White Sox fans more or less know every single prospect, potential draftee and international free agent like the back of their hand at this point. It’s a new feeling to us; we’re usually zeroing in on a middle of the road 1st round pick that may or may not pan out into a solid Major League contributor, though over time we have become conditioned to expect the latter or a shitty free agent signing of a dude who’s like 35 and filing for AARP.
Shit’s changed under my good friend Rick (Hahn) and Co.’s tutelage. That’s a fact I don’t have to explain. What will be tough to do is talk White Sox fans into expecting success out of a raw and toolsy player that may very well be the Sox first pick in the 2017 draft. I know this will be hard to do; the names Jared Mitchell, Keon Barnum, Keenyn Walker, Joe Borchard, and Courtney Hawkins haunt our goddamn dreams. But fuck all of that. What’s in the past is in the past. This is a new regime that scouts with new philosophies and we shouldn’t expect failure out of the Sox 1st round picks.
All of this takes me to the 2017 draft. Until earlier this week, there wasn’t a player I was enamored with. In 2014 it was Carlos Rodon. 2015 it was Benintendi, though he didn’t slip to the Sox and I am under good authority that they would have drafted him had he fell to them. I did love the Carson Fulmer pick at the time, however, and still think he can be an effective pitcher in The Show. In 2016 I was HELL BENT on the Sox drafting Zack Collins of The U, but didn’t think they’d go that route. I was flat out giddy when his name was called. This year though… I didn’t love any single player. Kendall, as I mentioned before, offers the best combo of floor/ceiling/position player/athleticism that is likely available at 11, but there are a lot of flaws in his swing that I just can’t get past. Yes, he can fix them and turn into an Adam Eaton caliber player, but I feel the odds are against that happening.
In steps some WSD #ScoopCity
North Davidson High School (NC) OF Austin Beck is visiting Chicago to work out for the #WhiteSox. Could be in play at pick #11.
— Brian Bilek (@BrianBilek_) June 7, 2017
After scoop master Brian Bilek tweeted this, I reached out to a few people in the know. Beck did indeed work out for the Sox yesterday, and not only that… he put on an absolute SHOW. Though embellished, one person told me “he’s the best player I’ve ever seen”. Another said he hit a ball 3/4 of the way up the stands in LF.
Now, let me preface this by saying I hadn’t watched a single second of tape on Beck until about Tuesday. When I did, I finally found the player I am hell bent on the White Sox selecting if available. Here are his Perfect Game highlights below:
The old adage is “there’s no such thing as a bad highlight reel”; it’s kinda like a resume; you put all of your best highlights/attributes into a 1 page or 3 minute video and they almost always look good. That said… Austin Beck’s highlight reel is sick as fuck. He has exceptional, exceptional bat speed, a barrel that gets through the zone on a level plane that could/should be conducive to plenty of contact and a high finish that can potentially translate to very good loft as well.
This, my friends, this kid is a stud of a baseball player. Not only that, but he plays with a fuck you attitude too, by all accounts.
Should he be available at 11, I truly don’t see the Sox passing on him. There’s a more than solid chance he won’t be, as the A’s, Phillies and Brewers all could very well snag him before the Sox, and guess what? That would blow. If not, Jeran Kendall isn’t a bad fall back option. In my opinion, it’s one or the other… but trust me on this, we want the Sox to draft Beck. Until then, all we can do is keep our fingers crossed.