CHICAGO -- Left-handed pitcher Garrett Crochet was selected 11th overall in the 2020 Draft by the White Sox out of the University of Tennessee, and began pumping 100 mph fastballs at the big league level in Cincinnati on Sept. 18 of that same season.
There probably won’t be a player who can immediately help the 2021 White Sox World Series pursuit at No. 22, where the team is picking in the first round on Sunday night on the first day of the 2021 Draft. But the White Sox certainly won’t shy away from elite talent.
“We talk about elite upstairs all the time. Elite talent is hard to acquire,” said White Sox director of amateur scouting Mike Shirley during a recent Zoom. “We always feel like if there's a piece of this puzzle that is elite, that can separate itself, we're always going to be in that conversation.
“Those transitional pieces make a difference for us, so if there's a portion of this Draft, hitter/pitcher, that gets passed over and is sitting there, we have to look at it. They're too hard to find, so if we feel something has impact, we're going to be ready to strike.”
• The Draft begins at 6 p.m. CT on Sunday (ESPN/MLB.com)
• The White Sox have the 22nd pick in Round 1
• The White Sox bonus pool is $6,618,600
Day 1 of the 2021 Draft will take place live from Denver’s Bellco Theatre on Sunday. It will feature the first 36 picks and will air on MLB Network and ESPN at 6 p.m. CT. Day 2, which will span rounds 2-10, begins at 12 p.m. CT on Monday. The Draft will conclude with rounds 11-20 on Tuesday, starting at 11 a.m. CT. MLB.com will simulcast MLB Network’s broadcast and provide live coverage on all three days.
The White Sox have a total Draft bonus pool of $6,618,600, and their first-round pick at No. 22 has a slot value of $3,027,000. They pick again at No. 57 in the second round with a slot value of $1,243,600 and have a slot value of $618,200 at No. 94 overall for their third-round pick.
In an MLB Pipeline Mock Draft from June 23, Callis has the White Sox selecting third baseman Colson Montgomery out of Southridge High School in Huntingburg, Ind. Callis added that the White Sox are looking at several high school bats, including catcher Joe Mack, third baseman Wes Kath, shortstop Max Muncy and second baseman Peyton Stovall.
“Do we upstairs feel like the high school position players especially have some noise for us? Yeah, we like a lot of those guys,” Shirley said. “Is it something we're looking very intently at? Absolutely, because we feel like the skill set of some of these infielders that present themselves are significant for us.
“And they're the pieces of the puzzle that are screaming at us a little bit as we look at where these players may be available to be selected for us, the White Sox at pick No. 22.”
There’s a strong homegrown Draft influence on the current American League Central-leading White Sox roster. Along with Crochet from 2020, left fielder Andrew Vaughn (2019, No. 3), infielder Jake Burger (2017, No. 11), catcher Zack Collins (2016, No. 10), left-handed starter Carlos Rodón (2014, No. 3), and shortstop Tim Anderson (2013, No. 17) are the recent first-round picks contributing to the organization’s division lead.
Second baseman Nick Madrigal (2018, No. 4) would be on that list if not for suffering a season-ending torn right hamstring and ensuing surgery. Even Chris Sale (2010, No. 13), one of the greatest pitchers in franchise history, should be on the list with his trade to Boston bringing back third baseman Yoán Moncada and right-handed pitcher Michael Kopech.
“This amateur scouting department has done a tremendous job for a number of years. The contributions that are coming at every level is significant,” Shirley said. “We have great area scouts, we have great supervisors, we have great leadership. The plan of this rebuild was something that [general manager] Rick [Hahn] and [chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] and [executive vice president] Kenny [Williams] instituted, and we feel good about what we've been able to pull off.
“Everybody should feel good about that. It took real leadership from Rick, from Kenny, from Jerry to pull off this rebuild, and a lot of it was the Draft picks we were able to acquire.”