The White Sox have agreed to a deal with second-round draft pick Jared Kelley, according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. Kelley, an 18-year-old right-hander from Refugio High School in Texas, will receive a $3MM signing bonus, which comes in well above the $1.58MM slot value for the 47th overall pick.
Despite being chosen in the second round, Kelley by all accounts boasts the talent to warrant a first-round selection, with MLB Pipeline touting Kelley as the 12th-ranked prospect in this year’s draft class. That, along with a commitment to the University of Texas, means that Kelley commands a considerable signing bonus.
Kelley’s a big right-hander with a fastball to match, running the pitch up to 98 with an effortless delivery. The changeup is a surprisingly polished pitch for a high-schooler, and it’s easily his second-best offering. All that said, the biggest question in the way of Kelley’s path to becoming a top-flight Major League starter will be the development of his breaking ball, which is at best an average offering. Even if Kelley fails to develop and quality third pitch, the fastball-changeup combination will be enough to carry him to a high-leverage bullpen role. And while there’s value in that, such an outcome would still be considered a disappointment given Kelley’s high potential.