White Sox See Jared Kelley As Big Difference-Maker

By 670 The Score
(670 The Score) The White Sox entered the five-round MLB amateur draft earlier in June feeling confident in their board as they held the No. 11 overall pick. Two of the players whom they coveted were Tennessee left-hander Garrett Crochet and Refugio (Texas) High right-hander Jared Kelley.

The White Sox drafted both of them, with Crochet going at No. 11 overall and Kelley falling to the 45th overall pick in the second round due to signability concerns. On Saturday, the White Sox put any contractual concerns with Kelley in their rearview mirror, officially signing him with a $3-million bonus. 

White Sox director of amateur scouting Mike Shirley understood the concerns about whether the 18-year-old Kelley could be signed, and he's proud of how his organization handled its approach.

"Sometimes it gets a little bit cloudy as you're going down the road with these players and trying to figure out where exactly they fit in the process," Shirley said on the Mully & Haugh Show on Monday morning. "Do I think the price tag was probably perceived to be a little bit high? Yes, I do. The fact that we were able to stay on task, stay committed to how we had him evaluated and strike is something we were truly excited about. I just think he's different. 

"You start to see his intangibles come out -- how he's going to handle this environment, how he's going to proceed forward and make a difference for us."

In a senior season cut short by the coronavirus, Kelley struck out 34 batters in 12 innings. Kelley had a 32-3 record and 0.60 ERA with 440 strikeouts in 199 2/3 innings in his high school career, according to the Victoria Advocate.

In order to have enough money to sign both Crochet and Kelley, the White Sox adjusted their approach in the final three rounds. They took less heralded prospects whom they could sign for less than slot value. 

The White Sox believe they have two top-end pitchers for their organization in Crochet and Kelley. Where their immediate future lies is unclear. Whether either is on the White Sox's 60-man roster for this 2020 season is up to general manager Rick Hahn, Shirley said.

The White Sox just know they're thrilled to have landed Crochet and Kelley and are eager to get working with them.

"It was just a good game plan by the whole team," Shirley said. "That's the thing that's most exciting. We land Garrett and Jared, two leadoffs, two guys that are really main pieces of the puzzle that we're trying to move forward with. We couldn't be more excited about both of them."