Draft Grade: Shirley, White Sox All-in on Arms Race

Now a week removed from the 2020 MLB Draft, it’s time to put a bow on this baby and grade out the class of 2020 for the White Sox.

First, let’s remind ourselves just how much of an absolute crapshoot mock drafts are by taking a look at who I had penciled in for the White Sox in my five-round mock draft from mid-May.

Round – Pick No.My PickWhere my Pick Went
Round 1 – Pick 11Ed Howard (SS) Mount Carmel H.S.Chicago Cubs (R1)
Round 2 – Pick 47Jared Shuster (LHP) Wake ForestAtlanta Braves (R1)
Round 3 – Pick 83Bryce Elder (RHP) TexasAtlanta Braves (R5)
Round 4 – Pick 112Luke Little (LHP) San Jacinto JCChicago Cubs (R4)
Round 5 – Pick 142Jesse Franklin (OF) MichiganAtlanta Braves (R3)

As you can see, I was 0-5 when it came to the White Sox, but if I was drafting for the Atlanta Braves — or even the Cubs — I would have been sending this to them asking for a job.

Alright, now that we’ve all had a chuckle at my expense, let’s get down to the reason we’re here.

Round 1, Pick 11: Garrett Crochet (LHP) Tennessee

Photo: Caleb Jones/Tennessee Athletics

The pick of Crochet was not what I was expecting, but it’s certainly grown on me since. As far as the shoulder concerns brought up by many last week, when I spoke with Tennessee skipper Tony Vitello on Tuesday, he put those to bed without any hesitation. There never was any actual injury, just a cold-weather heater that didn’t feel great followed by an abundance of caution.

You can listen to my discussion with Coach Vitello on the latest episode of the Southside Show podcast.

Crochet is a six-foot-six lefty with a mid-upper 90s fastball paired with a 60-grade changeup and a developing slider. He’s got a great delivery that hides the ball well, and his arm is fresh. He’ll be a starter long-term, but he could be fast-tracked to the majors to work out of the bullpen if the right situation arises in Chicago.

Honestly, there’s nothing not to love about this pick. The White Sox needed left-handed pitching, and they got it on day one.

Round 2, Pick 47: Jared Kelley (RHP) Refugio High School (TX)

Photo: Charlie Blalock – Victoria Advocate Sports

When the White Sox called Jared Kelley’s name on day two, I couldn’t believe it. It’s like the baseball equivalent of an NFL team trading back into the first round to snag another big-time piece to their puzzle.

We had Kelley going as early as the sixteenth overall selection to the Cubs, and very few people had him slipping out of the first round, period.

A college heavy draft pushed him down the board, and the White Sox worked out a pre-draft deal — that will likely cost them nearly twice their allotted slot for Round 2 — according to James Fox of FutureSox.

Kelley brings an upper 90s heater to the table, and couples it with a changeup and a slider/slurve offering, one which his high school coach said he put a ton of work into this past winter.

Kelley’s high school coach Jarod Kay said that Kelley is a complete package, on and off the field, and he has no history of injury. You can read my full interview with the Refugio head coach, here.

Round 3, Pick 83: Adisyn Coffey (INF/RHP) Wabash Valley C.C. (IL)

Photo: Area Code Games

When Coffey’s name was called by Matt Vasgersian last Thursday, I was as confused as everyone else, including the in-studio team at MLB Network.

The general consensus is that Coffey was taken in the hopes that they can score a major under-slot deal and send some money to Jared Kelley’s way. But after speaking with Wabash Valley head coach Rob Fournier this past weekend, it might just be a case of a player that the White Sox have scouted in great detail and fell in love with. It could be both. Two birds with one stone, right?

Adisyn Coffey was anything but under the radar back in 2017 when he was wrapping up his high school career at Delta High School in Muncie, Indiana. Coffey was the No. 6 prospect in the state of Indiana, ranked in the top 350 prospects nationally by Perfect Game, and secured a scholarship to Arizona State in a year when the Sun Devils netted the fourth-best recruiting class in the nation according to Baseball America.

He’s bounced from Arizona State to San Jacinto J.C. (TX), and finally to Wabash Valley C.C. in Mount Carmel, Illinois. Coach Fournier believes that Coffey is a case of an ultra-talented player who battled some maturity issues early in his collegiate career.

It’ll be interesting to see if he can put it together in the White Sox system.

Round 4, Pick 112: Kade Mechals (RHP) Grand Canyon University

2020 MLB Draft: White Sox select Kade Mechals in the fourth-round ...
Photo: GCU Athletics

Unlike the top-three picks in the draft class, I wasn’t able to get a hold of anyone to learn some more about Mechals, so I only have what I can find in a limited amount of scouting profiles for him.

He’s an undersized 5-11, 185-pound right-hander who’s coming off of Tommy John surgery last month.

Mechals’ overall college track record isn’t bad, and he tossed five innings and allowed three hits, three walks, and struck out eight to lead Grand Canyon to an impressive win over No. 16 Oklahoma before COVID-19 wiped out the rest of the NCAA season.

Time will tell, an undersized college right-hander with a sub-par fastball (88-92 MPH) before Tommy John surgery doesn’t scream great value for me.

Round 5, Pick 142: Bailey Horn (LHP) Auburn

Bailey Horn - Baseball - Auburn University Athletics
Photo: Auburn Athletics

Like with Mechals, I wasn’t able to get a hold of anyone to learn some more about Mechals, so I only have what I can find in scouting profiles for White Sox fifth-rounder, Bailey Horn.

Horn pitched in the SEC, college baseball’s best conference, and has a mid-90s fastball with a slider, curveball, and a changeup.

Here’s how he ranked among major scouting publications:

FanGraphs: 172
MLB Pipeline: Unranked
ESPN: Unranked
Baseball America: 314

Horn was used primarily out of the bullpen at Auburn in 2019, making 18 appearances and posting a 5.97 ERA 31-20 K-BB ratio. Horn’s 2020 campaign started out nicely though, and he went 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA, 27 strikeouts, and just five walks before the pandemic wiped out what looked like a potential breakout campaign.


Final Grade: A

Say what you will about the White Sox conceivably “punting” with their final three picks after stealing Jared Kelley in Round 2, Mike Shirley and company snagged two top-20 arms in this year’s draft, and for that, they’re getting a shiny ‘A’ in my grade book.

Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said it best during our conversation earlier this week, “scared money doesn’t make money,” Vitello said. “One thing that I’ve credited Mike Shirley a lot for in his first year, is that he wasn’t afraid to put all his chips into the middle of the table.”

Shirley went all-in on two super-talented arms, and while only time will tell if he cashes in on his bet, I’m fairly confident that he’s feeling pretty damn good about it.

Patrick Flowers

Founder, Editor-in-Chief of The Dugout. Previous work can be found all over and has been featured on Bleacher Report, Fox Sports, and SI. Dad, husband, son, and brother among other things.

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