For the first time in a few years, the White Sox have selected a player in the Rule-5 draft. To be eligible for the draft, you have to be added to your team’s 40-man roster within 4-5 years, depending on when you sign with the team. If you are not added, then you are eligible to be selected in the Rule-5 draft by any other team.
When you select a player in this draft, you must have a spot open on your 40-man roster and he must play the full season in the major leagues, otherwise he must be offered back to the club from which he was drafted for 50,000.
The White Sox last notable pick out of this draft was Dylan Covey back in 2016, but that did not work out too well for the Sox. Covey however has found some recent success, so there is always a shot that these picks can work out. Picks from this draft are usually low-risk, high-reward, as if they end up being a great player, you basically got them for free.
However, this year, the White Sox have picked a very talented left handed pitcher, one that could signal Chris Getz is more than just a competent GM.
The White Sox selected Shane Drohan from the Boston Red Sox’s farm system. Drohan is a left handed starting pitcher and he immediately slotted in on the White Sox Top-30 prospects list, as he currently sits at number 19 on the Sox top 30, right behind high-upside reliever, Jordan Leasure.
Drohan was selected in the 5th round of the 2020 draft out of Florida State, where he mostly started, pitching to a 4.76 ERA. That does not tell the whole story, as he had a very good .234 batting average against and 99 strikeouts in just 73 innings.
Once he was drafted, he would mainly remain a starter and really exceeded his draft stock. In 2021, his first minor league season, he pitched for the Red Sox low-A affiliate and had a 3.96 ERA over 23 starts. He would be named a MILB.com organizational all-star for the Red Sox.
In 2022, he would be promoted to high-A and AA, where he would make 25 starts throwing 129 innings. This would be a fantastic year for Drohan, as he would post a 3.89 ERA with a 1.26 WHIP and a .227 batting average against. He would strikeout 157 batters in that same time frame, putting up an elite K/9 ratio. This impressive season would lead him to be named to the MILB.com organizational all-star team for the Red Sox once again.
In 2023, Drohan started off about as well as anyone could in AA. Over six starts, he went 5-0 with a fantastic 1.32 ERA. Over 34 innings, he held batters to a .181 batting average and had a fantastic .82 WHIP. This would earn him a promotion to AAA and a spot as one of the Red Sox representatives in the Futures Game, which features some of baseball’s best prospects.
Unfortunately, after his promotion to AAA, things seemed to fall apart. In 19 starts, he put up a 6.47 ERA across 89 innings. He still struck out 93 batters in that stretch, but he lost his control and walked 63 batters. This is likely one of the reasons he was not protected by the Red Sox for the Rule-5 draft.
Regardless of his ending to 2023, he has been a consistently good pitcher in the minors. He has a low-mid 90s fastball with a fantastic change-up. He also features a solid slider and curveball. He is definitely worth giving a shot in 2023. He has a solid chance to be a good pitcher in the pros, and working with this new staff could unlock something with him.
With the way the team is currently constructed, he could either take a long relief role or be pushed into a bullpen role. If he turns out to be a good one-inning guy, this could be a fantastic pick. But, he should get a chance to win a spot in the rotation in Spring Training, as if he can start, he would be much more valuable.
This is a great pick for the White Sox and it could work out well for them in 2023. If he doesn’t pan out, the White Sox won’t lose anything.