Q: Jared Mitchell, Trayce Thompson and Keenyn Walker are all raw, toolsy White Sox draft choices, and all have had their problems making contact in the minors. Who’s most likely to have a productive major league career, and how would you rank them defensively?
A: The White Sox spend less on the draft than any team, but they invested $1.2 million in Mitchell as a 2009 first-round pick and gave rare (for them) above-slot bonuses to Thompson ($625,000 in the second round in 2009) and Walker ($795,000 in the sandwich round last year). All three are high-risk, high-reward prospects and their inability to make consistent contact could cause them all to go bust rather than boom.
Thompson is the best bet to be a useful big leaguer, because he has the broadest base of tools. He may always strike out and never hit for a high average, but he has a lot more power potential than Mitchell or Walker. Thompson is an average runner with good instincts on the bases and in center field, and he has enough arm strength to be a legitimate right fielder.
Walker has the speed to make an impact on the bases and in center field, but he’s going to have to make significant strides with his on-base ability. Mitchell, who won national titles in baseball and football (as a wide receiver) at Louisiana State, is the best all-around athlete of the trio. But he hasn’t been the same player since he tore a tendon in his left ankle when he ran into an outfield fence in the spring of 2010.
Walker is the best defender of the three, followed by Mitchell and Thompson in that order. None of them is the top defensive outfielder in Chicago’s system, however. That distinction belongs to Jordan Danks.
January 23, 2012
Jim Callis comments on Jared Mitchell, Trayce Thompson and Keenyn Walker
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