The White Sox drafted RHP Jordan Romano with the 3rd overall pick in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 Draft, and subsequently traded him to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations (which one hopes is more than the $100,000 the pick cost). They also picked up 1B Jordan George from the Pirates and lost RHP Cristofer Melendez to the Padres in the AAA phase.
Picked and Traded:
Romano was a 10th round pick in 2014 by the Toronto Blue Jays and signed for $25,000. The 6'4" Canadian missed all of 2015 to Tommy John surgery but bounced back nicely in 2016, rising to being the 24th ranked prospect in the Blue Jays' system at that time according to Baseball America. That missed time is part of why he's eligible despite having booked just 82 professional starts, and in reverse of the typical move, he went from the bullpen before surgery to starting after. He spent most of 2018 with AA New Hampshire, putting up these numbers in 25 starts there: 4.13 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, 8.2 K/9 at age 24/25. He also made one start at AAA. According to BA and other reports he has a fastball in the low 90's that can touch mid-90's with tail, and also throws a slider as an out pitch.
Picked and Kept:
First baseman Jordan George was a 35th round pick by the Pirates in 2015 out of Arkansas State. In his first three years as a pro he put up consistently strong overall offensive numbers, if a little lacking for power given his position. He hit over .300 in all three campaigns and added high walk rates all three years going up through AA. But the 6'2" first sacker hit a bit of a wall this past season with AA Altoona, hitting .263/.355/.342 with just 5 home runs 110 games. His strong walk and contact rates continued though even in that rough year as a 25-year-old in the Eastern League (41:47 BB:K). There isn't much scouting info out there about the switch-hitter, but Abigail Miskowiec of Pirates Prospects did a deep write-up on him in 2016 including some quotes. It's not clear how he might fit into the Sox upper minors though, as team already looks to have Gavin Sheets, Matt Rose and Casey Gillaspie looking for two jobs at AAA and AA.
The White Sox also lost one player - right-hander Cristofer Melendez who has never played in a stateside league. Here is what I wrote about him a few months ago in the Fall Instructs Preview:
Melendez was signed last offseason after he was released by the Astros following three years of deteriorating numbers as a teenager with their DSL squads. Numbers-wise it sure looks like something clicked in 2018 (his age 20 season - he turned 21 on Sunday): H/9 dropped from 9.2 to 5.0, BB/9 from 6.7 to 3.6, and K/9 up from 7.9 to 11.9. DSL numbers shouldn't be taken too deeply, but that's a pretty dramatic improvement.
One small side note: the Mariners picked up RHP Brandon Brennan from the Rockies in the Major League phase of the draft. Brennan was the White Sox 4th rounder in 2012 and pitched 7 years in the system before the Rockies acquired him just a few weeks ago. It is surprising a team would shell out $100,000 for Brennan and leave the likes of Zach Thompson and Spencer Adams on the board, but apparently a Seattle scout saw something in him that the Sox and Rockies did not.
***Featured image should be credited to Pirates Prospects
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