Scouting Success: Analyzing the White Sox 2023 Draft Picks

The White Sox draft includes a mix of solid college hitters and a fair number of risks. Six of their first eight picks were lefties and they only selected one high school player in the twenty rounds. There are definitely some intriguing prospects. Let’s take a look at all of the Sox picks from this year’s draft.

White Sox 2023 Draft Picks

115Jacob GonzalezOle MissSSL/R6’2200
251Grant TaylorLSUPR/R6’3230
384Seth KeenerWake ForestPR/R6’2195
4116Calvin HarrisOle MissCL/R6’0215
5152Christian OpporGulf Coast CCPL/L6’2175
6179Lucas GordonTexasPL/L6’1193
7209George WolkowDowners Grove North (IL)OFL/R6’7239
8239Eddie ParkStanfordOFL/L6’1192
9269Jake PeppersJacksonville StatePR/R6’3160
10299Zach FranklinMissouriPR/R6’1198
11329Rikuu NishidaOregon2BL/R5’6150
12359Mathias LaCombeCochise CollegePR/R6’2185
13389Ryan GalanieWofford3BR/R6’2215
14419Edrick FelixFlorida Gulf CoastSSR/R6’0198
15449Carlton PerkinsCowley County CCPR/R6’3180
16479Weston EberlyColumbiaCR/R6’0200
17509Mikey KaneOregon StateIFR/R6’3195
18539Anthony ImhoffPima CCPL/L6’8190
19569Caden ConnorCal State FullertonOFL/L6’1200
20599Garrett WrightTCUPR/R6’2220

Let’s take a closer look at the White Sox top ten picks.

Jacob Gonzalez led Ole Miss to it’s first College World Series Title as a freshman in 2021. He was the national freshman of the year that season after hitting .355 with 12 HR and 55 RBI. His average dropped in his sophomore year, but his home runs went up. He found more of a balance in 2021 as Gonzalez hit .327 and slugged .564 with 10 HRs and 51 RBI. He has the ability to hit the ball all over the field, but his power is to his pull side. Defensively, he might be able to stay at short, but there are many who think he’ll move to 2nd or 3rd before he’s in Chicago.

Grant Taylor has the frame to be a first-round starting pitching talent, but the question marks caused him to fall to the second here. He used to be a reliever and that still might be where he ends up going forward, but he’s also made some starts. His fastball has reached 99 mph and he’s relied on it heavily. He has a cutter, curveball, slider and changeup, but they will need improvement if he’ll be a starter. Taylor had Tommy John in 2023 and missed the entire season. He is a pretty risky pick in the second round, but there is upside in that he may be a first-round talent.

Seth Keener is another right-handed arm. He had a huge 2022 summer in the Cape Cod league and kept that momentum going into 2023. He went 8-2 in 70.1 innings with a 2.69 ERA in 2023 at Wake Forest and batters hit just .169 against him. The Demon Deacons used him as both a starter and reliever (8 starts, 15 relief). Keener is a Fastball-Slider guy with a changeup he uses against lefties. The slider is Keener’s best weapon.

Calvin Harris is a catcher out of Ole Miss who hits the ball hard. He may be able to find even more power if he can lift the ball more often. He hit .321 and slugged .579 in 2023 for the Rebels. There are questions around his defense. He’ll need to improve behind the plate if he’s going to stay there.

Christian Oppor is a project with some big upside. The lefty has hit up to 98 mph, but all the secondary pitches are still being worked on. He was drafted by the A’s in the 11th round of 2022 but didn’t sign.

Lucas Gordon is another lefty pitcher. Gordon started 17 games for Texas last season and finished with a 7-2 record and 2.63 ERA. Gordon’s best weapon is his changeup. He doesn’t have the velocity of some of the higher picks, but he is a step ahead in understanding how to pitch and commanding a game.

George Wolkow is a really intriguing one here. He’s a high schooler out of Downers Grove North so the Sox knew they would have to convince him to sign. They did just that – by giving him over four times the slot value of this pick! A $1 million signing bonus was enough to get the big outfielder to sign. At 6’7 239, Wolkow flashed tremendous power and will only add more strength as he develops. His lefty swing has holes, and his plate discipline needs improvement. But he’s not even 18-years old yet and there’s a long way to go. Sox fans can dream about the potential though.

Eddie Park is a left-handed outfielder out of Stanford. Park hit .333 with six HRs and 47 RBIs in 2023. The six homers deserve a note because he had zero in his first two seasons and just 22 RBIs in those seasons. He also had 37 walks and just 25 strikeouts in 2023.

Jake Peppers is a right-handed pitcher who sits 93-95 mph and can touch 98. He’s listed at just 160., so you’d have to think he could add a little more with some added strength. He pairs the fastball with a low 80s slider and has shown a changeup. He bounced between starting and the bullpen at Jacksonville State. He’s likely a reliever unless he really develops the changeup or another pitch.

Zach Franklin posted a 7.45 ERA at Missouri, but also had 59 strikeouts in his 38.2 innings in 2023. He started one game and made 19 relief appearances for the Tigers. Franklin spent five years at Western Carolina prior to transferring to Missouri for his sixth year. He has a mid-90s fastball but couldn’t figure it out at Mizzou. The high strikeout rate was enough for the White Sox to take a shot at a future bullpen arm.

The White Sox finished out the draft with four more infielders, a catcher, an outfielder and four pitchers in picks 11-20. 11th-rounder Rikuu Nishida is interesting. A 5’6 Japanese infielder who showed a lot of speed and contact at Oregon. He hit .312 and stole 25 bases in 2023 in Eugene.

Overall, the White Sox got a mix of solid contact hitters with some question marks with big ceilings. I’m not overly excited about the draft, but there may be some potential MLB pieces from this year’s draft. I’ll be following them as they develop in the organization.

Published by Will McClaughry

Sports fan, data enthusiast and former division 3 college basketball player

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