With the beginning of June upon us, it is time for us to shift our focus to the 2018 MLB Draft! For those who don’t already know, the draft will begin on Monday, June 4th and last until Wednesday, June 6th. This is of particular interest for all die-hard White Sox fans because the organization has the fourth overall pick, valued at $6,411,400. The only teams picking ahead of the Sox are the Tigers, Giants, and Phillies, in that order. Now that you know the basics, let’s take a look at some players that would make sense for the White Sox.
Nick Madrigal | 2B/SS | Oregon State University
DOB: 3/15/97 | Height: 5-8 | Weight: 160 | B/T: R/R
This is one name that has been linked to the White Sox in countless mock drafts. Madrigal, a middle infielder, was originally drafted in the 17th round of the 2015 draft by the Cleveland Indians but decided to attend Oregon State instead. Throughout his college career, Madrigal saw some time at shortstop but was primarily positioned at second base. Of course with Yoan Moncada locking up second base for the future, it would seem that the White Sox would draft Madrigal with intentions of him playing shortstop.
Now, Madrigal did fracture his hand earlier this season so fans should be worried about that, right? Not so fast! The Oregon State infielder still hit an impressive .395 with 2 HR, 6 doubles, 4 triples, 27 RBI, .563 SLG, .459 OBP in 119 at bats. Some scouts have claimed that he is the best pure college hitter in the entire draft. And that’s not all! Madrigal is also an excellent fielder and was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year during his sophomore year. In 2016 and 2017, Madrigal finished both seasons with a .976 fielding percentage and committed only five errors in each. While he only appeared in 29 games in 2018, he finished with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
Overall, the White Sox would be getting a very solid offensive and defensive player, one who has been compared to the likes of Ian Kinsler and Jose Altuve, due to his small stature. Despite being shorter than average, Madrigal has a high walk to strikeout ratio, consistent contact, above average speed, and solid defense.
One last note, MLB Pipeline says Madrigal “has the chance to be a Gold Glove caliber second baseman in the future.” Will the Sox draft him and move him to shortstop or keep him at second and move Moncada? These are questions that will be answered over time so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Brady Singer | RHP | University of Florida
DOB: 8/4/96 | Height: 6-5 | Weight: 180 lbs | B/T: R/R
This is another player who has been linked to the White Sox in many of the recent mock drafts. Originally selected in the second round by the Blue Jays in 2015, Singer instead took his talents to Gainesville to play for the Florida Gators. After having a pretty rough freshman year where he posted a 4.95 ERA in 43.2 IP out of the bullpen, Singer was moved to the starting rotation and put up impressive numbers during his sophomore and junior campaigns.
This year, Singer has a crispy 2.25 ERA in 88.0 IP, striking out 92 while walking just 18. His fastball touches 95-96 mph while his slider complements it nicely as his go-to secondary pitch. He also has a change-up that still needs to be sharpened but it’s a nice third pitch in his arsenal.
As can be seen in the video package below, Singer has a very quick, no nonsense delivery to home plate. What makes Singer very appealing to any team is his size and durability. Being 6-5, he has a great build for a pitcher and has been very tough throughout his college career. If you have watched any of Florida’s games or go back and check out the game logs, you’ll see that Singer often goes late into the ballgames for the Gators, pitching no less than five innings in any start.
For the Sox, you can never have enough pitching and Singer would be another deadly weapon to an already talent-filled farm system. But do the White Sox use their pick on another pitcher when they can capitalize on a position player? This is the main question around drafting Singer and it remains to be seen which route the organization favors. Either way, with his stuff and potential, don’t be shocked to see him heading to the Sox if he’s available at number four.
Alec Bohm | 3B | Wichita State University
DOB: 8/3/96 | Height: 6-5 | Weight: 240 lbs | B/T: R/R
Need a third baseman? For the White Sox, the answer to the question is yes and Alec Bohm could be their guy. With the Achilles injuries to Jake Burger setting him back another full season, the organization has once again found themselves at square one to try and fill their need. Bohm, a junior from Wichita State, has been a solid player for the Shockers and has shown improvement over the years.
In 2018, he hit .339 with 16 HR, 55 RBI, 13 doubles, a .436 OBP, and .625 SLG in 233 at bats. This is a pretty big offensive improvement from his freshman year where he slashed .303/.346/.489 with 6 bombs and 30 RBI. Bohm definitely has the strength and power to hit the ball out of the yard, and could flourish at a park like Guaranteed Rate Field. He will also make a lot of contact in general and doesn’t strike out a ton.
The main concern that comes with Bohm is his defense. He has been working a lot at third to improve but there is still a lot to be done to fix his weakness. MLB Pipeline says, “he lacks quickness and range, his hands are just fair and his arm is only average.” This is definitely something to consider if Bohm is not taken with one of the top three picks.
If Nick Madrigal is available along with Bohm, it seems likely that he would be the better position player for the organization since his defense is much sharper and he has quite the bat to pass up on. Madrigal likely wouldn’t play third due to his arm but compared to Bohm, there appears to be plenty more upside.
Jonathan India | 3B | University of Florida
DOB: 12/15/96 | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 185 lbs | B/T: R/R
While we’re on the topic of third basemen, there’s another one in the draft who is another strong candidate for the White Sox. His name is Jonathan India, teammate of Brady Singer. Like Bohm, India has a very good bat and showed that throughout the 2018 season. He hit .362 with 17 HR, 11 doubles, 3 triples, .502 OBP, .723 SLG, and 68 hits in 188 at bats. Since his freshman year with the Gators, the third baseman has really improved his discipline at the plate and that has translated into him becoming one of the best hitters in college baseball. While his power isn’t as great as Bohm’s, India can still hit dingers so don’t you worry! Fielding wise, India is more athletic and many scouts believe he could play other infield positions, and not just be limited to third. This would be an upgrade over Bohm for the White Sox if they are in fact looking for a better overall defensive player. Even though the Sox would lose some of the power that Bohm possesses, India is still a solid offensive addition to any lineup. The risky part, if any, about selecting India is that he’s only really had only one great season collegiately. In his freshman year, he slashed .303/.367/.440 and .269/.351/.423 in his sophomore year. However, he still seems like a better choice for third base and the move could pay off nicely if the Sox chose him to fill one of their organizational needs.
Shane McClanahan | LHP | University of South Florida
DOB: 4/28/1997 | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 188 lbs | B/T: L/L
Shane McClanahan is an interesting pitcher for the White Sox to consider. The lefty was selected by the Mets in the 26th round of the 2015 draft but he decided to go the college route. Unfortunately, that did not go well as he needed Tommy John during his freshman season at South Florida. This injury is a red flag for any team considering him, but McClanahan rebounded nicely and put up some decent stats in his past two seasons to help ease those worries. This year, he owns a 5-6 record, 3.41 ERA, 117 strikeouts and 44 walks in 71.1 IP. Another stat worth noting is his opponents’ batting average. During his freshman year, the opposition only hit .190 while this past season, that number lowered to .181. His fastball is deadly as it consistently sits between 97-100, allowing him to rack up the strikeouts. Additionally, his go-to off-speed pitches are a plus change-up and an average slider. Besides his previous injury, there are concerns about McClanahan’s delivery and command. As previously mentioned, the left-hander had 44 walks in 71.1 IP, a number that has gotten slightly higher since his freshman year. While he’s got nasty stuff and lefty pitchers are nice to have, it seems like there are other players in the draft who would take priority over him for the Sox.
Travis Swaggerty | OF | University of South Alabama
DOB: 8/19/97 | Height: 5-11 | Weight: 180 | B/T: L/L
Even though we are starting to get further away from the big names like Madrigal and Singer on this list, Swaggerty is still a very good player for the Sox to consider. This past season, he hit .296 with 13 HR, 38 RBI, 10 doubles, .455 OBP, .526 SLG, and 63 hits in 213 AB. The one thing that catches your attention when looking at these numbers are Swaggerty’s stats from the previous year. In 2017, he slashed .356/.484/.571 in about the same number of plate appearances. While it’s noteworthy, you shouldn’t panic too much in the slight dip in average, on-base percentage, and slugging since he still made good contact and managed to improve his walk to strikeout ratio from his previous two years. That being said, it would still be nice for Swaggerty to keep on working at this part of his game since he does tend to chase a lot of pitches out of the zone. Otherwise, he still manages to get on base often and his above average speed makes him dangerous on the base-paths. His speed is also what has helped him to man centerfield, thus making him appealing to the Sox would have struggled to find a solid center fielder for many years now. With other high-profile players most likely still being available at number 4, it’s hard to see the Sox dipping down to grab Swaggerty, someone who is projected to get drafted around pick 6-10.
Jarred Kelenic | OF | Waukesha West High School
DOB: 7/16/99 | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 196 lbs. | B/T: L/L
Since we mentioned Swaggerty, we can’t forget to mention another big name outfielder in the draft, Jarred Kelenic. This would be an interesting player for the White Sox to go after. Like Swaggerty, Kelenic is a lefty who is just as good. The thing that makes Kelenic interesting is that he is a high school player, someone the White Sox have not selected in the first round since Courtney Hawkins and Keon Barnum in 2012. Though the Sox haven’t selected high schoolers often in the first round, Kelenic does make a pretty good case. He makes a ton of contact, has great speed in the outfield, and has the chance to fill the center field need for the Sox, like Swaggerty. However, as we previously mentioned with Swaggerty, it seems unlikely that the Sox would decide the go with him over a more safer pick in Madrigal or Singer at number 4. While he is intriguing because of his tools and potential, look for Kelenic to land elsewhere in the Top 10.
This wouldn’t be a draft preview without a few predictions from members of the Sox On 35th crew. We tried our best to look into the crystal ball to see who will be selected with the fourth overall pick, and one name just seemed to keep reoccurring.
Jordan Lazowski: Nick Madrigal
MAN, did I struggle with this one. I really had a hard time picking between Madrigal and India. Madrigal is considered the best pure hitter in the draft, and his numbers show it; just 35 strikeouts in his college career of 138 games, while sporting a career .368 batting average. I absolutely LOVE that sort of plate discipline and approach. The most important part is that he has a 3-year track record of similar numbers to back up the hype. Though he lacks home run power, Madrigal is the kind of player that I would love to watch come up through the ranks. If you listened to the latest White Sox Talk Podcast, Nick Hostetler sees an ability for Madrigal to play anywhere – with Gold Glove potential at 2B – with the right development. And if you’re worried about his height, Dustin Pedroia and Jose Altuve, say hello….
India, on the other hand, profiles as a long-term 3B with some serious power and above average discipline – 47 BB and 47 K on the season. However, he has shown just one year of top 5 potential – the past few years, he has profiled as a second or third round player.
I want the White Sox to take the best hitter available at #4 without worrying about position. If it wasn’t already clear, I’d be thrilled with either India or Madrigal. I’ll stick with Madrigal based on gut feelings and track record, and I hope in 5 years I feel foolish for even questioning this pick.
Backup Picks (in order):Jonathan India (duh), Alec Bohm (similar to India with a better track record and more power potential), Brady Singer (please no more pitchers)
Nik Gaur: Alec Bohm
Call me crazy, but I can see the Phillies falling in love with Madrigal’s hit tool and taking him instead of Bohm, giving the White Sox a chance to snag him. If Alec Bohm is off the table, I would expect Brady Singer or Nick Madrigal.
Michael Gilger: Nick Madrigal
The White Sox are going into the 2018 draft with the mindset that Rick Hahn implemented: sustained success. So when forecasting who the Sox might pick, you have to evaluate who would contribute the most to the their sustained success. The White Sox have a plethora of great outfield prospects in Robert, Jimenez, Rutherford, Adolfo, and others. Additionally, the White Sox are maxed out on prospective pitchers (not to say they wouldn’t necessary draft more). But in my opinion, the White Sox would be looking to draft a long-term infielder, likely a 3B or SS.
The Sox are in luck because Oregon State’s infielder Nick Madrigal is exactly what they are looking for. Madrigal competed for one of the most competitive college baseball programs in the nation. He batted .370 in his entire college career, and walked more than he struck out. The White Sox would love a player that is patient, can always make contact, and can fit well in the long term plans. I think Madrigal is a no-brainer.
He is a hot commodity, so the White Sox just have to make sure that he isn’t taken before No. 4. I, for one, have my fingers crossed.
Joe Binder: Nick Madrigal
I think by the time the White Sox are on the clock, Alec Bohm will be off the board and it will come down to Brady Singer, Nick Madrigal, or Jonathan India. Due to the number of arms in the White Sox organization already, I’m predicting the White Sox will take a position player and it will be Madrigal. While I’m a big fan of Jonathan India and favor him over Bohm as a third baseman, I find it hard to believe the Sox will pass up on the best bat in the draft. Get ready to see Madrigal put on the black and white Monday night if he’s available at No. 4.
As fans, all we can do now is wait and see how the chips fall on Monday night. If you would like to watch the draft, you can view it on MLB Network and MLB.com. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter @SoxOn35th for updates on who the White Sox select and our reaction. With a Top 4 pick, the organization will be sure to gain a very talented player who has the chance to make their impact felt in a big way down the road.
Who do you predict to the White Sox to draft? Let us know in the comments!