With the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft just a month away, we’re hard at work preparing a plethora of draft content here at The Chicago Dugout. On Saturday, I published a prospect profile on Ed Howard (SS – Mount Carmel H.S.), and I plan to create one for each prospect named in this particular mock draft by the end of the week.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into pretty much everything, it was the belief of many that the White Sox would be using the 2020 draft to revitalize their farm system with it graduating most of its top talent up to the major-league level the past couple of seasons, and the next two seasons.
That entailed going prep heavy, a strategy in the opposite direction of recent years, where the club was looking for college guys with major-league pedigree that could contribute sooner-than-later.
With the draft having 35 rounds lopped off as a result of the pandemic, the White Sox, and the rest of the league are left to only five selections. Here’s a quick list of things to know this year:
- Five round draft
- Will take place on June 10, 2020
- Players not taken in the five-round draft can sign with any team as an undrafted free agent, starting June 13, 2020
- Teams can use their allotted money as they see fit to sign their draft picks
- Undrafted signees will be limited to a bonus of no greater than $20,000 (previously, undrafted signees were able to sign for bonuses of up to $125,000 without the signing team incurring pool penalties)
- Draft signing deadline will be August 1, 2020
According to James Fox of Future Sox and SSHP, the White Sox will possess a bonus pool of $7,764,800, and with a five percent overage, the club can spend a total of $8,153,040.
Here’s the breakdown on their pick-by-pick slot allotment:
- Round 1, (11) – $4,547,500
- Round 2, (47) – $1,580,200
- Round 3 (83) – $733,100
- Round 4 (112) – $517,400
- Round 5 (142) – $386,600
Now let’s get to the good stuff. Here’s my 2020 five-round mock draft for the Chicago White Sox.
Round 1: Pick 11
Ed Howard (SS), Mount Carmel H.S. (Chicago, IL)
With the No. 11 pick in the draft the White Sox begin to insulate their system for the future by taking the top shortstop in the draft, Chicago’s own Ed Howard.
Howard still has some inconsistent swings but has strong upside as a gap-to-gap hitter and has the best glove at his position in this year’s draft, a defensive profile that will stick at the next level.
Round 2: Pick 47
Jared Shuster (LHP), Wake Forest
After taking a high-upside prep star with their first-rounder, the White Sox address their weakest link, left-handed pitching by taking Wake Forest southpaw, Jared Shuster.
Shuster came out this spring hitting 96-97 with his fastball from the left side to go along with a strong changeup and developing slider. At 6-3, 210 pounds, Shuster has excellent starter traits, and had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic ending his season early, he would have possibly shot into the first round.
Round 3: Pick 83
Bryce Elder (RHP), Texas
The White Sox go back to the college arm well in round three, taking Bryce Elder out of Texas.
Elder isn’t going to blow up the radar gun, but he’s a solid strike-thrower with a very good sinker/slider combination that produces tons of ground balls. Elder’s slider is above-average, and his changeup took big strides during an abbreviated 2020 season when he posted a 2.08 ERA in 26 innings of work for the Longhorns.
Round 4: Pick 112
Luke Little (LHP), San Jacinto JC (Texas)
Remember the video circulating Twitter last week of a monster lefty tossing 105 in a bullpen?
That’s Luke Little, a not-so-little 6-8, 225-pound southpaw from San Jacinto JC in Texas. He’s a South Carolina commit, but he’s going be drafted somewhere in the later rounds of this abbreviated draft.
Little sits 96-97 from the left side, has shown vastly improved control, and a 80-83 mph slider with bite.
In nine innings this spring, he struck out 17, walked three and allowed just three hits. He’s worth a risk here.
Round 5: Pick 142
Jesse Franklin (OF), Michigan
Having added a high-upside prep prospect in round one, a pair of hard throwing southpaws and a college right-hander already, the White Sox round out the draft with a college outfielder.
Franklin was the headliner of Michigan’s 2017 recruiting class, and while he isn’t going to blow us away with any one tool, he’s got above-average power potential in a corner outfield spot, a low strikeout approach, and a plus work ethic and IQ. Most believe he’ll be a major-league piece in some capacity.
My plan of attack for the White Sox in this draft was simple, take a high-upside high school prospect in the opening round, attack the left-handed pitching void in the middle rounds, and grab a college outfielder at some point to add to a minor league stable of outfield prospects with a ton of question marks, that will eventually be filling the right field spot in Chicago.
I really don’t think you can go wrong with Ed Howard at No. 11 in the opening round. He’s the best shortstop in the draft class, he’s a high-upside hitter that needs polishing, and he’s got 60-grade speed coming out of high school. All reports and interviews show a highly intelligent and hard-working kid, who brings the best defensive profile at his position to the table from day one.
In the middle rounds, we went all pitching, taking a pair of hard-throwing southpaws sandwiched around the polished strike-thrower from Texas, Bryce Elder. Then we capped it off with Jesse Franklin from Michigan.
Franklin will profile as an above-average corner outfielder defensively, and he has above-average power potential at the dish. He’s a perfect addition to the minor league outfield group in the fifth round.
The more I look back over this draft, the more I love it. I’ll be profiling all of these picks this week, and we will be dropping a league-wide mock draft later this week, so stay tuned in.
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