The White Sox continued to reach into the college ranks for their draft picks early on day two with the selection of Mississippi State left-hander Konnor Pilkington.
School: Mississippi State
Height/Weight: 6-3, 225
2018 Stats: 2-6, 4.61 ERA, 91.2 IP, 97 K, 30 BB
Konnor had a bit of a rough season and his stuff backed up a tad, but he still pounds the strike zone. He also has a long track record of success and looked like a possible first-round pick at this point last year.
In 2016, Pilkington threw 43 innings for the Bulldogs while compiling 42 K and 15 BB with a 2.08 ERA. The big left-hander served as the ace of Mississippi State’s staff as a sophomore in 2017 as well and threw 108 innings. The southpaw posted a 3.08 ERA with 111 strikeouts and 47 walks.
Konnor also pitched for the USA collegiate national team last year as well as in the Cape Cod League. Playing for the Brewster Whitecaps in 2016, Pilkington posted a 1.37 ERA with 33 strikeouts and only 12 walks against great competition.
Pilkington was the No. 60 overall prospect in the draft class according to MLBPipeline.com and Baseball America. He repeats his delivery well with an advanced feel for pitching. His youth and track record are definitely seen as positive attributes. Konnor was expected to be drafted in the top two rounds despite some loss of velocity this season but he fell into round three.
MLB Pipeline states that he could have “three solid or better pitches.” He’s run the fastball up to 96 mph in the past but has sat mostly in the 88-91 range this year while touching 93. His fastball is still effective due to a high three-quarters arm slot and delivery that gets downhill plane. His slider needs work and can be slurvy at times but his changeup is described as advanced.
Scouting Grades (according to MLB Pipeline)
#WhiteSox grab college LHP Konnor Pilkington at pick #81. Seems like good value according to the industry, ranked #52 overall by Fangraphs and #60 overall by MLB/BA. Has the size, delivery, and track record to be a solid starter
— Rob Young (@RobertHYoung) June 5, 2018
Konnor Pilkington gets drafted in third round. lot of potential there, especially if he adds to his velocity, continues to improve secondary stuff. https://t.co/HHe8746cYn
— Will Sammon (@WillSammon) June 5, 2018
A look at Pilkington’s delivery courtesy of Vincent Cervino
PItching against Louisiana Lafayette, courtesy of Brian Sakowski
The White Sox have one of the best farm systems in the sport, but left-handed pitching is something that they lack. Pilkington could get some time at a rookie ball affiliate and finish the year in either Kannapolis or Winston-Salem. Pilkington’s college season is still going with Mississippi State winning a regional so he won’t be a quick signing.
Scouting director Nick Hostetler has valued summer league success with many of his selections and Pilkington is no different. He’s likely a No. 4 starter, but the White Sox have a long track record of developing pitchers into more than that. It’s a worthwhile gamble at this stage due to his stuff, age and advanced feel to pitch.
Check out our profile on White Sox 1st rounder Nick Madrigal
Check out our profile on White Sox 2nd round Steele Walker
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