The White Sox 2020 Draft Coup

Rick Hahn had a great 2020 draft!!!

I don’t often throw bouquets Mr. Hahn’s way. I know what you are going to say, yea, yea Beef, sure. No, it’s true, over time, I’ve lobbed my fair share of criticism at ole Rick.  I’d say that I’ve taken a good amount of flack from the affectionately termed “Hahn Bots” on twitter as they create a labyrinth of thought exercises only inside of which you could see Hahn as an unopposed success at his current job.

Anywho, let’s talk about the 2020 draft. No, no, I’m not going to talk about the players, IF you want breakdowns of the beautiful sexual beasts that the White Sox selected with their top 2 picks, check out my guy WhiteSoxDave’s breakdowns for all of the mouth watering pitchaments. This blog is about the specific strategy.

The strategy is that the White Sox chose to use their 2nd round pick on a high risk, high school pitcher, with a large signing bonus demand and huge upside, which required them to effectively punt other picks in their draft and consolidate their remaining resources on this player.


Below is a table that should help illustrate how the MLB Draft works, you have a draft position, where you may select players and a suggested bonus size for that player.  You do not have to give that player that bonus amount, you may give them whatever the parties agree to, but in total, you must not exceed your budget (or you will receive PENALTIES).

The budget is awarded by MLB and based mostly on your finish from the prior season.

Bonus slots

What the White Sox end up doing, will look something like this (the table is just an example, the real numbers will be available in the coming months)…..

Jared Kelley
See how the White Sox will pay less to their 3rd-5th round picks and utilize those funds on Jared Kelley

You can’t just choose to spend the money like this and get two high end arms with big potential, if you could, EVERYONE WOULD DO IT!!! No, you need the opportunity to arise. Well, Beef, now how the fuck do you figure that happened????



You need the other teams to have “their plan” already set and “know” that who they’ll pick is going to be great! Now the teams that are good at drafting, with each pick, they have an implicit arbitrage situation, so this is understandable, but teams (like the White Sox) that really aren’t good at drafting shouldn’t have this Hubris, however, luckily, they mainly all do.



You need the other teams to believe that they know better than to throw $3M at Jared Kelley because, YOU CAN’T PAY HIGH SCHOOL RHP THAT TYPE OF MONEY!!! This one should be easy enough, every draft hound is repeating “the data” over and over and over again, so you know it’s beaten into the brain of the data oriented, deck presentation versed, memorizing all the stories in the Wall Street journal, modern GM type. Kelley is not there if it weren’t for BIG DATA running a little interference for our White Sox.



ALLEGEDLY, once this opportunity arose, based off of the first two categories lining up perfectly, it was going to take basically all-night discussions with agent and player to work out a price and figure out IF they could make this work. IF they could get Jared Kelley (a projected top 12 pick with tons of risk and a college commitment in hand) to forgo 3 fun years at UT to take a bag of money and play on dusty backfields for a bit. I know what you are thinking, DATS WHAT DEY GET PAID FOR BEEF…yea, I agree, but you have to remember a guy like Mike Shirley (and his scouting staff) has been busting his hump for months heading into this, it’s likely brutal to have this kind of shit going the night before day 2 of the draft.


One of the big lessons that we should’ve all learned from the book Moneyball or even the Moneyball era, that is now almost 20 years in our rearview mirror, is that you need to think counter-intuitively and wait for a situation to arise where everyone is zigging, offering you an opportunity to zag.  You need the self-realization that you might not be the best at drafting, then you need the patience to wait for the opportunity.


Remember the movie 40 Year Old Virgin, Steve Carell’s character talks about how difficult it is for a little kid to not open a brand new toy and save it in the box. That’s the kinda re-strain you need to exercise in not picking that super cool sleeper you liked in the 4th round out of Wabansia Community Medical School or whatever….and finally, you need big gigantic balls to romance the player into taking your big bag of $$$$.  Inevitably, to me, it’s the right choice,



You want to draft DWIGHT FUCKING GOODEN, not a low output journeyman (of which the White Sox had been drafting lots of those types lately). Which of these players do you want to “draft” in Round 2?

Player A – 20% Probability of 8 bWAR in 6 years of team control

Player B – 5% Probability of 32 bWAR in 6 years of team control

The dull “data” folks will say, it doesn’t matter, both have a 1.6 bWAR expectancy, but they’d be wrong, because Player A, WHEN IT WORKS OUT, gets called up for a spot start on a lazy Sunday in a forgotten September or pitches the 6th inning in games you are too drunk to recall, whereas Player B starts game 2 of the LCS and you have to debate scalping your ticket or going.


Even if this doesn’t work out and it likely won’t, Rick Hahn did a great job!


Leave a Reply