We’re now one underwhelming performance and two rain-outs into the White Sox 2017 season, the earliest stage still in the rebuilding efforts on the south side, and no chatter is more prevalent from the fan-base than that of the hopes that the White Sox will fall into position to draft Clemson slugger, Seth Beer in the 2018 MLB Draft.
The vast majority of White Sox fans are in agreement to some degree or another that losing 100-plus games in 2016, and obtaining the number one pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, and parlaying that into the 20-year old Maryville, IL phenom, Seth Beer, would be the best case scenario for the future of the rebuild.
While Seth Beer is certainly a special bat, and we would love to see the slugging left-hander smacking bombs into the right field seats at Guaranteed Rate Field sometime in 2019, the probability of this coming to fruition is still largely up in the air.
First issue in the matter is, the White Sox are not going to lose more games in 2017 than the San Diego Padres. Depending on how early they trade Jose Quintana, and how many other players they move before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, it could be a close race for the cellar of Major League Baseball, but ultimately, the Padres are just worse than the White Sox even without Jose Quintana.
Then again, according to a report this past month from James Edwards of Baseball America, Beer may not end up being the first overall selection in the 2018 MLB Draft, which could mean that he may fall to the White Sox somewhere in the top five picks after all. Again, we’re about 14 months away from the 2018 MLB Draft at this point, so as Edwards points out in his recent report, plenty can change between now and then, but it’s okay to dream a little bit for now, am I right?
If you’re not familiar with Beer beyond the endless “#tankforbeer” references that surface in just about every single White Sox conversation on social media, Beer is a Sophomore at Clemson, and making a big name for himself as a dangerous power hitting corner outfielder/first-baseman over the course of his first season and change as a Tiger. The bat-first corner outfielder/first-baseman reputation that he is building is exactly why Sox fans are clamoring for him, and exactly why he may not go number one in 2018.
Historically, no collegiate corner outfielder or first baseman has ever gone number one in the draft. Good news for the White Sox, who will likely fall somewhere between two and five in Beer’s draft year of 2018. Another number that works for the #tankforbeer theory, that number stands true for the top five picks in pretty much every draft in previous history. Meaning that if the White Sox end up with the third, fourth or fifth pick, they could “reach” for Beer, who could very well still be available anywhere inside of the top five selections despite is prolific offensive numbers at the collegiate level.
I know, how weird does it sound saying the word “reach” when talking about a guy who hit .369 as a freshman at Clemson? Weird, but the proof is in the pudding as far as the history of players like Beer not being number one overall selections.
In 2015, Beer graduated high school a semester early, and enrolled at Clemson University for his freshman year in the winter of 2015-2016, and was playing for the Tigers by the spring. Not to be overlooked here, a high school student athlete that achieves something like that shows me two things outside of mashing homers that I find incredibly important when evaluating talent. He is obviously a very intelligent young man, and secondly, he is obviously a hard working and dedicated student and athlete. Huge kudos to him in the intangibles field before ever stepping into the batters box.
During his Freshman year of 2016, Beer as I said, posted an excellent .369 batting average while putting together a .535/.700/1.235 slash line, and racked up 18 home runs and 70 RBI. Again, in what should have been his senior year in high school, making it all the more impressive. Beer was named Baseball America’s Freshman of the Year in 2016, and opened the 2017 NCAA season by hitting two home runs and finishing the opening weekend with a .429 batting average.
Since that opening weekend Beer has cooled off considerably, hitting just .257 with eight home runs, 24 RBI, and eight doubles through his first 30 games of the 2017 season. His on-base percentage and slash line are still very high, sitting at .469/.574/1.043 through his first 30 games of his sophomore season with Clemson. Beer’s home run rate is nearly identical at 11.0 to that of his 2016 rate, in which he homered every 11.3 at-bats.
While we’re still too far away to tell whether or not Beer will be available when the White Sox pick, or if he will even fit the teams plans at that point, it’s certainly nice to dream of his potential impact, as well as the catchy slogans that will be donned upon signs all throughout the stands if he does make his way to Chicago at some point.