history, although he also was a very good right fielder. Baines also played for the Orioles, A’s, Rangers and Indians, had his White Sox jersey No. 3 retired and has a concourse statue at Guaranteed Rate Field.
1976: Steve Trout, LHP, Thornwood HS (Ill.) (No. 8)
Having played high school baseball approximately 35 minutes from then-Comiskey Park, Trout was a local boy who made it big at home. Trout pitched five years for the White Sox before being traded to the Cubs on Jan. 25, 1983. He pitched five years for the Cubs, including two playoff appearances in 1984.
1975: Chris Knapp, RHP, Central Michigan University (No. 11)
Knapp won 12 games in the 1977 White Sox rotation. He was traded with Brian Downing and Dave Frost to the Angels on Dec. 5, 1977, sending Bobby Bonds, Richard Dotson and Thad Bosley back to the White Sox.
1974: Larry Monroe, RHP, Forest View HS (Ill.) (No. 8)
Monroe made eight appearances, which included two starts, during the 1976 season. It was his lone big league season, although Monroe was a long-time employee of the organization.
1973: Steve Swisher, C, Ohio University (No. 21)
Swisher’s only All-Star appearance came in 1976 as part of the Cubs. He was traded to the North Side on Dec. 11, 1973, along with Ken Frailing, Jim Kremmel and Steve Stone in exchange for Cubs legend Ron Santo.
1972: Mike Ondina, OF, Cordova HS (Calif.) (No. 12)
Played from 1972-77 as part of the White Sox system but never reached the Majors. Ondina also played two years in the Royals system.
1971: Danny Goodwin, C, Peoria Central HS (Ill.) (No. 1)
Goodwin played 252 games in his big league career. But even as the No. 1 pick overall, Goodwin chose college over signing with the White Sox.
1970: Lee Richard, SS, Southern University (No. 6)
Richard played 173 games over four seasons with the White Sox, before finishing his career with 66 games as part of the Cardinals in 1976. Richard’s only two career homers came in 1971 during his rookie season.
1969: Ted Nicholson, 3B, Oak Park HS (Miss.) (No. 3)
He played with the team from 1969-73, but Nicholson never reached the Majors. His best season came in 1970, when Nicholson hit nine homers with 48 RBIs.
1968: Rich McKinney, SS, Ohio University (No. 14)
The right-handed hitter had his best season with the White Sox in 1971, hitting .271 with eight homers and 46 RBIs. He was traded to the Yankees for Stan Bahnsen later that year.
1967: William Haynes, 3B, Headland HS (Ga.) (No. 13)
Haynes lasted two seasons in the organization, hitting .249 with 13 homers, 20 doubles and 67 RBIs over two Minor League stops in ’69.
1966: Carlos May, OF, A.H. Parker HS (Ala.) (No. 18)
May was an All-Star with the White Sox in 1969 and 1972, hitting 85 homers with a .275 average over his nine seasons in Chicago. May also had 154 doubles, 20 triples, 84 stolen bases and exactly 1,000 hits with the White Sox.
1965: Ken Plesha, C, Notre Dame (No. 17)
Plesha, who went to Providence-St. Mel High School in Chicago, hit .186 over three seasons in the White Sox system.