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Sox On 35th Crew 2021 Draft Predictions

by Sox On 35th Contributors

Tonight is the start of the MLB Draft, and here at Sox On 35th, we took some time out to make our predictions. Will Colson Montgomery – the White Sox’ clearest target – be available to them at 22? Will they have to go another route besides Montgomery if he’s picked up early? Heck, will they actually even draft a prep player in the first round for the first time since Courtney Hawkins and Keon Barnum in 2012? Our crew makes their predictions on all of this below.

Additionally, you can find our draft preview article here with detailed write ups of 10 of the possible picks by the White Sox at No. 22 tonight.

For now, let’s get into the predictions!

Joe Binder | Founder & Owner

Prediction: Colson Montgomery, SS, Southridge HS

While his availability at No. 22 seems questionable, I’m sticking with high school shortstop Colson Montgomery as my pick to click. He’s been linked to the Sox in countless mock drafts leading up to today, and his physicality out of all the middle infielders makes him the favorite. He has a solid lefty swing that with continued development, should allow his bat to play at any level. In the field, he moves well for his size and has looked balanced on some of the more challenging plays. While his slower speed mixed with his arm strength (which could only jump with development) make a move to third base very much possible, I think he has a chance to stay at shortstop throughout his career. The White Sox desperately need some middle infield talent in their system and someone like Montgomery gives them just that. Assuming the Mets don’t call him at 10, I think Mike Shirley and Co. will get their guy. If not, look for Max Muncy to be picked.

Honorable Mentions: Max Muncy (SS – Thousand Oaks HS), Wes Kath (SS – Desert Mountain HS), Will Bednar ( RHP – Mississippi State)

Jordan Lazowski | Editor-in-Chief

Prediction: Colson Montgomery, SS, Southridge HS

I’ve changed this pick multiple times leading up to publishing this. Based on what I’ve heard, the biggest threat to Colson Montgomery not being drafted by the White Sox at #22 is if the Mets take him at #10. One of the worst kept secrets in the industry right now is that the White Sox really like Colson Montgomery, and usually, when there is this much smoke around something with the White Sox, it doesn’t end up happening.

That being said, given all that I’ve heard, I’m sticking to my guns here. I believe the Mets will go the college route and the White Sox will get their guy at 22. Montgomery has all the tools to develop into a great major league player. He was the most impressive prep prospect at this year’s annual draft combine, and he was posting numbers that really boosted his standing among prep players according to those familiar with the combine. He has a great left-handed swing, and while there are concerns from scouts about him facing higher velocity players, I believe time and experience will help form him into a solid contributor at the highest level in the game. A guy like Montgomery would go a long way for an organization without much young infield potential behind Tim Anderson.

Honorable Mentions: Maxwell Muncy (SS – Thousand Oaks HS), Ryan Cusick (RHP – Wake Forest), Will Bednar (RHP – Mississippi State). If Montgomery is actually off the board at 22, I would switch my prediction to Muncy. Everything I’ve heard and read connects the White Sox to a prep shortstop, and Maxwell Muncy is another really good one. The Sox do not have great infield depth in the minors, and a pick like Montgomery or Muncy would be huge for the organization.

That being said, Will Bednar is projected to go somewhere in the mid-first round. If he happens to fall down to pick 22, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rick Hahn and company shifted strategy and got a more polished college pitcher that can help the White Sox in their current contention window. Ryan Cusick would be a bit of a stretch, but things change rapidly in the draft world.

Nik Gaur | Managing Editor

Prediction: Maxwell Muncy, SS, Thousand Oaks HS

I thought this would be Colson Montgomery for a few weeks, but unfortunately, I have a hard time believing that he’ll be available by the time the White Sox are making their selection. However, I do predict that high school infielders will be the target, and Max Muncy is very likely to be selected in the back half of the first round. The White Sox have liked drafting players with high exit velocities and barrell rates as a selling point (Jake Burger comes to mind), and Muncy’s swing test results and physical projection give him the ability to emerge as a true power threat if he develops as many scouts expect. I am also intrigued by Peyton Stovall, who projects similarly. With the draft rapidly approaching, I would be more and more surprised to see a pitcher taken here unless a college arm falls very unexpectedly.

Honorable Mentions: Wes Kath (SS – Desert Mountain HS), Peyton Stovall (2B – Haughton HS)

Noah Phalen | Contributor

Prediction: Colson Montgomery, SS, Southridge HS

Montgomery has been the most popular name linked to the White Sox in mock drafts, and there are some good reasons why. A three sport star at his Indiana high school, there’s no doubt the athleticism is there. His 6’4″ frame gives him lots of strength and power potential, but raises questions about his long term positional fit. He bats from the left side, and has shown plus arm strength to go with his above average offensive skills. Some scouts have even compared him to Corey Seager of the Dodgers. The White Sox farm system is most in need of young hitting talent, as most of their young prospects are pitchers. Montgomery, should he make it to the Sox at 22, has all the tools to be a steal in the draft for the good guys. 

Honorable Mentions: Max Muncy (SS – Thousand Oaks HS), Gavin Williams (RHP – East Carolina), Jaden Hill (RHP – Louisiana State), Jud Fabian (OF – Florida)

Kyle Wood | Contributor

Prediction: Jud Fabian, OF, Florida

As a 3rd year/COVID sophomore, Fabian was a 3rd team All-American and All-SEC Defensive First Team. He slashed .249/.364/.560 with 20 HR, 10 2B, 51 R, 46 RBI, 40 BB and 6 SB. In his true sophomore season he hit .294 with a .407 OBP, showing good on-base skills.

The White Sox have been filling RF with cheap replacement level players in Nomar Mazara and Adam Eaton the last two seasons, with Eaton being Designated for Assignment recently. Drafting a college bat with good power and on-base skills to play RF would be a solid move for a team that has not had a good Right Fielder for a while. 

Honorable Mentions: Colson Montgomery (SS – Southridge), Wes Kath (SS – Desert Mountain). While Tim Anderson is locked up for the foreseeable future, it would be a good idea to have depth at SS. Both Colson and Wes are prep shortstops with great bat speed and would have plenty of time to develop in the system.

Ryan Lyle | Contributor

Prediction: Maxwell Muncy, SS, Thousand Oaks HS

In recent years the Sox strategy seems to have been mostly to target relatively polished college bats. Many of those players are now important contributors on the big league roster (Andrew Vaughn, Zack Collins, Jake Burger, Gavin Sheets). However, after graduating most of their top prospects, the Sox system overall is lacking in most areas, but particularly young talent in the middle infield. Many in the draft industry have linked the Sox to several different prep infielders, but to me Muncy is the most ideal fit.

At just 18 years old, Muncy has a serviceable glove at shortstop with very likable traits at the plate. He is said to boast good bat speed, a disciplined plate approach, ability to use all fields, as well as impressive power potential. Muncy has a reputation for barreling the baseball, which is typically a promising trait even in high school, as barreled balls more often than not yield good results. While he could project as a long term middle infielder, he might be more likely to end up at third base. The weaknesses of his game are considered to be just average speed and his lack of range and shortstop. This could be a reason he ends up playing the hot corner instead of up the middle.

Overall I believe Muncy would be an excellent starting point for creating an influx of exciting and intriguing young talent in the White Sox system. 

Honorable Mentions: Colson Montgomery (SS – Southridge HS), Chase Petty (RHP – Mainland HS)

Montgomery is another prep bat with intriguing raw power potential, and he hits from the left side. I tend to prefer Muncy however because I believe him to have the higher upside of the two players. Montgomery has been rumored to the Sox in a lot of mock drafts, but my guess is he will likely go before the Sox select. 

Additionally, he Sox as an organization are built on pitching and I would not be at all surprised to see them once again add another young arm. Petty is the hardest throwing pitcher in the draft with an unconventional delivery, but the Sox have developed pitchers with unorthodox deliveries in the past, namely Chris Sale and more recently Garret Crochet. Petty is also said to have strong mental makeup, which has been an important factor in recent drafts for the Sox. 

Breven Daugherity | Contributor

Prediction: Trey Sweeney, SS, Eastern Illinois

Slugging shortstop Trey Sweeney out of Eastern Illinois University could be an intriguing pick for the White Sox at #22. Sweeney was essentially an unknown prospect coming out of St. Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky. After graduating high school in 2018, Sweeney had received just one Division-1 scholarship from Eastern Illinois. As a freshman at EIU in 2019, he posted a .271 batting average in 55 games: the third most for the Panthers that year. He utilized that summer by playing for the Lafayette Aviators of the Prospect League, posting the third best average on the team at .354. His hot hitting carried into the shortened 2020 NCAA season where he posted another .350+ average with a .351 mark, before breaking out in the 2021 season with a .382 average, 14 home runs, and 58 RBIs for the Panthers in 48 games. As far as a comparison, Sweeney shows the ability to be a Paul DeJong type of infielder, one that could hit for power. 

At 6’4″, Sweeney is fairly tall for a middle-infielder, and due to his above-average arm (55 grade) he could potentially find himself at a corner spot in either the infield or outfield. With a farm system that seems to deplete every week due to another call-up, the White Sox are looking to rebuild their youth. If they elect to go with a bat, Sweeney could very well be their choice due to his versatility and skill set, considering the White Sox could slot him into a number of different positions. Rick Hahn and company have never shied from taking chances on local products either, selecting Adisyn Coffey with the 83rd overall pick in 2020, in addition to signing Plainfield, IL, native Jordan Mikel as an undrafted free agent. Sweeney hopes to be the first EIU Panther taken in the first round of the MLB Draft since Stan Royer in 1988.

Mark Fordon | Contributor

Prediction: Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State

With the White Sox having the 22nd pick in the MLB draft, I believe they should reach for the best talent available.Wicks is projecting as the best left-handed pitcher in the draft and could very well be available at pick 22. He posted a 0.52 ERA in 2020 with 52 strikeouts in 34.2 innings pitched. It is important for the White Sox to build prospect capital at this stage, as we might need to put them in a trade package down the line.

Honorable Mentions: Jud Fabian (OF – Florida), Gunnar Hogland (RHP – Mississippi)

As a reminder, the draft starts tonight at 6:00 PM CT. You can watch it on either ESPN or MLB Network. Given that the Sox pick 22nd, keep in mind that it might be a little while after 6:00 before the White Sox are actually able to make their pick.

Draft night is always an exciting night for an organization – it brings new hope for stars of the future. Hopefully, a new star finds his way to the south side of Chicago this evening.

Who do you think the Sox will draft tonight? Let us know on Twitter or leave a comment below!

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