White Sox will take power pitcher in MLB draft — Insider

SHARE White Sox will take power pitcher in MLB draft — Insider
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Chicago White Sox Executive Vice President Kenny Williams, left, and head coach Robin Ventura laugh together before a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday April 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

As the June 8 MLB Draft approaches, the White Sox have a decision to make with their No. 8 pick; pitcher or power hitter.

ESPN MLB writer Keith Law thinks the White Sox will draft an arm that will help their bullpen immediately. Vanderbilt right-hander Carson Fulmer is his prediction.

Law on the 5-foot-11, 195-pound pitcher:

There are three guys from Vanderbilt who have a chance to go in the top 10 this year: the Walker Buehler, Dansby Swanson and Fulmer. Of those three, Fulmer has the most volatily, possessing the most explosive stuff/tools but the most question marks as well. Fulmer’s arm is lightning-quick, and he uses his natural arm strength to sit 92-94 mph and touch the high 90s. The curveball is a swing-and-miss pitch, a power curve with very hard spin that he buries down in the zone. He also has better command of it than he does his fastball. Fulmer’s change is nowhere near the level of his fastball and curve, but it’s not just a show-me pitch either. He gets his arm through the zone very quickly — more on that in a moment — and hitters who are looking fastball often look foolish as he pulls the string. If you’ve ever seen Fulmer pitch — hopefully you have by now, as Vanderbilt games are regularly on TV — you likely understand why scouts are so high on him, but also why there are some concerns. His delivery is as max effort as they come, and because of that, he can get out of sorts with his control and command. Many think the violence in his delivery impacts his command enough that it will prevent him from pitching in a pro rotation. Whatever team drafts Fulmer should give him every opportunity to start — even if they think he’ll eventually end up in the bullpen — just in case he somehow finds a way to make it work.

Law said the White Sox are between Fulmer and left-hander Tyler Jay from the University of Illinois.

Law believes the 6-foot-1, 175-pound leftie is worthy of going in the Top 10:

When you post a 0.00 ERA and strike out 21 hitters in 16 innings for Team USA, as Jay did last summer, you’re going to get noticed. Jay has the most impressive arm acceleration of any college pitcher in this draft pool, and he uses it to pump mid-90s fastballs past Big Ten hitters with impunity. Jay’s power curveball is a true plus pitch just based on sheer spin and movement. What makes it especially terrifying is that Jay can locate it in the strike zone or bury it down in the zone at will, allowing him to pitch backward with it or use it as a nasty, late-count surprise when he needs to throw a strike. Jay’s changeup is a bit behind, but the arm acceleration and athleticism provide it with projection; he’s going to need it to keep right-handed hitters at bay. Jay also has above-average command despite a unique delivery, and some project it to be plus-plus. So why wouldn’t a lefty with a plus fastball, plus breaking ball and plus command be a no-doubt top-5 pick in a draft as weak as this one is reported to be? Well, Jay has spent 2015 pitching out of the Illini bullpen, making him extraordinarily difficult to scout. Decisions on first-round picks are made by general managers, scouting directors and other upper-echelon personnel who aren’t going to waste their time traveling to a Big Ten school if the player they want to see has only a coin-flip chance at appearing. Even if influential eyes have been able to see Jay, it’s usually for just an inning or two at a time. His use this year has submarined his draft stock and certainly hurt the Illini as well, who are getting about 40 innings from Jay when they could have gotten 120 or more.

It’s not sure who the White Sox are leaning towards, but it’s clear they will take a pitcher.

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