White Sox draft: South Siders targeting pitchers in latest MLB mock drafts

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In this May 23, 2015, file photo, Illinois relief pitcher Tyler Jay delivers against Michigan during the seventh inning of a Big Ten tournament NCAA college baseball game in Minneapolis. Jay is among the top prospects entering next week’s MLB draft. | AP Photo/Hannah Foslien, File)

The experts constructing MLB mock drafts agree that pitching will be the target for the White Sox with the eighth overall pick.

The draft airs at 6 p.m. Monday on MLB Network and MLB.com.

All the mock drafts point to the White Sox taking a college arm, with Vanderbilt right-hander Carson Fulmer, UC Santa Barbara right-hander Dillon Tate, Illinois left-hander Tyler Jay, and Missouri State right-hander Jonathan Harris among the possible picks.

Here’s what the experts are saying:

ESPN’s Keith Law and Baseball America both have the Sox grabbing Fulmer, a 5-11, 195-pounder out of Vanderbilt. He’s 13-2 with a 1.82 ERA in 114 innings this season for the Commodores. Fulmer has struck out 152 batters and walked 46.

Baseball America’s assessment boils the pick for the Sox as being between Fulmer and Tate:

These Sox would have an interesting choice to make here between Fulmer if he’s available, and Tate. They’ve done their due diligence on Tate of late. Tate’s stock has fallen, and it seems like his floor is at No. 9 with the Cubs. If he falls past the Phillies—which seems very unlikely—then he could slide for a bit, because teams after pick 10 stopped checking in on Tate long ago.

MLB.com’s Jim Callis has Fulmer going one pick earlier to the Red Sox at No. 7.

His scouting report:

Fulmer helped key Vanderbilt’s run to its first College World Series title when he moved from closer to starter last April, not allowing a run in his first 29 2/3 innings in his new role. He spent the summer with the U.S. collegiate national team, leading the pitching staff in wins (three), ERA (0.73) and opponent average (.141). Fulmer has an electric arm that delivers 93-97-mph fastballs and power breaking balls. His changeup is an effective third pitch and coaches and scouts alike rave about his competitive makeup. Some scouts think he’d be best off channeling his energy into becoming a closer because he lacks size, his delivery features effort and his control can get wobbly at times. A 15th-round pick by the Red Sox from a Florida high school in 2012, Fulmer would have gone in the top five rounds had he been signable. Now he’s one of three Commodores who figure to go early in the first round in 2015, joining Walker Buehler and Dansby Swanson.

Callis has the Sox taking Tate, a 6-2, 185-pound right-hander out of UC Santa Barbara.

Here’s a snippet from his scouting report:

Tate showed the best stuff in the U.S. collegiate national team’s stellar bullpen during the summer. He pairs a 92-98 mph fastball with a sharp 86-87 mph slider. He mixes in a fringy curveball and his changeup has the chance to be above-average as well. Tate missed more bats in 2015 than he had previously. Though there’s considerable effort in Tate’s delivery, it also provides deception, and he’s proven to scouts this year he can start, with his athleticism translating into durability.

Tate is 8-5 with a 2.26 ERA in 103-plus innings this season.

Sports Illustrated projects Harris, a 6-4, 190-pound right-hander out of Missouri State, to be there for the Sox at No. 8:

The White Sox are almost assuredly going to draft a college pitcher here, and Harris, Carson Fulmer and the fast rising James Kaprielian are all prime candidates. Harris is bit of a sleeper this high, but his string of very consistent and strong performances, along with superior mechanics, give him an edge.

None of the mock drafts peg Jay to the White Sox, but his name is peppered throughout the top 10 picks in every mock, so there’s a chance he’ll be there for the Sox.

Law has Jay going ninth to the Cubs, while Callis slotted him sixth to the Twins. Baseball America has him highest at No. 3.

Here’s MLB.com’s scouting report on Jay, who is compared to Billy Wagner:

Jay is expected to be the highest drafted player in Illinois history. He went from a relatively unknown lanky left-handed prospect from the state of Illinois in 2012 to one of the nation’s best college pitchers as a member of the Fighting Illini. A dominant closer in the Big Ten, many argue he is the school’s best hurler since former Major Leaguer Ken Holtzman. A semifinalist for this year’s Gold Spikes Award, Jay has strong control, above average swing-and-miss ability and knows how to keep hitters in the ballpark.

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