Monday night brings about the first round and first compensation round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft. That's a lot of firsts!
The White Sox will be picking at slots #13 and #48 Monday night. The 13th overall pick naturally conjures memories of Chris Sale, but the matching number is likely the only thing about the 13th pick that will remind people of the lefty starter, if scouting director Doug Laumann is to be believed (he is):
[In regard to the draft pool] “It’s probably as thin as I've seen in a decade,” Sox scouting director Doug Laumann said. “We see that it's pretty thin right now in the college ranks."
Since the White Sox lean on their ability to develop pitching when in doubt, and prefer college players, conventional wisdom would have them combining the two. However the lack of talent might force them to be less picky, which Laumann also acknowledged at length in Toni Ginnetti's Sun-Times piece.
Though they traditionally have selected from the college ranks, Laumann conceded that the ‘‘thin’’ talent pool might mean the Sox draft a high school player.
The language surrounding whether or not the team's hot start will play into their selection, is a bit more confusing, even.
"As we sit here today, we’re in first place. Had we been 15-30 and not where we are right now, the mode might have been ‘Let’s start building a little bit.’’’
In theory, the draft is always a tool of 'rebuilding', but if Laumann is indicating they would be looking for immediate help--which is rare to find, especially this year--it would be curious seeing as he spent time explaining his objections to those type of players, and how Chris Sale was appealing because he was an exception.
"Those kinds of guys didn’t really have a particularly high ceiling. They were guys you thought might get [to the majors] quickly, but they kind of were what they were. With Chris, we recognized that he could get there quickly, but also there was something beyond that with him.’’
If Chris Sale proved anything, it's that the #13 slot is about reacting to what happens in the top 10, and who falls out of it, as much as it is the initial plan. Laumann acknowledged that 20 names are being thought of for the pick at the moment, which should give some idea as to the kind of uncertainty there is present.
Kevin Goldstein's mock draft for Baseball Prospectus has the Sox selecting RHP Marcus Stroman out of Duke, with the hopes of him matching Sale's immediate trek to the major league bullpen, or some sort of similar polished college arm. Apparently not rebuilding means attempting to add to the major league club as soon as possible.