The White Sox First Round Pick: Jared Mitchell

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By Paul M. Banks

The Chicago White Sox selected outfielder Jared Mitchell of Louisiana State University with their first-round pick (23rd overall) in yesterday’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. (Did anyone watch it? It was actually televised on MLB Network, but I only caught a glimpse of it. JUST GENIUS MARKETING on their part scheduling the broadcast to compete with a NBA Finals game, Stanley Cup Final, a full schedule of games)

Mitchell, a 20-year-old junior, is hitting .325 (66-203) with 12 doubles, four triples, nine home runs, 43 RBI and 35 stolen bases with the Tigers in 2009.  He also leads LSU with 52 walks and a .471 on-base percentage.

“One of the things that we were trying to accomplish in this draft was to find a high-ceiling, athletic-type of player,” said Doug Laumann, White Sox director of amateur scouting.  “We certainly weren’t going to sacrifice the ability of some guy just to get that, but as it turned out, he was the one guy we felt like was the best player on the board and at the same time fit exactly what it was we were looking for.”

I’m glad this baseball draft didn’t feature the cliché “has a tremendous upside” in any of the soundbites.

The 6-foot, 200-pounder was ranked by Baseball America as the Best Athlete and Fastest Runner among draft-eligible college players.  Mitchell also combined for 24 receptions and 274 yards as a wide receiver for the Tigers football team from 2006-08, including their National Championship season in 2007. So you can start making purple and gold White Sox jersey t-shirts with “Geaux Tigers” on the back, if he develops into a star. And mardi gras beads, we’ll need those at the Cell as well.

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“I am ridiculously excited to join the Chicago White Sox,” said Mitchell, whose Tigers will face the University of Virginia on Saturday in a first-round match-up at the College World Series.  “It is an unbelievable thing to work so hard and to get here and be picked by a great organization.” (Do you watch the College World Series? I know it’s ratings are increasing these past few years…probably because Erin Andrews covers it now. If EA is there again, I’m there)

The Sox have taken a player from the collegiate ranks in the first round in each of the last seven drafts. Mitchell joins infielder (and anointed savior of humanity) Gordon Beckham (2008, eighth overall) and pitchers Aaron Poreda (2007, 25th), Kyle McCulloch (2006, 30th) and Lance “Jazz Hands” Broadway (2005, 15th) as the Sox last five first-round picks.

The Sox have a ton of first round picks taking the field for them each day now. The make-up of the roster is now starting to resemble the early 90s White Sox who had four consecutive 1st round picks (Jack McDowell 1987, Robin Ventura 1988, Alex Fernandez 1989, and Frank Thomas 1990) as their stellar nucleus. Well, not entirely, those guys were actually good and formed a stellar nucleus. The jury is still out on the current group. But the potential’s there.

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CHICAGO – The following is a recap of the Chicago White Sox first 32 selections in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft:

Round    Name                                  Pos.     Age         Ht.        Wt.        School (Hometown)

1        Jared Mitchell                       OF        20         6-0        205        Louisiana State University (New Iberia, La.)

1A        Josh Phegley                          C        21       5-10        210        Indiana University (Terre Haute, Ind.)

2A        Trayce Thompson               OF        18         6-3        195        Santa Margarita High School (Ladera Ranch, Calif.)

2        David Holmberg                 LHP        17         6-4        220        Port Charlotte High School (Port Charlotte, Fla.)

3        Bryan Morgado                  LHP        20         6-3        206        University of Tennessee (Miami, Fla.)

4        Matthew Heidenreich        RHP        18         6-5        190        Temescal Canyon High School (Lake Elsinore, Calif.)

5        Kyle Bellamy                       RHP        21         6-5        220        University of Miami (Davie, Fla.)

6        Justin Collop                     RHP        21         6-2        185        University of Toledo (Wayne, Mich.)

7        Justin Jones                       LHP        18         6-3        170        Oakdale Senior High School (Oakdale, Calif.)

8        Ryan Buch                          RHP        21         6-3        195        Monmouth University (Yardley, Pa.)

9        Matthew Hopps                  RHP        23         6-5        235        Cal State Dominguez Hills (Torrance, Calif.)

10        Nicholas Ciolli                     OF        21         6-2        195        Indiana State University (Terra Haute, Ind.)

11        Jimmy Ballinger                 RHP        21         6-1        190        University of Southern Mississippi (Moss Point, Miss.)

12        Kyle Colligan                        OF        22         6-1        205        Texas A&M University (Stafford, Texas)

13        Cameron Bayne                 RHP        21         6-2        180        Concordia University (Honolulu, Hawaii)

14        Daniel Black                          1B        21         6-4        230        Purdue University (Carmel, Calif.)

15        Dane Williams                    RHP        18         6-6        210        Archbishop McCarthy High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

16        Daniel Wagner                      2B        20         6-0        185        Belmont University (Kannapolis, N.C.)

17        Brian Goodwin                     OF        18         6-0        185        Rocky Mount High School (Rocky Mount, N.C.)

18        Phil Negus                          RHP        21         6-2        205        Wake Forest University (Milford, Mass.)

19        Brady Shoemaker                OF        22         6-0        200        Indiana State University (Brazil, Ind.)

20        Nathan Reed                       LHP        21         6-3        180        University of Pittsburgh (Temple, Pa.)

21        Jared McDonald                  INF        19         6-1        180        Arizona State University (Tucson, Ariz.)

22        Zachary Kayne                      SS        22       5-10        185        Davidson College (Roswell, Ga.)

23        Goldy Simmons                 RHP        20         6-6        220        San Diego State University (Spring Valley, Calif.)

24        Jeffrey Tezek                         2B        23       5-10        180        University of Nebraska (Poway, Calif.)

25        Mike Strong                        LHP        20         6-0        185        Iowa Western Community College (Afton, Minn.)

26        Matthew Harughty                 2B        22         6-0        180        University of Oklahoma (Conroe, Texas)

27        Kyle Davis                              2B        22       5-11        175        University of Delaware (Ewing, N.J.)

28        Robert Cummings                 3B        21         6-2        195        University of California-Santa Barbara (Oak Lawn, Ill.)

29        Trey Delk                            RHP        23       5-11        190        Clemson University (Elgin, S.C)

30        Robert Vaughn                        C        21       5-10        190        Kansas State University (Humble, Texas)

A – Compensation for Orlando Cabrera (Oakland)

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