We're a little more than 48 hours from finding out the identity of a player who will almost immediately become the White Sox's most hyped prospect in years.
The reason for this is twofold. For one, the White Sox's farm system is so barren of top-flight talent that adding a guy with Top 5 talent is sure to move the needle a considerable amount. Secondly, the White Sox haven't had a pick this high in more than 20 years, so while top prospects come from outside the Top 5 all the time, it's been a while since the White Sox added a prospect who will have such high expectations.
As we inch closer to draft day, there's still a lot of uncertainty as to A) who will be available for the White Sox at No. 3, and B) who they're actually interested in drafting.
The latest from MLB.com's Jim Callis:
3. White Sox: Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS (Texas)
Rodon may be No. 1 on Chicago's board and likely would be the pick here, but signability could be an issue. The White Sox almost certainly will take an arm and it's hard to ignore the upside of Kolek, the hard throwing high schooler. If the South Siders prefer collegians to prepsters, polished Louisiana State right-hander Aaron Nola could be their man.
According to Callis, it's pretty simple. If NC State left-hander Carlos Rodon is available, he's the White Sox's guy. If not, they'll go with Kolek. Brady Aiken seems out of the question at this point, as the consensus appears to be that he's Houston's guy at No. 1 overall.
Callis has Aiken to Houston and Rodon to Miami, leaving the White Sox with Kolek, who is supposedly their No. 2 option behind Rodon. He also mentions Nola as a possibility, as ESPN's Keith Law did a week ago. If the White Sox want to stay away from prep arms and Rodon is off the board, he's still a possibility.
Things are far from simple, of course, and Baseball America's John Manuel has things playing out differently:
3. WHITE SOX: The talk to this point has been that the White Sox would not pass on Rodon if he were available here. That talk persists, but so do the rumors linking Chicago to outsized Texas high school flamethrower Tyler Kolek. The Cubs are watching closely because while Kolek is not a Cubs target, Rodon is. The White Sox have a bigger bonus pool than the Cubs, but Rodon likely would eat up more of it.
Projected Pick: RHP Tyler Kolek
Manuel comes to the same conclusion as Callis, but the journey is far different. Manuel still as Aiken going No. 1 to Houston, but he has Miami taking prep catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson, who most consider the top bat in this year's draft.
So while Callis sees the White Sox drafting Rodon if he's available, Manuel has both him and Kolek available at No. 3 and the White Sox opting for the latter, with Rodon going to the Cubs at No. 4.
There are mock drafts, of course, which is nothing more than educated guessing. But the way I see it the White Sox could go in one of three directions.
- The White Sox have no qualms with drafting either a prep arm or a Scott Boras client (which Rodon is one), and simply pick between Kolek and Rodon if they are both available.
- The White Sox have no qualms with drafting either a prep arm or a Scott Boras client, and take whichever of the two are available, presuming one goes along with Aiken in the first two picks.
- The White Sox avoid either Kolek because he's a prep arm or Rodon because he's a Rodon client, and go with the other, or avoid them both and opt for Nola.
The pre-draft buildup is an exhausting exercise. Nobody knows for sure what's going to happen, but as of now it seems like either Kolek or Rodon will be the next White Sox farm hand, with an outside shot for Nola.
Follow The Catbird Seat on Twitter @TheCatbird_Seat