The 2020 MLB Draft
Though the 2020 Minor League Baseball season is up in the air, that has not stopped the MLB from holding its annual draft. This year’s draft is different than usual, as it only has five rounds, instead of the usual 40, so in all likelihood, most of the players selected by the White Sox this week will be good enough to make it to Birmingham eventually. Below is a short introduction to every pick made by the Sox this year.
Garrett Crochet-LHP, University of Tennessee
With the eleventh overall pick in the draft, the White Sox selected Garrett Crochet, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Tennessee. Crochet entered the 2020 season as one of the highest-ranked pitchers in the SEC, the best conference in college baseball. Standing at an incredible 6 feet, 6 inches, Crochet has one of the most lethal fastballs in this years draft class, which is loaded with great pitching from the SEC with guys like Asa Lacy (selected 4th overall by KC) and Emerson Hancock (selected 6th overall by Seattle). Crochet’s spin-rate on his fastball (number of rotations per minute of the pitch) is second in the draft, behind his SEC East rival, Emerson Hancock. His fastball is rated at a 65 on the MLB’s 20-80 scouting system, placing it well above major league average. He couples it well with an above-average Changeup (60) and he has a decent slider (55). His control is average, coming in at a 50, making him an overall 50, or league average. In the brief 2020 season, his fastball was consistently in the range of 96-100 mph, up considerably from his velocity in 2019. All of his pitches break glove-side, so he is pretty lethal to left-handed batters, and has to work on getting righties out. He’ll likely be a lefty specialist who could play for the Sox if there’s a season as a ‘taxi squad’ player, but he’ll likely start out in low-A next season, but he’ll definitely be in Birmingham soon.
Jared Kelley-RHP, Refugio HS (TX)
With the 47th pick in the draft, the Sox selected Jared Kelley, a Right-Handed Pitcher from Refugio HS in Refugio, Texas. Prior to the draft, Kelley was going to play for the University of Texas next season, but that could change now if he and the White Sox can reach an agreement on his contract. There isn’t much data and information on Kelley since he’s coming out of high school, but the biggest thing that I found was his incredible fastball. At a Perfect Game showcase last summer, Kelley threw a max velocity of 99 mph, up from his measured 92 in 2017. His fastball normally stays in the 95-97 mph range, but it can get up to 99. He has a “plus” changeup and a good slurve like pitch that has a very tight break. In 2018, Kelley struck out 6 batters in 4.1 innings. The toughest thing for the Sox with Kelley will be reaching his asking price. He and Crochet will likely ask for a little more money than slot value, so it will be interesting to see if the two can reach a deal.
Adisyn Coffey-RHP, Wabash Valley Junior College
In the third round, the White Sox selected yet another pitcher, with all of their first three selections being pitchers. Adisyn Coffey, a RHP out of Wabash Valley Junior College, recently signed to play for the Louisville Cardinals where he was projected to fit into the bullpen next season. Coffey was drafted as a pitcher, but he played two ways at Wabash Valley. Per Teddy Cahill of Baseball America, Coffey has a “big arm, could be a mid-90s guy.” Coffey’s future is likely on the mound, but he has good attributes off the mound. He hits balls hard, with an average exit velocity of 97 mph, and his pitching arm translates well to fielding as he throws 87 mph from the left side of the infield. Unfortunately, this is all I could find on Coffey since he was not well recruited out of high school and wasn’t highly scouted.
Kade Mechals-RHP, Grand Canyon University
Kade Mechals was the fourth pitcher taken by Chicago, selected in the fourth round. Mechals was very successful during two years at GCU as a starter. He had a career ERA of 2.19, a 12-2 record, 107 IP, 42 walks, 118 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.07. Mechals did not allow many base runners, which translated into few runs scored against him, only giving up 26 earned runs in his career. We should take his college stats seriously, but there isn’t much competition in the Western Athletic Conference, so any player that was picked in the MLB draft before (40th round by the Miami Marlins last year) will be successful against weaker competition. Though his numbers from 2020 were impressive, he only pitched 15.1 innings, so there isn’t a large sample size to judge off of. In terms of his attributes, I could only find his 2016 Perfect Game scouting report, so these numbers are likely better now. In 2016, his fastball clocked in at 86 mph, which is decent for an 18 year old.
Bailey Horn-LHP, Auburn
Bailey Horn was the final player selected by the White Sox, capping off an all-pitcher draft for them. Horn played two seasons at Auburn, after starting his career at McLennan (TX) CC. Horn missed the 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery, but he bounced back to have a decent Sophomore campaign at Auburn in 2019. That season, Horn played mostly out of the bullpen, appearing in 18 games, with five starts. He pitched 37.2 innings, giving up 34 hits and 25 earned runs, while walking 20 and striking out 31. His control that season wasn’t great, as he had a BB/9 (walks per nine innings pitched) of 4.79, and a WHIP of 1.43. In 2020, however, he started all five games he appeared in, en route to pitching 17.1 innings, allowing 4 earned runs and 17 hits, with much better control numbers of 5 walks to 27 strikeouts. He allowed fewer base runners per inning, with a WHIP of 1.27 and a BB/9 of 2.60, meaning he shaved over two walks per game in the 2020 season. This is really important because when the Barons were in the Postseason hunt in 2019, walks caused them to lose many crucial games. He has a great slider, which is his best pitch, that mixes in well with a low-90s fastball, with a decent curveball and changeup, giving him the weapons to remain an effective starter.
This was a pretty good draft for the White Sox. Obviously, there is no guarantee that these players will sign with the White Sox or even make it to Birmingham, but if they do, these guys will have significant roles in the Barons’ pitching staff for Richard Dotson and Justin Jirschele in the future.