Progress of 2011 Draft Picks

The signing deadline is behind us and yet again the White Sox didn’t make any noise on the final day. With their first seven picks already locked up, the Sox didn’t have any late drama and weren’t going to overpay any of their other selections. You can complain about this philosophy all you want, but it’s probably not going to change until the rules change (which seems like a possibility).

Let’s focus on the players the Sox have already signed and how they’re doing in the minors.

Top picks

Keenyn Walker (supp. round): .252/.343/.327 in 169 PA with Great Falls and Kannapolis

Walker got off to a strong start with the Voyagers, hitting .333 with eight extra base hits in 60 at-bats. The average was good, he drew some walks (7) and was hitting for respectable power. It was a solid start to his professional career. Unfortunately, a problem familiar to Sox fans, a lack of contact, has been an issue for Walker. He struck out in 23.6% of his plate appearances in the Pioneer League and that number has spiked to 31.6% with the Intimidators in 97 PA. The walks are still there, but the power is gone and the average is below .200. The Sox may have been a bit too aggressive with Walker considering he had contact issues in junior college. It’s obviously way too early for panic, but legitimate concern is probably fair at this point.

Erik Johnson (second round): 2 IP, 4.50 ERA, 2 K, 1 BB, 4 H (Great Falls)

After pitching 105 innings this spring for Cal, a career high, in their run to the Super Regionals the Sox are taking it easy with Johnson. He has made two relief appearances for the Voyagers and he may not pitch much more than that.

Jeff Soptic (third round): 2.2 IP, 2 R (0 ER), 2 K, 2 BB, 2 H (Bristol)

Like Johnson, Soptic hasn’t pitched much. The reason isn’t as clear, but it’s probably similar. Soptic made three appearances soon after signing, but hasn’t pitched since Aug. 5.

Kyle McMillen (fourth round): 1 IP, 45 ERA, 2 K, 3 BB, 3 H (Great Falls)

McMillen made two appearances in late June, struggled in both and then got placed on the disabled list. D’oh.

Scott Snodgress (fifth round): 39.1 IP, 3.43 ERA, 49 K, 15 BB, 42 H (Great Falls)

A reliever in college, Snodgress has gradually been stretched out and last night started the Voyagers’ combined no-hitter. Snodgress retired all 18 batters he faced and could be a breakout candidate next year with the way he has come on lately.

Out of rookie ball

Marcus Semien (sixth round): .265/.317/.392 in 188 PA (Kannapolis)

Johnson’s college teammate went straight to the Intimidators and had a solid July considering the tough assignment, but has struggled in August. Oddly enough the right-hander has struggled against lefties (.353 OPS), but done well against righties (.853 OPS).

Chris Bassitt (16th round): 27 IP, 1.33 ERA, 33 K, 6 BB, 25 H (Bristol/Kannapolis/Winst0n-Salem)

The former Akron reliever had a strong spring and is continuing that in pro ball. His sinker/slider combo has worked well in full season ball. He has 20 K to 4 BB for the Intimidators.

Collin Kuhn (17th round): .213/.370/.420 in 193 PA (Bristol/Kannapolis)

Kuhn had 15 extra base hits in 31 games with Bristol before joining the Intimidators, but he has really struggled in Kannapolis. He is a good athlete that has some power and good plate discipline.

Others of note

Kevan Smith (seventh round) put up video game numbers in Bristol (1.222 OPS), but hasn’t hit in Montana. The former Pitt catcher is well below the Mendoza Line with the Voyagers.

11th rounder Blair Walters has been a dominant starter in the Pioneer League after relieving in college.

Joe De Pinto (21st round), Mark Haddow (24th), Grant Buckner (26th) and Michael Johnson (31st) each have an OPS over .800.

Relievers Joe Dvorsky (35th), Cody Winiarski (36th) and Keegan Linza (38th) have also been productive and have good peripherals to boot.

Filed under: Draft Coverage

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