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White Sox Thu Jun 05 2014
For the White Sox's first round pick at third overall, they should go with the best player available. Done and done.
OK, fine, what's the alternate plan, picking the worst player available? But the point is this: barring some surprises at the top of the draft, the Sox will have a relatively easy choice at their slot. There isn't a super prospect at the top of the draft (like Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper a few years ago), but there seems to be a clear top three. The Sox will get the choice of whoever's remaining between Brady Aiken, Carlos Rodon and Tyler Kolek.
Aiken seems like the best bet to go No. 1, ranked first by MLB.com, Baseball America and ESPN writer Keith Law. He's a heat throwing lefty out of high school. It's unlikely he'd be available, but it is possible the Astros and Marlins pass on him (for several reasons, it's rare for a high schooler to be selected first overall). Upside galore with Aiken, and if he slips to third that would be a steal for the Sox.
Carlos Rodon is a lefty from NC State with a sharp slider. He has some serious durability, which of course is good (he's a gamer!) and bad (arm trouble down the road?). Rodon is represented by Scott Boras, so obtaining him won't be cheap, but Rodon has the most polish of the three and is regarded as the best collegiate pitcher in the draft.
Tyler Kolek is a small step below Aiken and Rodon, but he's a good bet to be a top-three pick, with the potential to be chosen second (judging by the mock drafts, at least). He's a righty out of high school from Texas, and he can hit 100 mph. And that's his changeup. Kidding, it's his fastball. Kolek is known for control and command issues, but maybe that's for the best with such a big fastball. Hitters, look out, protect yourself.
Since the White Sox can use pitching, especially viewing the franchise long term, it would be tough for them to pass on whoever is left of these three. If they do, though, other options include Aaron Nola, a LSU righty pitcher who doesn't have super-elite stuff but who is the most MLB ready and probably the safest pick of all the pitchers. High schoolers Alex Jackson, a catcher, and shortstop Nick Gordon (Flash Gordon's son!) are the top position players. While these guys would all be nice, passing on one of the Big Three would be tough.
After a dismal 2013, the Sox were rewarded with a plum pick in the draft this year. They are guaranteed the option of selecting one of the best three arms in the draft. Since the team could use a high quality pitcher, and since the two teams in front of them are taking the leaps of faith with their picks, the Sox can sit back and take the highest rated guy available. Easy.
If the Astros and Marlins outthink themselves and go with someone other than Aiken, Rodon or Kolek? Then the Sox have a difficult choice to make.