We're a little more than one week away from the start of the 2014 MLB Draft, in which the White Sox will be selecting No. 3 overall.
The consensus since East Carolina right-hander Jeff Hoffman went down with Tommy John Surgery has been that the big three names at the top of the draft are North Carolina State lefty Carlos Rodon and a pair of prep arms in Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek.
I went through six different mock drafts and, sure enough, all six had the White Sox ending up with one of those three pitchers.
- Keith Law (ESPN.com) - Tyler Kolek*
- Kiley McDaniel (Scout.com) - Brady Aiken
- Chris Crawford (MLBDraftInsider.com) - Carlos Rodon
- John Manuel (BaseballAmerica.com) - Brady Aiken
- Matt Garrioch (SBNation's MinorLeagueBall.com) - Brady Aiken
- Jonathan Mayo (MLB.com) - Brady Aiken
That puts the White Sox in a somewhat enviable situation. If those three are truly the consensus in the White Sox's organization then they'll have a relatively easy decision to make: draft whomever the Astros and Marlins don't.
That could very well still be the case, but there are a few issues to consider regardless of it Rodon, Aiken or Kolek is available at No. 3.
In the case of Rodon, he's represented by Scott Boras, an agent whom Jerry Reinsdorf and the White Sox have a history of avoiding. With Aiken and Kolek, the White Sox would have to break the trend of not taking prep pitchers in the first round of the draft.
The last time the White Sox used a first round pick on a high school pitcher was in 2004 when they took Gio Gonzalez, but that was in a supplemental round (38th overall). The last time they took one within the first 30 picks was in 2001 when Kris Honel went 16th overall.
If the White Sox do something as simple as taking what's left to them by the Astros and Marlins, they'll be doing something different, regardless of who is available. But the fact that the team has a history of shying away from both prep arms and Boras clients makes one wonder if they might look in another direction.
So if not Rodon, Aiken or Kolek, then who?
The consensus top bat in the draft is Alex Jackson, a high school catcher who some think profiles better as a corner outfielder. Of the above six mocks, two of them (Law and Manuel) actually had Jackson going to the Marlins at No. 2 overall.
Of course, if the Marlins do take Jackson, the White Sox will be left with two pitchers to pick from (assuming the Astros take one from the trio at No. 1). It's also possible the White Sox take Jackson if the Astros and Marlins go with pitchers, but none of the web's draftniks have heard the Sox are in on anyone other than pitchers. (Jackson is also a Boras client, too). So, is there anyone else to keep an eye on? Well, there's this:
White Sox in heavy on Nola today - I saw Kenny Willliams Jr and I was told Reinsdorf is here too— keithlaw (@keithlaw) May 22, 2014
Aaron Nola is a junior right-hander out of LSU who has shot up draft boards of late after putting together several dominating performances from the Tigers down the stretch. MLB.com has him ranked No. 5 in its Top 100 and he would certainly fit the bill for the White Sox if they wanted to stay away from A) Boras clients and B) high school arms.
So what does all of this mean? Well, in short it means nobody knows for sure who's getting drafted where next Thursday. But as we inch closer and closer to draft day, it appears the Sox will have their pick from a handful of decent talent to add to their farm system.
*Update as of 5/27 - Keith Law came out with a new mock draft where he still has the White Sox taking Kolek at No. 2, but has Jackson dropping to the Mariners at No. 7
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