Were the White Sox surprised Kelley was available? Shirley: "Absolutely"

Brett Ballantini

What may turn out to be a legendary draft for the Chicago White Sox in 2020 was predicated on one turn, a turn that was impossible to have predicted just a couple of days ago.

First-round talent Jared Kelley — ranked as high as No. 7 by ESPN in predraft rankings just this week — tumbled out of the first round and right onto the South Side.

Admitting that the White Sox considered Kelley at No. 11 as their first-round pick, scouting director Mike Shirley described the club's war room's feeling of "shock" as it sunk in that such a prime talent was about to fall to them at No. 47.

South Side Hit Pen's White Sox Insider James Fox is hearing that the agreement with Kelley is for $3 million, almost double his $1.58 million slot at No. 47. But Shirley, who said the White Sox did plan for the possibility that Kelley would fall to them and it was a "late night" on Wednesday securing an agreement with the high schooler's draft advisors, knew he couldn't pass on a top-of-the-rotation talent.

"Two top of the rotation arms in one draft," he beamed on Thursday. "You just don't get opportunities like that."

Shirley, who exuded team pride throughout his discussion of the 2020 White Sox class — clearly even in charge of the draft, he feels kinship with his draft and scout teammates in the trenches with him for so many years, still was a bit shell-shocked that the club pulled this double-ace draft off.

In the war room, the reality of Kelley coming to the White Sox brought a feeling of "shock, to a lot of people in the draft room. We tried to keep it under wraps as long as possible.

"Once all the guys knew, it was like, oh my goodness, we're actually gonna do this. Quite a neat experience for everybody, and an experience everyone has worked really hard for."

(video courtesy of the Chicago White Sox)

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