After two solid picks in the June amateur free agent draft, the Chicago White Sox appear set to go after a pitcher when their pick comes up Monday night at No. 13 in the first round. Right-handed pitchers Deck McGuire of Georgia Tech, Brandon Workman of Texas and Ascher Wojciechowski of Citadel are the three projected picks for the Sox.
McGuire, 6 foot 6 and 220 pounds, ranks seventh overall by Baseball America in their top 200 prospects but may not be available when the White Sox pick. He was 8-3 with a 2.83 ERA with 105 strikeouts in 99 innings. Scouts have been impressed with his command: He has walked less than three batters per start. One amateur scout told ESPN Chicago that his stuff was the most consistent of the top echelon pitchers in the draft.
Workman, 21, was 11-1 with a 3.67 ERA for the Longhorns, averaging a strikeout an inning with very good control. He has been projected by Baseball America right around where the White Sox pick. Workman is also a big kid at 6-5 and 220 pounds.
Wojciechowski, who stands 6-4, has a big-time fastball. He had 128 strikeouts in 103 innings with just 29 walks. His four-seam fastball is rated near the top of all college pitchers in the draft.
The White Sox chose five-tool outfielder Jared Mitchell as their No. 1 pick in 2009 out of LSU. Mitchell's unfortunate leg fracture in spring training cost him the 2010 season. He should be ready to compete in the Arizona Fall League in October.
The White Sox's 2008 pick, Gordon Beckham, the Sporting News Rookie of the Year in 2009, is struggling to find his stroke as a converted second baseman in the major leagues.
Doug Laumann, the White Sox's scouting director, speaking on ESPN 1000's "Talking Baseball" on Saturday, said the team will draft for their need but wouldn't divulge what direction they are going. This spring Major League Baseball sent out a directive to all the scouting directors telling them they shouldn't talk about or tout any of the players they are looking at before the draft.
Pitching is an obvious need for the White Sox, who have traded away in the last couple of years some really good young pitching. In the Jake Peavy deal last July, they traded away left-hander Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda and Adam Russell, who have all pitched in the majors for the San Diego Padres.
The White Sox traded and then obtained pitcher Gio Gonzalez twice, and he now is establishing himself as a rising star with the Oakland Athletics. The Sox have some good young pitchers, but after Daniel Hudson, there is no one they can project for a quick ascention to the majors at this point.
The projected pick here is Wojciechowski.
Seventeen-year-old catcher Bryce Harper out of Southern Nevada College will be the No. 1 pick by the Washington Nationals. Most draft experts expect Harper to eventually play the outfield or first base. He is a left-handed hitter who throws right-handed and is projected as a big-time power hitter. Harper had 44 extra-base hits in less than 200 at-bats. Three scouting directors told ESPN Chicago that Harper's offensive skills surpass those of Joe Mauer at the same age when Mauer was picked No. 1 by the Minnesota Twins in the 2001 draft.