So this is *theoretically* the last year the White Sox will be picking in the top 5 for a long, long time. Because of that, they have no choice but to hit an absolute BOMB with their pick.
Mock drafts are starting to trickle in by all the big dog publications and as of now there seems to be a consensus #1 pick:
Oregon State Catcher Adley Rutschman.
Here’s a quick highlight video of Rutschman to set the proper stage of this video:
Kid’s a freak. Plus hit tool, plus power, plus defense. He’s one of those guys where if someone were to watch an OSU game with a blind eye they’d be like “yup that kid’s the best player on the field by far”. Kid has it all aside from being a catcher, which obviously carriers more risk than say a corner IF or OF does. Unless he puts together a completely mediocre year or Baltimore and KC go against the general consensus, the Sox don’t really have a shot at him.
Now it’d be fucking awesome if they did somehow land him. In 2014, Rodon was the consensus #1 pick in all the preseason mocks but eventually fell to the Sox at 4. So there’s still hope the Sox can land him because this guy is going to be a bona fide freak. But who else is on the board?
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, Cal:
Vaughn put together an absurd stat line last year en route to winning the Golden Spikes Award, college baseball’s Heisman Trophy equivalent:
If available, the Sox probably won’t pass on that. They haven’t touched a HS kid in the 1st round of the draft in years and Vaughn should theoretically fly through any system, so he would be here for the majority of their contending window. It’s not often college 1B are drafted this high, and their “hit” rate isn’t great when they are, but Vaughn has a great shot to be the exception to that rule. To reference what kinda hitter Vaughn is thought of, here are the player grades MLB Pipeline give him:
I’ll take that all fucking day. Should he be there at 3 and the Sox do take him, hopefully he turns into their Kris Bryant. Let him rake and then figure out his position later, which is his obvious weakness. Zero athleticism and is a surefire 1B/DH.
If not, here are a few other players figured to be at the top of the board:
Bobby Witt Jr., SS, HS:
Decent, and probably still growing vertically frame at 6′, 180 pounds. Could he be a stud? Sure. Could he flame out? Also sure. The variance with HS kids is way too big for my taste at 3 though, and if we’re using past precedent as a judge of future White Sox draft picks, I would guess they pass on him for a college bat. If it came down to Whitt or Vaughn and the Sox took Whitt, I’d be pissed in this instance, even though I’ve said the Sox need to start getting high end 17-18 year olds in their system for a year or two now via the draft. But in the 2019 draft vacuum, you take the best possible player and IMO that player is Vaughn.
Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor:
Here are his stats from his FR and SO years at Baylor
No fucking thank you. He’s apparently got a hose of an arm behind the dish, but the Sox cannot take a defense first catch at 3. Not a chance in hell. And a lot of early mocks have him falling there. I know college stats don’t tell the whole story and they are looking at how he projects, now how he currently is, but I’m not touching a 6′, 190 catch that hasn’t dominated collegiately that high in the draft. Can’t, won’t.
Now there will be a LOT of movement in the coming months. Last year at this time, Bryce Turang, a HS SS out of the LA area was healthily in the top 3-4, as high as 1-1, yet slipped all the way to Milwaukee at 21st. That happens regularly. What we can safely assume though is that both college players that nobody is talking about right now will shoot up the boards and HS kids will bounce all over the board.
Nevertheless, Hostetler has his work cut out for him this year. It’ll be fun to follow the draft where the Sox could land a bona fide stud one last time.