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updated: 6/5/2014 12:40 AM

Sox look to to draft to fill pitching void

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  • In Wednesday night's 2-1 victory over the Dodgers in Los Angeles, starting pitcher John Danks continued to make positive strides, allowing only 1 run on 2 hits in 7⅓ innings. Still, the Sox will likely look to today's MLB draft to fill the pitching void.

      In Wednesday night's 2-1 victory over the Dodgers in Los Angeles, starting pitcher John Danks continued to make positive strides, allowing only 1 run on 2 hits in 7⅓ innings. Still, the Sox will likely look to today's MLB draft to fill the pitching void.
    Associated Press

 

The White Sox' farm system is the best it has been in years, but most of the talent is stacked in the infield.

That should change quickly Thursday, when the MLB Draft runs through the first two rounds.

In a word, the Sox need pitching. Lots of pitching.

Right-hander Tyler Danish, drafted by the Sox on the second round last June, is doing very well in the minors, but he is still 19 and pitching at high Class A Winston-Salem. Danish looks to be the only surefire major-league starter in the White Sox' system, so there is an obvious need for more quality arms.

In Wednesday night's 2-1 victory over the Dodgers in Los Angeles, starting pitcher John Danks continued to make positive strides, allowing only 1 run on 2 hits in 7⅓ innings.

Ronald Belisario pitched a perfect ninth and picked up the save for the second straight night against his former team.

The White Sox relied on Jose Abreu's power in the first two games of the series. Against L.A. starter Josh Beckett on Wednesday, Leury Garcia hit his first career home run in the third inning and Adam Dunn followed with a solo shot (No. 9) in the fourth.

Getting back to the draft, three pitchers -- North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon, high school lefty Brady Aiken and right-hander Tyler Kolek -- are the consensus Top 3 selections.

At least one of them will be available after the Houston Astros pick first and the Miami Marlins second, but I have a feeling the Sox are going to select LSU right-hander Aaron Nola.

Here's why:

• Rodon is very good, but he is a left-hander and the White Sox already have Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Danks in the rotation.

Rodon also is going to be represented by Scott Boras, and you know what that means.

• Aiken has it all for a prep pitcher, but he is another lefty. Do the Sox make a huge investment on an obvious young talent and then wait until 2016 (at the earliest) for his arrival? Not convinced.

• Kolek throws 100 mph-plus with ease and is being compared to Nolan Ryan. If he is there, I think the White Sox probably jump on Kolek.

But like Aiken, Kolek still is a high school pitcher, and the risks might be equal to the eventual reward.

That leaves the right-handed Nola, a strike-throwing machine. In three years with LSU, he has gone 30-6 with a 2.09 ERA while striking out 345 and walking only 52 in 332 innings.

He's not a huge name like Rodon, Aiken or Kolek, but Nola fits the White Sox' profile the best, and you could see him at U.S. Cellular Field next season.

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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