5/29/2014 1:44 P.M. ET
White Sox have benefited from casting wide Draft net
Hall of Famers represented in round-by-round look at significant selections
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
A great deal of interest exists around the player who will be taken by the White Sox with the third pick overall in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.
Will it be a slightly more unproven but highly skilled high school talent such as Brady Aiken or Tyler Kolek, or a collegiate hurler such as Carlos Rodon, who possibly could help the White Sox in '15? This individual figures to be the impact selection of the Draft but certainly won't be the only move of future assistance for the White Sox.
In fact, significant help can arrive throughout the entire Draft. MLB.com backs up that point by taking a look at the top players in White Sox history from each of the first 15 rounds, with a few special bonuses after the 15th. Some of these players never actually played for the White Sox.
The 2014 Draft will take place on June 5-7, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 5, at 5 p.m. CT. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 6 p.m., with the top 74 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of the second and third days will begin with a live Draft show at 11:30 a.m. CT on June 6.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Round 1: Frank Thomas, 1989
Chris Sale, taken 13th overall in 2010, might someday make this more of a question. And, of course, players such as current manager Robin Ventura (1988), Harold Baines (1977), Jack McDowell (1987), Alex Fernandez (1990) and Aaron Rowand (1998) have made significant contributions for the White Sox and around Major League Baseball. But it's almost impossible to argue with the choice of the White Sox newest Hall of Famer.
Thomas was selected seventh overall in 1989 and became the greatest hitter in franchise history. His 73.7 bWAR is higher than any other White Sox first-round selection, and Thomas leads the team in no less than nine individual career offensive categories. So, the Big Hurt, who celebrated his 46th birthday on May 27, is No. 1 at No. 1.
Round 2: Terry Forster, 1970
The burly left-handed reliever, fellow closer Bob Wickman (1990) and right-handed starter Jeff Weaver (1997) emerge as the top performers. Only Forster did any of his actual big league work for the White Sox, and his 20.7 bWAR leads the pack. Other notable second-round selections were A.J. Hinch (1992) and Jeremy Reed (2002), who hit a robust .373 in '03 as part of the White Sox Minor League system but never found quite the equivalent Major League success.
Round 3: Britt Burns, 1978
Currently a pitching coach for Double-A Birmingham, the southpaw is best remembered for his 150-pitch, tough-luck loss to Baltimore in Game 4 of the 1983 American League Championship Series. Burns also won 70 games, with his bWAR of 18.1 barely edging out Pete Vuckovich (1974) at 16.5. Vuckovich had more career victories and won the AL Cy Young Award in 1982. J.J. Putz (1995) also was in consideration, while Ken Williams (1982) is known much more as the architect of the 2005 World Series champions than his on-field performance (-0.1 bWAR).
Round 4: Bobby Thigpen, 1985
The White Sox bullpen coach and James Baldwin (1990) become the two standouts from this round. While Baldwin's WAR is higher (9.2-8.0), Thigpen had the greater overall impact. Thigpen finished with a franchise-record 201 saves, including what once was the single-season Major League mark with 57 in 1990.
Round 5: Joe Crede, 1996
Ray Durham's bWAR of 33.7 is more than two times greater than Crede's 14.7. But the greatest moment in franchise history in '05 doesn't take place without Crede's clutch overall playoff performance. Crede also accomplished what he did, with 140 homers, a .748 OPS and Gold Glove-caliber defense at third, while playing through debilitating back pain.
Round 6: Marcus Semien, 2011
Yes, the 23-year-old utility infielder holds the second highest career bWAR among the White Sox selections in the sixth. His 1.0 trails only that of recently retired second baseman Chris Getz (1.8). Left-handed reliever David Sanders (1999) earned a World Series ring with two appearances in '05.
Round 7: Willie McGee, 1976
McGee never signed with the White Sox. Neither did Warren Cromartie (1971). Both players found their fame and fortune in other locales: the Cardinals for McGee and the Expos for Cromartie.
Round 8: Clayton Richard, 2005
The southpaw and former quarterback for the University of Michigan has a 46-47 career record and 4.33 ERA. He tops all other possibilities from this round.
Round 9: Rich 'Goose' Gossage, 1970
Gossage is a Hall of Famer. Gossage picked up 310 career saves. Gossage threw 15 complete games as a White Sox starter in '76. There's really no other choice, although remember the name of second baseman Micah Johnson (2012), who is quickly rising through the White Sox system.
Round 10: Jimmy Key, 1979
The crafty lefty stands as another example of a player drafted by the White Sox originally but one who didn't sign. Key finished with 186 victories, not to mention three wins in the World Series for the Blue Jays and Yankees.
Round 11: Doug Drabek, 1983
Drabek didn't originally make it to the Majors with the White Sox, but he did pitch one year with them during the 1997 season. Right-handed reliever Al Levine (1991) was the next closest success story in this round, posting a 6.1 bWAR in comparison to 29.8 for Drabek.
Round 12: Buddy Groom, 1987
Chris Stewart (2001) continues to see Major League action for the Pirates in his eighth Major League season. But Groom, a left-handed specialist who threw 734 2/3 innings over 786 games in a 14-year career, gets the nod. Groom's best season came in 2002 with a 1.60 ERA for Baltimore. Groom never made it to the Majors with the White Sox.
Round 13: Chad Bradford, 1996
Eight players reached the Majors who were drafted in the 13th round by the White Sox, but the sidearm-throwing Bradford found the most success. Bradford pitched 12 years and 561 games in the Majors, along with 24 games in the postseason. He even became a character in the highly successful "Moneyball" movie.
Round 14: Bob Meacham, 1978
Not a huge selection in this particular round. But Meacham's 3.9 career bWAR, .236 average and .621 OPS sit tops among the list.
Round 15: Mike Sirotka, 1993
Nate Robertson (1998) had a decent nine-year run, including seven with the Tigers, although he didn't sign with the White Sox in either year that he was drafted. Chris Carter (2005) holds the ability for tape-measure homers and brought the White Sox Carlos Quentin via trade, which helped bring the White Sox a 2008 AL Central title. But Sirotka had the best career bWAR and 15 wins during a 2000 playoff berth for the White Sox.
Round 18: Mike Cameron, 1991
Cameron had a 46.5 career bWAR, but more importantly, he brought the White Sox Paul Konerko in a trade with the Reds. So Cameron had a hand in producing one of the best players in White Sox history.
Round 30: Eric Gagne, 1994
The White Sox also picked up Hector Santiago during this round in 2006. While Gagne never signed with the White Sox, he still went on to have one of the greatest three-year runs in closer history from 2002-04 with the Dodgers.
Round 38: Mark Buehrle, 1998
In terms of round selected in comparison to overall Major League production, there might be no greater White Sox Draft pick than Buehrle. The left-hander is well on his way to a 14th straight season with at least double-digit victories, 200 innings pitched and 30 starts made in a single season.