With the 2014 season in the books, I thought now would be a good opportunity to take a look at the Chicago White Sox 2014 draft class, to see how each pick performed in their professional debut. Obviously it goes without saying that the sample sizes here are still very small, so we shouldn’t read too much into the numbers at this point, but it’s still a fun and worthwhile exercise. For more information and scouting reports on all the 2014 draft picks you can refer back to the FutureSox draft tracker.
1 (3): Carlos Rodon, LHP, AZL Sox (Rk), Winston-Salem (A+), Charlotte (AAA)
Rk- 3 IP, 6.00 ERA, -0.13 FIP, 5 SO/0 BB, 1.00 GO/AO
A+- 9.2 IP, 1.82 ERA, 1.97 FIP, 15 SO/5 BB, 1.50 GO/AO
AAA- 12 IP, 3 ERA, 2.61 FIP, 18 SO/8 BB, 1.13 GO/AO
Rodon amassed excellent strikeout numbers (13.87 K/9) as he rose through the system, though control (4.74 BB/9) and command clearly needs further refinement. Most scouting reports were very positive, indicating that his stuff returned to it’s near elite level as a pro. At his best he displayed a plus fastball that touched 97, his trademark plus-plus slider and a better than expected plus change. Reports from inside the White Sox indicated that Rodon was ahead of where the Sox had expected him to be when he joined the team, which is very encouraging. Ace upside if he can sharpen the command and continue to refine the change.
2 (44): Spencer Adams, RHP, AZL Sox (Rk)
Rk- 41.2 IP, 3.67 ERA, 1.90 FIP, 59 SO/4 BB, 1.58 GO/AO
One of my favourite prospects in the entire 2014 draft class, I was delighted with the Adams pick. He was seen as a potential mid 1st round talent thanks to plus stuff and athleticism, and the Sox were quick to snap him up at 44. So far the results have been sensational. Adams’ 14.75 K/BB rate is ridiculous, and if he can continue to combine huge strikeout rates with low walk rates then the sky is the limit for him. If we want to dig around for a criticism, we could say that Adams gave up quite a lot of hits (10.58 H/9), but defence in the AZL is notoriously poor and his BABIP (.402) was incredibly high (average AZL BABIP was .322). A top 5 prospect in this system at present, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the #1 guy this time next year.
3 (77): Jace Fry, LHP, Great Falls (Rk)
Rk- 9.2 IP, 2.79 ERA, 2.96 FIP, 10 SO/3 BB, 2.60 GO/AO
A polished college arm, Fry didn’t pitch much in his pro debut, amassing just 9.2 innings from 7 appearances out of the bullpen. This gives a very small sample size, but the results were positive, as Fry struck out more than a batter per inning (9.31 K/9), limited the free passes (2.79 BB/9) and got a lot of ground balls. Fry’s numbers with Great Falls were better than what he managed in college, so it’s probably safe to say that he was too advanced for the level. My expectations are not that high as the stuff grades out as no more than average, but he could become a #4/5 type starter and there’s certainly value in that. His health will also need to be monitored going forward as he’s already undergone Tommy John surgery.
4 (108): Brett Austin, C, Kannapolis (A)
A- 153 AB, .235/.314/.314, 18 BB/47 SO, 0 HR, 1 SB
Austin was a standout player in high school, but his college career was rather underwhelming with a particular lack of power. The same continued in his pro debut as Austin failed to homer in 153 AB’s with Kannapolis. He did walk at a good rate (10.1 BB%) but he displayed less contact than expected with a 26.4 K%. His defence behind the plate also reportedly needs work. Unless he takes a big step forward it’s difficult to see Austin developing into a starting calibre player.
5 (138): Zach Thompson, RHP, Great Falls (Rk)
Rk- 44 IP, 3.27 ERA, 5.15 FIP, 26 SO/14 BB, 1.55 GO/AO
Thompson brings some intrigue as a raw pitcher with a tall frame (listed at 6’6”-6’7”), a fastball that touches the mid-90’s and a four pitch repertoire. He didn’t strike out a lot of batters in college and that continued with Great Falls as his K/9 sat at just 5.32, but he kept the walks at a manageable level (2.86 BB/9). Thompson will need to miss more bats if he’s to have any chance of reaching the Majors and he may benefit from a move to the bullpen.
6 (168): Louie Lechich, OF, Great Falls (Rk)
Rk- 228 AB, .254/.290/.395, 10 BB/56 SO, 5 HR, 4 SB
After signing for just $40,000, expectations for Lechich are low as this pick was clearly designed to save money for Rodon. His performance was not too bad, as he did display some power (.141 ISO). His control of the strike zone was poor though, with his 4.1 BB% being particularly low and his 23.2 K% was worse than league average too. Organisational filler at this point.
7 (198): Jake Peter, INF, Great Falls (Rk), Winston-Salem (A+)
Rk- 152 AB, .388/.444/.579, 13 BB/13 SO, 2 HR, 1 SB
A+- 89 AB, .236/.277/.303, 4 BB/13 SO, 0 HR, 1 SB
Peter demonstrated a strong ability to make consistent contact in college and that continued with Great Falls (7.6 K%) and to a lesser extent with Winston-Salem (13.8 K%). He doesn’t walk a lot and I think the power will be average at best so he will need to continue to make a lot of contact if he’s to provide much offensive value. Peter should be a good defensive middle infielder with a strong arm and his makeup gets positive reviews. I think his upside is that of a utility infielder, but he could surprise and has a chance to move quickly.
8 (228): John Ziznewski, SS, Great Falls (Rk)
Rk- 152 AB, .243/.341/.289, 23 BB/39 SO, 0 HR, 4 SB
Ziznewski was another signability pick, and perhaps as expected, his performance was not very good. He did at least show good patience with a 12.8 BB% but there was absolutely no power (.046 ISO).
9 (258): Brian Clark, LHP, Great Falls (Rk)
Rk- 48.1 IP, 3.35 ERA, 2.37 FIP, 52 SO/14 BB, 1.57 GO/AO
After Rodon and Adams, Brian Clark is one of the prospects that I am most excited about from this draft class and perhaps that points to a lack of depth after the first two picks. Clark brings a nice fastball/slider combo with a developing change. The progress of his changeup will determine whether he ends up in the rotation or bullpen. He had a very successful pro debut with a better than average K% (25.2) and BB% (6.8), making for an impressive 3.71 K/BB rate. He should be ready to tackle Kannapolis in 2015 and I think he has a chance to make it as a back of rotation starter, which would be an excellent find in the 9th round.
10 (288): Jake Jarvis, 2B, AZL Sox (Rk)
Rk- 95 AB, .221/.333/.263, 10 BB/30 SO, 0 HR, 1 SB
There is not much information about Javis’ hitting ability and he was more highly touted as a pitcher by the main publications. You cannot learn much from 95 AB’s in the AZL, but Jarvis did at least show a decent walk rate. We’ll know a lot more about his ability and potential this time next year.
11 (318): Zachary Fish, OF, Great Falls (Rk)
Rk- 204 AB, .250/.335/.377, 24 BB/62 SO, 5HR, 0 SB
Very underwhelming performance from Fish. He did show a decent walk rate (10.3 BB%) but the contact rate (26.5 K%) and power (.127 ISO) are both poor, especially for a college player in rookie ball. The scouting reports indicate that he has raw power potential, so we may see more from him in the future.
12 (348): Connor Walsh, RHP, Great Falls (Rk), Kannapolis (A)
Rk- 20.1 IP, 2.66 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 23 SO/14 BB, 1.18 GO/AO
A- 6.2 IP, 9.45 ERA, 2.30 FIP, 6 SO/2 BB, 2.25 GO/AO
Walsh offers good upside for a 12th round college arm. He has an athletic frame and interesting projectability. He showed good strikeout ability in his pro debut with a 9.67 K/9 across two levels, but his control (5.33 BB/9) needs a lot of work. The Sox had Walsh working out of the bullpen, which may be his long-term role, but his three-pitch mix could give him the potential to start.
13 (378): Mike Gomez, LHP, AZL Sox (Rk)
Rk- 21.1 IP, 1.27 ERA, 2.36 FIP, 33 SO/16 BB, 1.50 GO/AO
As a fairly polished college relief pitcher, it was a surprise to see Gomez assigned to the AZL team. He predictably had too much stuff for the inexperienced AZL hitters and was able to put up big strikeout numbers (13.92 K/9), though his control (6.75 BB/9) was not so impressive. Gomez was especially dominant against LHH, with a 15 K/9 and 1.37 FIP. If he can harness the control, I think he could move quickly as a potential lefty specialist.
14 (408): Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP
Did not sign
15 (438): Ben Brewster, LHP, AZL Sox (Rk), Kannapolis (A), Winston-Salem (A+)
Rk- 4 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2.45 FIP, 6 SO/2 BB, 1.50 GO/AO
A- 15.2 IP, 1.72 ERA, 2.37 FIP, 17 SO/5 BB, 5.00 GO/AO
A+- 5 IP, 1.80 ERA, 4.80 FIP, 5 SO/5 BB, 10.00 GO/AO
Brewster is an interesting prospect due to his highly unorthodox delivery, which gives him a lot of deception and helps his fringe average stuff to play up. He got good results pitching across three levels in his pro debut. What really stands out to me is his extreme ground ball tendency (4.75 GO/AO). In addition to the ground balls, he racked up the strikeouts (10.22 K/9) and a induced a lot of swinging strikes, which is a good recipe for success. It will be interesting to watch his progression through the system. Often pitchers with funky mechanics can breeze through the lower minors before being figured out in the upper levels, but you never know. He could continue to surprise.
16 (468): Matt Cooper, RHP, Great Falls (Rk)
Rk- 34 IP, 3.18 ERA, 2.55 FIP, 47 SO/10 BB, 0.86 GO/AO
Cooper was a star at Hawaii and he continued his impressive statistical profile with Great Falls. Scouting reports indicate that his stuff is fringe average with a fastball that sits high 80’s, but a 12.44 K/9, 2.65 BB/9 and 2.55 FIP are all very encouraging. That said, we should expect polished college pitchers to excel in rookie ball, so it’s important not to get too carried away by the numbers here. In addition, Cooper is a fly ball pitcher, which could be seen as one negative. I will be interested to see how he performs in the higher levels.
17 (498): David Trexler, RHP, AZL Sox (Rk), Great Falls (Rk)
AZL- 7 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.49 FIP, 6 SO/0 BB, 2.40 GO/AO
GF- 23.2 IP, 3.42 ERA, 4.93 FIP, 27 SO/9 BB, 4.25 GO/AO
Trexler is another college pitcher who made light work of rookie ball. He combined strikeouts (9.68 K/9) with good control (2.64 BB/9) and lots of ground balls 3.54 GO/AO. Scouting reports are also strong with BA indicating his fastball is “average-to-plus” and both his change and curve are “above-average”. Kiley McDaniel at Fangraphs also had similarly positive words for Trexler’s stuff, and suggested that he will open 2015 with Winston-Salem. Very interesting statistical profile and scouting reports. Excited to see how he fares in the higher levels. He has the makings of an excellent late round sleeper.
18 (528): Tanner Banks, LHP, AZL Sox (Rk), Kannapolis (A)
Rk- 22 IP, 1.64 ERA, 1.20 FIP, 31 SO/6 BB, 1.46 GO/AO
A- 2.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.49 FIP, 2 SO/0 BB, 4.00 GO/AO
Banks was lights out against lefties, allowing just 4 base runners in 8 IP across both levels, and that may be his long-term role. Overall numbers are very strong, though he did spend the majority of his time in the AZL, where you would expect him to dominate.
19 (558): Aaron Bummer, LHP, Great Falls (Rk)
Rk- 22 IP, 2.45 ERA, 2.34 FIP, 28 SO/6 BB, 0.94 GO/AO
Yet another college arm with excellent statistical results. Bummer showed he has the ability to miss bats at this level (11.45 K/9) while also displaying good control (2.45 BB/9). He offers good velocity from the left side.
20 (588): Brannon Easterling, RHP, AZL Sox (Rk)
Rk- 33.1 IP, 2.70 ERA, 2.39 FIP, 34 SO/4 BB, 1.38 GO/AO
Easterling displayed pinpoint control in the AZL, issuing just 4 walks in his 33.1 innings of work. In addition to this he also struck out more than a batter per inning, giving an exceptional 8.50 K/BB.
21 (618): Ryan Leonards, 3B, Great Falls (Rk), Kannapolis (A)
Rk- 36 AB, .333/.368/.472, 2 BB/3 SO, 0 HR, 0 SB
A- 163 AB, .239/.321/.325, 15 BB/34 SO, 2 HR, 9 SB
Leonards made solid contact and should have the ability to hit for a reasonable batting average, though his below average power (.096 ISO) and average at best patience will limit his offensive value. Scouting reports indicate he has decent speed and athleticism and can provide good defensive value in the infield. Utility infielder profile.
22 (648): Kevin Swick, 3B, AZL Sox (Rk)
Rk- 87 AB, .184/.263/.207, 9 BB/20 SO, 0 HR, 1 SB
Swick is noted for his intangibles and makeup, but his hitting needs a lot of work. He didn’t display any power in college and that continued into pro ball with a .023 ISO.
23 (678): Michael Hollenbeck, C, AZL Sox (Rk)
Rk- 66 AB, .227/.363/.288, 14 BB/12 SO, 0 HR, 0 SB
Hollenbeck hit a lot of ground balls (3.78 GO/AO, 65.5 GB%), which could help him to hit for solid averages but will certainly limit his power output. He walked more than he struck out and has good OBP skills.
24 (708): Michael Suiter, CF, AZL Sox (Rk)
Rk- 156 AB, .262/.363/.397, 15 BB/28 SO, 4 HR, 14 SB
Small sample size but Suiter showed more power and speed as a pro than he did during his final season with Kansas. Decent approach at the plate, but we should have expected him to dominate this level.
25 (738): Mason Robbins, RF, Great Falls (Rk)
Rk- 230 AB, .304/.335/.470, 11 BB/43 SO, 7 HR, 1 SB
Robbins compiled a solid stat line with an .805 OPS and encouraging power (.166 ISO). There’s not much patience in his approach (4.5 BB%) but he does have some tools and could potentially make it as a fourth outfielder type depending on his defensive ability.
26 (768): Ethan Gross, SS, Great Falls (Rk)
Rk- 174 AB, .230/.313/.276, 19 BB/31 SO, 0 HR, 0 SB
Coming off a poor senior season at Memphis, it’s not a great surprise to see that Gross also struggled as a pro. Both his BB% (9.6 %) and his K% (15.7 %) were better than the Pioneer League average, so that’s one positive, and he was hurt by a low .276 BABIP, but the power is non-existent.
27 (798): Ryan Jones, 1B, Great Falls (Rk)
Rk- 160 AB, .244/.324/.375, 14 BB/30 SO, 3 HR, 0 SB
Jones’ performance was a bit of a disappointment after he produced excellent numbers at Arizona Christian (.282/.395/.544, 10 HR) this season as a fifth year senior. He’s got good bloodlines too as his father was a professional baseball player, reaching Triple-A with the Giants. He’s a big guy at 6’4, 215, but he’ll need to start lifting the ball more if he’s going to tap into his power potential.
28 (828): Blair Moore, 3B, AZL Sox (Rk)
Rk- 104 AB, .260/.339/.346, 11BB/28 SO, 0 HR, 0 SB
Moore is another college bat who put up mediocre numbers in rookie ball. He didn’t display any power (.086 ISO) or speed, and despite only hitting for a .260 average his BABIP was quite high at .351.
29 (858): Evin Einhardt, RHP, AZL Sox (Rk)
Rk- 23.1 IP, 7.33 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 19 SO/15 BB, 1.53 GO/AO
Einhardt’s 4.06 FIP reads better than his ugly 7.33 ERA. He did a good job of keeping the ball on the ground and the 7.33 K/9 is OK, but his control (5.79 BB/9) needs work.
30 (888): Marc Flores, 1B, AZL Sox (Rk)
Rk- 117 AB, .222/.319/.342, 16 BB/24 SO, 1 HR, 1 SB
For a guy that measures in at 6’5, 225, you would expect to see more power from Flores than he currently displays. As a senior at Hawaii he hit 5 homers and had a .153 ISO, as a pro facing inexperienced pitching in the AZL, he only managed 1 homer and a .120 ISO.
31 (918): Josh Goossen-Brown, RHP, AZL Sox (Rk)
Rk- 21.1 IP, 3.80 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 27 SO/5 BB, 2.36 GO/AO
Goossen-Brown dominated the AZL with an 11.22 K/9, 2.08 BB/9 and 2.36 GO/AO. He’s a good athlete and was a two-way player in college. Will be interesting to see how he fares at a higher level.
32 (948): Adam Choplick, LHP
Did not sign
33 (978): Louis Silverio, OF, AZL Sox (Rk)
Rk- 83 AB, .301/.370/.482, 8 BB/20 SO, 2 HR, 2 SB
Encouraging and surprising performance from the inexperienced Silverio. The strikeout rate (22.8 K%) will need to be watched going forward, but he showed very good pop (.181 ISO) and reasonable patience (8.7 BB%). Silverio barely played in college, which gives some hope that he fell to the 33rd round because scouts were unable to see him play, rather than for a lack of talent. Would love to see a scouting report on him.
34 (1008): Michael Danner, LF, AZL Sox (Rk), Kannapolis (A)
Rk- 48 AB, .229/.309/.333, 5 BB/5 SO, 0 HR, 0SB
A- 48 AB, .229/.288/.292, 4 BB/13 SO, 0 HR, 0 SB
Small sample size at two levels. Danner didn’t show much power at any point. Was excellent this year at Tampa, hitting .326/.421/.567 with 8 HR, 30 BB and 21 strikeouts in 178 at-bats.
35 (1038): Jared Koenig, LHP
Did not sign
36 (1068): Dayne Wagoner, C
Did not sign
37 (1098): Jed Sprague, 1B
Did not sign
38 (1128): Anthony Justiniano, SS
Did not sign
39 (1158): James Davison, CF
Did not sign
40 (1188): Julien Service, RF
Did not sign
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