The White Sox kicked off their abbreviated 2020 draft with a fireballing left-handed pitcher Wednesday.
They had four more picks to make following their selection of Garrett Crochet - a guy already earning comparisons to Chris Sale - with the No. 11 overall pick, rounding out their class in this draft shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio High School (Texas)
Round 2, Pick No. 47
Well, as if Crochet wasn't enough heat already, the White Sox took another fireballer with their second-round pick. Kelley was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 12 prospect in the entire draft, higher than Crochet. The site described him as Texas' top high school hurler in a decade, saying he "has the look of a frontline starter who could reach the big leagues before he turns 21." MLB Network analyst Dan O'Dowd said after the pick that Kelley "throws in the mid to high 90s like he's playing catch." Baseball America said he has the best fastball of any high school pitcher in the draft.
So why the heck did he fall all the way into the second round? Well, it was mentioned on MLB Network that there could potentially be a "signability issue." Kelley is committed to play for the University of Texas. We'll have to wait and see how that plays out, but there's a report out there that there's already a deal in place.
Source: It should be obvious but the #WhiteSox have a deal with prep right hander Jared Kelley. He'll sign with the club instead of attending Texas this fall.— James Fox (@JamesFox917) June 11, 2020
That would give the White Sox two of the top 18 players in the entire draft.
Kelley chatted with White Sox general manager and scouting director Mike Shirley after he was selected Thursday.
Adisyn Coffey, RHP, Wabash Valley College (Illinois)
Round 3, Pick No. 83
After making that sizable splash with their second-round pick, the White Sox took their third straight pitcher in the third round. Coffey, however, is a guy who wasn't even ranked among the top 500 prospects in the draft by baseball America.
From downstate Wabash Valley College in Mount Carmel, Illinois, Coffey was a shortstop coming out of high school.
"I think the thing that sticks out most is his athleticism," MLB.com's Jim Callis said on MLB Network after Coffey was drafted. "He (throws between) 93 and 96 (miles per hour) on the mound, but coming out of high school, guys looked at him as more of a shortstop. Good action at shortstop, but very athletic on the mound. Very interesting pick here."
What might make it most interesting are the potential financial variables stemming from the White Sox landing the highly rated Kelley with their second-round pick. Baseball America's JJ Cooper posited this after Kelley was selected:
Will be interesting to see if White Sox are turning their draft into a 2-player draft. Going to take work with later picks signing for well under if Kelley's asking price is close to what was rumored.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 11, 2020
Coffey is committed to pitch at the University of Louisville.
Kade Mechals, RHP, Grand Canyon University
Round 4, Pick No. 112
The White Sox made it four consecutive pitchers with Mechals, who like Coffey was not rated by Baseball America, another potential indicator of a financial strategy.
Mechals had Tommy John surgery just last month, but he put up some phenomenal numbers in his two years at Grand Canyon University, with a 2.19 ERA in 107 innings.
Bailey Horn, LHP, Auburn University
Round 5, Pick No. 142
The White Sox went 5-for-5 on pitching in this draft, adding Horn as their final selection. Like the two pitchers the White Sox chose before him, Horn was described as a potential value pick, monetarily, which could help the White Sox pay for Kelley.
After making only five starts for the Tigers in 2019, Horn was off to an excellent start to the 2020 season before it was shut down due to the pandemic. He had a 2.08 ERA in four starts, striking out 27 batters and walking just five in his 17.1 innings of work.
2020 MLB Draft: Tracking White Sox selections on Day 2 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago