Watch exclusive webcast
Watch an exclusive free video webcast as the White Sox host the Indians at 3:05 p.m.. Zach Stewart starts. Jake Peavy and Jesse Crain are scheduled to pitch in a minor league game. Watch webcast | Gameday | Boxscore
Or click the video below and wait 4-5 seconds (the video at the whitesox.com webcast can be expanded to full-screen):
13th Overall: Chicago White Sox
The White Sox are in trouble. They’re a middling team at best and their farm system is the worst in baseball. Maybe it’s time for a little bit of a philosophy change. The White Sox minor league starting pitching is absolutely horrendous, and rather than another safe college pick, the White Sox could go for upside in the form of Olympia, FL High School right-hander Walker Weickel.
Weickel is a big, projectable pitcher at 6’6″, 200, and even though he has more velocity to come, his current arsenal is already promising. His fastball ranges from 89 to 92 MPH with his fastball and has his 95 MPH, and he takes advantage of his height to throw the pitch with a nice downward plane and good sink. As he fills out, Weickel’s fastball could be a plus pitch in the mid-90′s. Weickel’s fastball may be better paired with a slider with a nice horizontal movement, but he currently throws a 12 to 6 curveball that has plus potential with big, late break. He complements his two team pitches with a low-80′s changeup that should definitely be at least an average pitch going forward. Weickel would give the White Sox a pitching prospect with the potential to be an ace or at least a number two, something they are severely lacking. The question is whether the White Sox will be willing to acknowledge their past mistakes and completely shift their draft strategy. If they don’t do so, I could see them taking Florida two-way player Brian Johnson, who would probably turn into another 3rd starter prospect in the White Sox weak organization. It makes sense for the White Sox will go with the former option, and their fans have a right to be upset if they don’t.
The Pick: Walker Weickel, RHP, Olympia High School, FL
Supplemental 1st round:
48th Overall: Chicago White Sox (Compensation for Mark Buehrle)
If the White Sox are known for anything, it’s for rushing top prospects through the minors. If they’re inevitably going to do that anyway, they might as well draft players who can handle such rapid movement. Oklahoma State left-hander Andrew Hearney fits that mold.
Hearney, a slender, projectable lefty at 6’2″, 175, is the most advanced pitcher in the 2012 MLB Draft. He’s a “thinking man’s pitcher”, possessing a four-pitch arsenal and does things few pitchers his age or even in general do, such as purposely varying arm slots to befuddle hitters. Hearney’s fastball currently ranges from the high-80′s to low-90′s with some nice late movement, but he could have a couple more MPH in him after he fills out. His best secondary pitch is a curveball with quick descent that flashes plus. His remaining two pitches are a two-seam fastball with late cutting action and a changeup with some sink. Hearney should be able to fly through the minors and he has a chance to be in the back end of a big league rotation by early 2013. He currently profiles as a safe bet to be a 3rd or 4th starter in the big leagues, but if he can fill out his frame and get some more velocity on his fastball while also improving his secondary pitches, he could have number two starter upside. In a White Sox system with a dearth of pitching, Hearney can provide a stable presence that could zoom through the minors.
The Pick: Andrew Hearney, LHP, Oklahoma State University
Draft pick projections for Round 2 and Round 3 are below: