As the 2023 First Year MLB Player Draft approaches, the White Sox are given a chance to bolster their farm system with fresh talent from the collegiate and high school levels. The draft, which commences on July 9, features several star prospects such as LSU outfielder Dylan Crews and RHP Paul Skenes. While those two players will be long gone by pick 15, there is plenty of talent in this draft class the White Sox should be in a position to draft a potential impact prospect with their first-round draft pick.
Reports have been a bit all over the place in terms of who/what the White Sox are targeting. Some speculate that they will continue their recent trend of drafting high-upside prep players early, while others suggest they could target a below-slot signing and take a swing at an over-slot high-upside pick in round two. Regardless of which scenario they prefer, with a $4,488,600 bonus slot, there should be talented players who fit both strategies and could provide the Sox with a highly regarded prospect to add to a farm system that is widely regarded as being ranked in the bottom third of the MLB.
Blake Mitchell, Stinson High School (Texas)
Scouting Grades (Via MLB Pipeline): Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 35 | Arm: 70 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
Arguably the riskiest demographic to target in the MLB draft is the high school catching prospect. For that reason, it is very likely Blake Mitchell could be available to the White Sox at 15 despite possessing one of the higher ceilings in the draft. If the Sox were to pull the trigger on Mitchell, they would be landing a catcher who could develop into an impact player both at and behind the plate. As a hitter, he generates plus power from the left side of the plate and has shown patience and a willingness to work the count. His main tool is his cannon of an arm, however, which has received 70 grades from scouts. He has also shown to be a capable receiver and blocker with his ability to move behind the plate.
Ralphy Vasquez, Huntington Beach High School (California)
Scouting Grades (Via MLB Pipeline): Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Field: 45 | Overall: 50
Another prep catcher, Ralphy Vasquez’s ability at the plate has him firmly in first-round conversations. His left-handed bat carries plenty of power and bat-to-ball skills, causing scouts to project him to be a middle-of-the-order hitter in MLB in the future. The question with Vasquez is whether or not he will be able to stick behind the plate, or if he will eventually have to move to first base. He has the arm to stick behind the plate, but his actions need further development. If he does have to switch positions, his bat is still strong enough to profile as a first baseman.
Matt Shaw, SS, University of Maryland
Scouting Grades (Via MLB Pipeline): Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 60 | Arm: 45 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
One of the better hitters in the draft, Matt Shaw could be drafted a bit earlier than 15. Defensive questions about his ability to stick at shortstop, mainly due to his arm strength, have caused some to believe that he could slip a bit in the first round. He would be a great addition to the White Sox farm system, as Shaw has an impressive approach at the plate, seeing him limit his strikeouts and draw a fair share of walks. He can hit for both contact and power, and he has plenty of speed to be a threat on the basepaths. Even if he has to shift to second base, he has the potential to be an impact player at the plate.
Tommy Troy, SS, Stanford University
Scouting Grades (Via MLB Pipeline): Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Tommy Troy is a college shortstop from Stanford that has a chance to be at least average with all five tools. He could have been drafted back in 2020 if he wasn’t firmly committed to playing at the collegiate level. He has been praised for his pitch recognition at the plate and his ability to make consistent hard contact. He doesn’t walk a ton, but he limits his strikeout rate as well. He has played multiple positions, so while he isn’t guaranteed to stick at shortstop he should be able to make a smooth transition to a different position.
Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon University
Scouting Grades (Via MLB Pipeline): Hit: 65 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
Wilson has one of the highest floors in this entire class, with a plus-hit tool and at least average power at the plate. He has also impressed scouts with his high baseball IQ and his pitch recognition, as he rarely strikes out. While he could outgrow the shortstop position, he currently has plenty of range and good actions at the position, so there is a good chance he will stick there.
Colin Houck, SS, Parkview High School (Georgia)
Scouting Grades (Via MLB Pipeline): Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
Collin Houck was recruited by college football teams as a quarterback as well as a potential first-round pick in this year’s draft. As a baseball player, Houck brings plus power at the plate and a solid hit tool, although he still has some swing and miss to his game. It isn’t out of the question that his best baseball is ahead of him as he focuses solely on baseball as a professional. He could stick at shortstop, although he has the profile with power and a plus arm to move over to third base if need be.
Arjun Nimmala, SS, Strawberry Crest High School (Florida)
Scouting Grades (Via MLB Pipeline): Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
Few prospects in this draft class possess as high of a ceiling as Nimmala, as the prep infielder could develop into a true five-tool player. A 6’1 right-handed shortstop has plenty of power in his swing, while also solid bat-to-ball skills. Scouts are also confident that he can stick at the shortstop position. If he makes it to pick 15, the White Sox likely have to pay over-slot but would be getting a potential star in their system.
Yohandy Morales, 3B, University of Miami
Scouting Grades (Via MLB Pipeline): Hit: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 45 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
A third baseman from the University of Miami, Morales was effective at the plate both for his college and for Team USA this summer. His plus power and his plus arm are his key tools, making him the prototypical third base prospect. He has smoothed out his swing in recent years but is still seen as having more of a just-average hit tool.
Enrique Bradfield Jr, Vanderbilt University
Scouting Grades (Via MLB Pipeline): Hit: 50 | Power: 30 | Run: 80 | Arm: 50 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45
Enrique Bradfield Jr. might be the best pure athlete in the entire draft, with a true 80-grade run tool. He uses that speed well too, making him an extremely dangerous threat on the basepaths. He has just an average hit tool and below-average power, leading to some questions about his ceiling as a hitter, however, he does show plenty of capability to get on base. He should be able to stick in center field as well, with plenty of range thanks to his athleticism and an average arm.
Dillon Head, Homewood-Flossmoor High School (Illinois)
Scouting Grades (Via MLB Pipeline): Hit: 55 | Power: 40 | Run: 80 | Arm: 55 | Field: 60 | Overall: 50
A local high school product, Head has a similar profile to Bradfield but with more upside, along with more risk. He also possesses 80-grade speed but has shown more impact abilities at the plate, with an above-average hit tool and some ability to tap into his raw power. His speed also makes him dangerous on the basepaths. In the field, his range and arm give him plus defensive capabilities, potentially even with some gold glove upside.
Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest
Scouting Grades (Via MLB Pipeline): Fastball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 60 | Overall: 55
There’s a good chance that Rhett Lowder will be drafted in the top 10 of this year’s draft. However, A fall to 15 isn’t out of the question. Lowder is widely considered one of the best pitchers in this draft, as he has been one of the more successful college pitchers over the past couple of years. His changeup is widely regarded as his best pitch, with his mid-90s fastball complimenting it well. His slider is a bit behind the other two pitches, although at its best it can be a plus pitch. While he is seen as having a higher floor than most in this draft, he doesn’t necessarily possess the same upside, which may cause him to slip a bit where the Sox could snag him.
Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy (Massachusetts)
Scouting Grades (Via MLB Pipeline): Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
The White Sox just drafted a tall prep left-handed pitcher who was committed to Vanderbilt in the first round last season, but they could find themselves in a position to do the same in this year’s draft. Thomas White is widely considered the best prep lefty in this draft class, as he utilizes an extremely effective three-pitch mix. His fastball, which tops out in the upper 90s, is his best pitch, while his curveball could be a plus pitch as well, with it already showing high spin rates. White doesn’t use his changeup as much, but it has been effective when he does. Overall, White has a very high ceiling as a starting pitcher.
Hurston Waldrep, RHP, University of Florida
Scouting Grades (Via MLB Pipeline): Fastball: 65 | Slider: 55 | Splitter: 60 | Control: 45 | Overall: 50
Waldrep has been an extremely effective pitcher for two different programs in his collegiate career, leading plenty of scouts to view him as a first-round talent. His plus fastball tops out at 99 and has plenty of life, making it his best pitch. He also possesses a plus splitter that he has gone to as an out pitch plenty throughout his career, while his slider is a bit behind but can also be a plus pitch at its best. While Waldrep has some work to do in commanding his pitches on a more consistent basis, a problem that in part could be fixed by cleaning up his delivery, he has the stuff to be a future ace of an MLB pitching staff.
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