White Sox pay up, sign second-round draft pick Kelley
Earlier this month, the White Sox used their top two draft picks on two very different pitchers.
First-rounder Garrett Crochet is a collegiate left-hander. Second-rounder Jared Kelley is a prep right-hander.
The Sox envision both of them making major-league impacts down the road.
"For us to be able to walk out of the draft feeling like we got two of the top arms available was a big success and a nice testament to the work done by (amateur scouting director) Mike (Shirley) and (scouts) Garrett Guest and Nathan Durst and all the crosscheckers and the area guys to put us in the position to be able to convert on both of those opportunities," general manager Rick Hahn said. "Crochet is the college lefty, obviously probably a little closer to helping the Chicago White Sox. But we think Kelley's ceiling is every bit as high and he could be a factor here for a long time once he too is ready."
Crochet signed for $4.5 million on Monday, and the Sox locked up Kelley for $3 million on Saturday.
"This is a moment I've been dreaming about for as long as I can remember and still can't believe it's real," Kelley said in a statement. "None of this would be possible without the love and support from my mom, dad, brother and the many coaches and teammates I've had along the way. I'd like to thank the Chicago White Sox for taking a chance on me and I promise to give you, and White Sox fans everywhere, everything I've got."
Kelley was drafted with the No. 47 overall pick and the slot value in that spot is $1.58 million.
Offering the hard-throwing starter nearly double that amount was more than enough to keep the 18-year-old Kelley from honoring his verbal commitment to play college baseball at Texas.
Armed with a fastball that he can run up to 100 mph, Kelley didn't get to play a full senior season at Refugio (Texas) High School this year.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder was able to pitch 12 innings before the coronavirus pandemic halted play and Kelley didn't allow a hit while striking out 34 of the 36 batters he faced.
"The thing that's most unique is you have a power body that really controls his delivery effectively well, a fastball that plays in the strike zone with plus command at times," Shirley said. "That's been the most important thing for a young arm, how developed the command is and how many strikes he actually throws with his fastball."
As a junior at Refugio H.S., Kelley had a 0.22 ERA and 144 strikeouts over 65 innings. He also pitched for USA 18U in the 2018 Pan American championship, helping the national team win the gold medal.