<img alt="Ryan’s Song: Seen here pitching in the Area Code Games, Rigney is a hard-throwing Texan — is there any other kind?” src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/kAcxNP1fmobDkyuo9KP8FowhrC0=/0x0:400×267/1310×873/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/63847325/Will_Rigney.0.jpg” />
This power-pitching Texan prep could be available anywhere between the third and fifth rounds
When you have the No. 3 overall pick, it’s never too soon to take a quick peek into this year’s MLB draft. This year’s draft class is loaded with excellent hitting prospects, but is relatively weak on the pitching side.
Draft Prospects You Should Know is a new series that features prospects who the White Sox could pursue in this year’s draft. As the June draft nears, we’ll return to many of these athletes and provide updates on whether their stocks are rising (or falling).
Age listed as of Day One of the Draft (June 3).
Midway H.S. (Waco, Texas)
Baseball America 99
At 6´5´´and 205 pounds, Rigney has a projectable build for a starting pitcher but with a little less fanfare than, say, Kendall Williams. A big, physical righthander out of Midway High in Waco, Texas, “Rigney has plenty of arm strength, showcased by a fastball that was mostly in the 90-93 mph range this summer and touched 95 mph,” according to Baseball America. While he could still gain a couple ticks on his relatively straight fastball, Rigney’s slider ranges from 79-84 mph and has looked like a plus pitch at times with sharp, late bite. There were instances, however, when the pitch became loopy and hung over the plate.
Rigney also showed good feel for a low-80s changeup with arm-side movement and fading action that could be developed as a third swing-and-miss pitch — particularly against lefties. Rigney also helps his own cause by keeping baserunners honest with an especially quick pickoff move. He features a full hands-over-head delivery, has good rhythm to his mechanics, and is low-effort until release — all good indicators of long-term arm health.
Rigney has the talent to be a second-round selection. However, because his secondary pitches and command aren’t quite as polished as other prep pitchers in this draft, he likely will be drafted later. Baseball America has Rigney rated as a third-round talent, while FanGraphs ranks as early fifth-round caliber.
While Rigney’s stuff and size are also comparable to Lucas Giolito’s, a more viable White Sox comp for Rigney could be the lesser-heralded Kade McClure. If the White Sox were interested in selecting Rigney, which seems unlikely due to the team’s relatively sketchy recent history with prep selections, they may have to offer a significant over-slot bonus in order to pry him from his verbal commitment to Baylor — after all, Baylor is located in Rigney’s hometown.
Below is a video of Rigney participating in the Under Armour All-America Game in Chicago last year, courtesy of 2080 Baseball:
And here’s a video of Rigney pitching in last year’s Perfect Game National Showcase in Tampa last year, again courtesy of 2080 Baseball:
Previously, on Draft Prospects You Should Know
C.J. Abrams, Blessed Trinity (Ga.) H.S. SS
Hunter Bishop, Arizona State OF
Cameron Cannon, Arizona 2B/3B
Matt Canterino, Rice RHSP
Matt Cronin, Arkansas LHRP
Emmanuel Dean, Servite (Calif.) H.S. OF
Tyler Dyson, Florida RHSP
Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy RHSP
Dominic Fletcher, Arkansas OF
Jonathan French, Parkview (Ga.) H.S. C
Ethan Hearn, Mobile Christian (Ala.) H.S. C
Zack Hess, Louisiana State RHSP
Rece Hinds, IMG Baseball Academy (Fla.) 3B
Jason Hodges, Marist (Ill.) H.S. OF-1B
Will Holland, Auburn SS
Seth Johnson, Oregon RHSP
Jack Leiter, Delbarton (N.J.) H.S. RHSP
Nick Lodolo, TCU, LHSP
Matthew Lugo, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (P.R.) SS/2B
Alek Manoah, West Virginia RHSP
Erik Miller, Stanford LHSP
Chris Newell, Malvern (Pa.) Prep H.S. OF
Kyren Paris, Freedom (Calif.) H.S. SS
Quinn Priester, Cary-Grove (Ill.) H.S. RHSP
Adley Rutschman, Oregon State C
Sammy Siani, Penn Charter (Pa.) H.S. OF
Landon Sims, South Forsyth (Ga.) H.S., RHSP
Josh Smith, Louisiana State SS
Andrew Vaughn, California, 1B
Matt Wallner, Southern Miss OF
Kenyon Yovan, Oregon RHSP
Ryan Zeferjahn, Kansas RHSP