Jim Margalus on the White Sox’ inability to succeed with 1st round picks:
No. 4: As I’ve mentioned before, since the Sox drafted Ruffcorn, the White Sox haven’t connected in the first round. Prior to the Ruffcorn selection, the Sox drafted Jack McDowell, Robin Ventura, Frank Thomas and Alex Fernandez, who gave the Sox 149.2 bWAR over their South Side careers.
Starting with Ruffcorn, the last 21 first picks have contributed a grand combined total of 4.3 bWAR to the Sox. That’s what you call regression to the mean, and now it’s all on Chris Sale’s bony shoulders.
The article is mostly about the minor league rise, and then major league fall of 1991 Chicago White Sox first round pick Scott Ruffcorn. Worthy reading material in it’s own right for anyone who was a Sox fan in the ’90s.
The stat about the failures of White Sox first round picks over the last 20 years is alarming. Granted, it’s much harder to land an impact player in the baseball draft than the NBA or even NFL draft, but you would expect a bit more success from a big market team over that long of a timespan.