2011 MLB Draft: Chicago White Sox Review
This is a college-oriented class that lacks big names, but has some upside.
1S) Keenyn Walker, OF, Central Arizona JC: With no first-round pick, the White Sox went a super-speedy junior college outfielder with a rapidly improving bat. He has some power potential too, and a good glove in center field. I like him.
2) Erik Johnson, RHP, California: Cal-Berkeley pitcher works at 90-94 and has an impressive slider. Curveball and changeup need work if he wants to remain a starter. Workhorse body.
3) Jeff Soptic, RHP, Johnson County Community College: Clocked as high as 100 MPH, but slider and changeup are inconsistent. Very high upside in his 6-6 frame but needs polish.
4) Kyle McMillen, RHP, Kent State: Another lively arm at 90-94 MPH, nasty slider, has a chance to be a closer.
5) Scott Snodgress, LHP, Stanford: Rather raw for a Stanford pitcher, but works in low-90s, curveball has some bite, but inconsistent.
6) Marcus Semien, SS, California: Teammate of Johnson drafted above, good glove, many scouts don't like his bat and he didn't hit well this spring. Seems an overdraft to me.
7) Kevan Smith, C, Pittsburgh: Loads of power in this bat with solid defense, might not hit for average. Still a good value here.
8) Ian Gardeck, RHP, Angelina JC: Another mid-90s fastball, sometimes higher, good slider, command is erratic and he's rather raw.
9) Matt Lane, LHP, Northwest Florida State CC: Average velocity, breaking stuff is promising, excellent statistics this year. Has sleeper potential.
10) Ben O'Shea, LHP, Santa Fe CC: 89-92 MPH fastball with more possible as he refines mechanics, good changeup, OK curveball.
OTHERS OF NOTE: SS David Herbek (15th round, James Madison) has a good glove and hit 15 homers this year. OF Collin Kuhn (17th round, Arkansas) runs well and has power but has shaky plate discipline. RHP Kevin Vance (19th round, Connecticut) has average velocity but a big-breaking curve and a good track record as a closer for a top program. RHP Dakota Freese (34th round, Iowa HS) has Lincecum-like mechanics and a loose, projectable body.
SUMMARY: Aggressive mining of the junior college ranks this year, and most of these selections have upside even if they weren't big names before draft day. It will take several years to fairly evaluate this class, but I like Walker and Johnson at the top.