The 2019 MLB Draft officially closed it doors on Wednesday afternoon, following three days of a very long process. On the first two days, the White Sox showed that they had a clear plan in mind that involved drafting a variety of college seniors to help save them some money, as they hoped to have a strong finish to their class on the final day.
On Monday, the White Sox got their night started by selecting Andrew Vaughn with the third overall pick. This was a seemingly easy choice for the White Sox as first base remained a question mark for the next contending team prior to the draft. Now, the White Sox will have the right-handed power hitter in Vaughn, who will be handling that position for many years once he reaches the majors. With Vaughn being arguably the best overall hitter in the draft and playing a position of need, this selection was as close to a sure thing as one can be.
Welcome to the family, Andrew Vaughn! The moment the first baseman got the call: pic.twitter.com/jKfSp8mKd4
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 4, 2019
The White Sox wrapped things up on Monday night by selecting Matthew Thompson, a right handed pitcher from Cypress Ranch High School in Texas. After following a familiar trend in the first round, the White Sox changed things up and went the prep route for their second selection of the evening. This pick came in as somewhat of a surprise with the White Sox favoring collegiate players early in recent years. However, it was great to see them switch up their strategy. After watching Thompson, he has the frame and makeup to eventually turn into a solid middle of the rotation arm for the White Sox. He has some development and adjustments to make in his delivery between now and then, but I truly believe that the Sox found a gem with this pick and I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 4, 2019
On Tuesday, the White Sox got their day started by continuing with the prep selections. To start things off, they took Andrew Dalquist, a right-handed pitcher from Redondo Union High School in California. Dalquist was a high value selection at 81st overall and seems like he will require on over-slot value to sign. However, if the White Sox are able to land him, they got a guy who touches the low-90s and has an above average arsenal right now, and it will only get better with time.
Next up at 127th overall, the White Sox selected perhaps the most intriguing prospect in their entire class in James Beard out of Loyd Star High School in Mississippi. Beard received 80-grade speed from MLB Pipeline in their scouting grades and has developed quite a bit of power throughout his high school career. If he can continue to develop that power and carry it with him to the next level, Beard could have the potential to become a steal in the draft. He has all the tools to eventually become a very solid two-way player, but he too is likely going to require a slightly over-slot value to sign with the team.
Following the two prep picks on Tuesday, the White Sox began showing their plan for the rest of the draft. They ended the day by consecutively selecting six college players to finish things off. It’s no secret that in doing this, the White Sox were setting themselves up to grab some high upside prep picks on day three.
It’s common for teams to add a lot of college seniors in the draft as it provides them with more financial flexibility throughout the rest of the class. Scott Merkin of MLB.com talked with Nick Hostetler about the White Sox plan up to this point and he did not shy away from speaking on adding financial flexibility:
Hostetler: “The theme of the day was we went high upside high school players in 2, 3 and 4 and from that point on we needed to take some seniors and some advanced guys to kind of equal out the financial aspects of it.”
— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) June 4, 2019
With all things considered, the White Sox had done a great job with the draft up until this point. They added based on need, potential, and gave themselves a lot of flexibility moving into the final day of the draft on Wednesday. It seemed like the organization had set themselves up to grab a few more very intriguing names, however, things don’t always go according to plan.
On Wednesday, the White Sox had 30 more players to select before they could officially close the door on the 2019 draft class. With the expectation of getting a few more interesting names, things sort of died down for the club and it seemed like they didn’t make the big splash that they anticipated.
It’s hard to say that the White Sox failed on the final day of the draft, mainly because none of these prospects have signed or played a single inning of professional baseball yet. There’s a chance that some of these prospects could end up being a diamond in the rough, but even Nick Hostetler mentioned that he felt this entire process was different in comparison to the previous years:
Hostetler w/ Draft overview: “This is my 20th year in scouting and this is probably the oddest draft I’ve ever been a part of just from what we did and how we decided to manage our pool. It was definitely a little bit different from anything I’ve ever been a part of in the past.”
— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) June 5, 2019
So, what could’ve made things different between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning that altered the White Sox’ plans for the final day? The first thing that comes to mind is that maybe some of the high school players they selected in the early rounds are asking for a larger over-slot value than the organization initially anticipated. Obviously the team was in talks with these players before, during, and after the draft process, however, things can change overnight and once a player knows where they were selected and where they could’ve been selected, they might ask for more money in order to sign with the club. Personally, I think the White Sox had a set value at where they wanted to sign these guys, and the players responded by asking for more money.
Unfortunately, something like that can alter the rest of the draft plans for an organization and I think that’s the issue the White Sox ran into. After looking like they were going to have a big day on Wednesday, things quickly changed and the organization continued a trend we’ve seen many times before and one that we saw already in this draft. They loaded up on college players, taking 23 of them in their final 30 selections. Again, seeing something like this leads me to believe that the White Sox will need to allocate more money than they anticipated to their earlier picks in this class.
The other seven selections the White Sox made on Wednesday were prep players, consisting of a mix between position players and pitchers. Some of the highlight picks from day three include:
- 320th Overall: Victor Torres, C, International Baseball Academy (Puerto Rico)
- 350th Overall: Misael Acosta Gonzalez, OF, Leadership Christian Academy (Puerto Rico)
- 470th Overall: DJ Gladney, IF, Illiana Christian High School (Illinois). Gladney was a member of the White Sox’ ACE Program.
- 650th Overall: Logan Glass, OF, Mustang High School (Oklahoma)
Overall, with all things considered, I still think the White Sox did a good job with this draft class. It might seem a little top heavy, but that can be expected with such a big draft and large pool of players. Not to mention, there’s so much strategy that goes into the MLB Draft and that can either help or hurt teams when it’s all said and done. The White Sox added some very interesting names in the early rounds and if they are able to sign most of their key selections, then I think they have quite a few major league players in this class. And with how large the MLB Draft is, you can consider that a win.
Overall Draft Grade: B-
Follow Sean on Twitter (@TLS_Sean) for more White Sox news and opinion.