Sep 9th, 2009
Early 2009 Draft Impressions
Seven Costanza and Dan Santaromita gave their thoughts and predictions from the 2009 White Sox draft class. Each picked their favorite and least favorite draft pick, a sleeper, a bust candidate, the first to make it to the Majors, an unsigned pick that was most disappointing and their overall early thoughts on the draft.
SC: Ryan Buch
I think the Sox got great value with Buch in the 8th round. He’s got the potential to become a mid-rotation starter due to his solid three pitch mix of a low to mid 90’s fastball, excellent curve and improving change. The command of his fastball can be erratic which is what could prevent him from reaching his potential but he’s definitely the prime candidate to be next year’s Dexter Carter or Dan Hudson. I think Buch had value even in the second round so to draft him in the 8th and sign him for slot money looks like a great job by the Sox. Lot’s of projectability here.
DS: Kyle Bellamy
In terms of best value at the round the player was taken, I really like Bellamy. He dominated at Miami in the tough ACC for 2 years and has the stuff and deception with his sidearm delivery to fly through the minors (he is already doing very well in Kannapolis). His high 80s fastball has good sink and his slider is effective. His strikeout to walk ratio is spectacular so far, which is somewhat expected because he was a very advanced reliever out of college. It might be generous to say his upside is as a setup man, but chances are good he will be the first member of this White Sox draft class to make it to the Majors.
Least Favorite Pick
SC: Justin Collop
There are definitely things to like about Collop; he’s athletic, has a fast arm and three workable pitches when he’s on but he’s been very inconsistent, his command isn’t good and his secondary pitches fell off during the second half of the season resulting in Collop getting hit hard. There’s too much uncertainty and not enough upside in Collop for me to call this pick anything other than a reach. I think Collop is the type of prospect that you take a flier on in the 10-14 round range, not the 6th.
DS: Matt Hopps
I’ll put Hopps in the never to interview with us category. He signed for well under slot and has only been pitching for a few years so there is projectability for his age (23), but I think the odds are against him more than the rest of the top 10 picks. The term least favorite fits best because I don’t dislike the pick, it was the 9th round after all, but I feel that there is the least to like about Hopps relative to other somewhat high picks.
SC: Dan Black
The 14th rounder Black hasn’t had the best of results in the early going, but I really like his combination of plus power and fantastic plate discipline. He doesn’t have a position and has been playing a lot of first base, it’s unfortunate that he couldn’t stick at the position he played a lot in college, that being catcher, because then he really would be a prospect. But as it is I believe in the bat, even at first, so hopefully Dan Black doesn’t prove me wrong.
DS: Kyle Colligan
Colligan is an athletic outfielder, something the Sox seemed to grab a lot of this draft, and has done well at Great Falls this year. He did well in the Big 12 at Texas A&M and can play a solid centerfield while hitting for some pop. He’s been getting on base at a great clip with the Voyagers this season, living up to my own expectations of him. He is an advanced hitter that shouldn’t have too much trouble with A ball pitching in 2010. I’m not expecting him to set the world on fire, but he should do well. For a 12th rounder, I think he has the ability to be an under the radar prospect that does well without much notice.
Most Likely to Bust
SC: Trayce Thompson
Thompson was probably my second favourite pick of the whole draft behind Buch, but there is a huge amount of bust potential with Trayce. He’s very raw and has a long swing leading to a lot of strikeouts. Those are two big red flags for a prospect, but there is also an awful lot to like about Trayce. If he puts it all together Thompson could become a prototypical right fielder with great power, arm strength and solid defense, however it will almost certainly take him a long time to get there.
DS: Trayce Thompson
He is the highest high schooler the Sox selected and he is widely considered a raw prospect. I love the pick and the upside, but by definition a raw player is more likely to bust than most. He’s a ways away from the Majors if he gets there so fans will need to be patient with his development. It will be interesting to see if Thompson starts next year in Kannapolis or if the Sox are going to take it slowly with him and have him in extended spring training before rookie ball.
First to the Majors
SC: Kyle Bellamy
Bellamy was a dominant reliever for the Hurricanes. He’s very polished and gets lots of ground balls with a good amount of strikeouts from his two-seam fastball and sweeping slider, both of which he has great command of. He was described by one prospect evaluator as “Death on right handers” and ultimately may have to settle for a job as a ROOGY, although he could potentially become a late inning reliever, possibly even a closer. Unlike last years supposed fast riser Drew O’Neil, Bellamy made light work of rookie ball and I don’t think an assignment to Birmingham for the start of next year would be too aggressive, although Winston-Salem is his more likely destination.
DS: Kyle Bellamy
My reasoning for this is mostly why I said he was my favorite pick. He was a first-team All-American in college and has the stuff to dominate A ball hitters. Great sink on his pitches leads to a great groundball rate and he has been striking guys out so far in the minors. Sidearm guys seem to move quickly in general and I don’t think Bellamy will be an exception to that.
The One That Got Away
SC: Bryan Morgado
There were better prospects that the Sox failed to sign but Morgado would have filled the biggest need, that need being left-handed pitching prospects which aren’t still 4 years away. Morgado struggled a lot with his command while at Tennessee which stopped him pitching up to his stuff (he has a first round arm). The White Sox don’t exactly have the best reputation for developing prospects but they’ve done well just recently and it would have been interesting to see what they could have done with Morgado.
DS: Justin Jones
Morgado is the easier pick here because he was drafted in the 3rd round, but I really started to like Jones based on the things I was reading about him after the draft. Word was his velocity was improving and he supposedly had a very good curveball. He seemed like a high upside pick for the 7th round, but he probably realized that too and decided college would improve his draft stock 3 years from now. It’s hard to argue with that and the White Sox have been known to redraft players (Chris Getz, Jordan Danks, Ricky Brooks) so maybe we will see the same with Jones down the road. It seems like the Sox weren’t going to go over slot on any of their draftees, which is acceptable as long as the talent they did sign makes up for it.
SC: I liked a lot of picks that were made but I wonder if there’s enough impact talent here because outside of Jared Mitchell, Thompson, Josh Phegley and Buch I don’t see anyone who could become a significantly above average starter. The Sox really could have done with signing one or more of the Justin Jones, Bryan Morgado and Dane Williams trio after dealing a lot of their pitching depth in the Peavy trade, but unfortunately they were not able to, so they will have to wait for either off-season trades or next year’s draft to plug this hole in the system. I do like the direction that the organisation seems to be taking with their draft mentality, moving away from the “safer” picks such as Broadway and McCulloch a few years ago and moving towards higher risk, higher reward picks such as Mitchell and Thompson.
DS: The Sox clearly went after athletes in this draft. Mitchell, Thompson, Colligan and Nick Ciolli all played center field with their teams this year. The Sox could use some infield depth in the minors now, but it’s good to see outfield athleticism as a priority. I like David Holmberg and Matt Heidenreich as projectable arms, but there weren’t any good polished starting pitchers signed by the Sox. Morgado would have been helped that, but I’m worried about his control. It’s way too early to say much of anything about this draft in terms of quality yet, but on paper it’s easier to like the hitters (even in the lower rounds) more than the pitching. Though it will be interesting to see how the top high school picks develop.