White Sox hold clear Draft philosophy
Intangibles are paramount under direction of Williams
CHICAGO -- Where the White Sox top pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft is concerned, the 25th selection overall, the make-up of said player becomes as important of an intangible as the talent this player possesses.
It's a philosophy that was put forth by general manager Ken Williams throughout much of his seven-year tenure in charge, but was reinforced during last November's organizational meetings. The player needs to exhibit a hard-nosed sort of attitude with the ability to handle the pressure brought about by playing in Chicago.
A pitcher, for example, also must possess a little sink or movement within his repertoire in order to combat the dog days of summer at U.S. Cellular Field, when the ball really carries in one of baseball's more hitter-friendly venues. Straight fastballs, at any velocity, just don't work.
"We've talked about that before, in that we are looking for a power type arm and pitchers who have high ceilings," White Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn said. "They may need some degree of correction or instruction, but given our strength in player development, we would be confident he will fit with our organization."
The 2007 First-Year Player Draft takes place June 7-8 at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla. The first round will be aired on ESPN2 beginning at 2 p.m. ET, and MLB.com will have every pick of the 50-round Draft, start to finish.
Following the White Sox top pick at No. 25, they don't select again until pick No. 90 in the second round. They also have three picks in the top 200 (120, 150 and 180), completing the draft's first day after five rounds.
This particular system has an abundance of outfield prospects, including Brian Anderson, Ryan Sweeney and Jerry Owens, not to mention top pitchers such as Gio Gonzalez, Lance Broadway and Adam Russell, who made their presence known during the past Spring Training. The White Sox are short on depth along the middle infield, with Chris Getz standing as the team's best current bet for Major League development, hitting above .300 at Double-A Birmingham.
But don't look for the White Sox to draft for need early on, not if a greater talent or better fit for the team is available at another position.
"We are looking to take the best available guy," Hahn said. "It's a guy we feel will have the biggest impact at the Major League level, regardless of his position."
Of course, with Williams at the helm, some of these top picks eventually could be packaged as part of trades to bring back a needed veteran piece for a White Sox playoff contender. A team rarely, if ever, drafts a player in the first round with the idea of moving him in the next year.
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
Left-handed reliever Royce Ring (White Sox 2002 top pick) served as the exception, when he was traded to the Mets on July 1, 2003 as part of the Roberto Alomar deal. For the White Sox, it's necessary to have the option.
"The richest systems are not only used to supply players at the Major League level but to give you an asset to use in a trade to augment the Major League team at a given day," Hahn said.
2006: Kyle McCulloch, RHP: The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder out of the University of Texas started his Minor League career with a 1-1 record and 1.61 ERA for Great Falls of the Pioneer League last season and was promoted to Class A Winston-Salem, where he finished 2-5 with a 4.08 ERA in seven starts. McCulloch, projected as a middle-of-the-rotation starter of the future for the White Sox, currently has a 3-4 record with a 3.93 ERA over 10 starts for the Warthogs of the Carolina League.
2005: Lance Broadway, RHP: A new two-seam fastball that gave Broadway all sorts of trouble during Spring Training has been developing nicely for the right-hander at Triple-A Charlotte, giving him a necessary pitch akin to Jon Garland's sinker. Broadway posted an 8-8 record with a 2.74 ERA in 25 starts for Double-A Birmingham in 2006 and has a 2-1 record with a 3.79 ERA in eight starts as part of the 2007 Knights. If the White Sox were in need of a spot-starter this year, Broadway would be one of the pitchers in consideration for promotion.
2004: Josh Fields, 3B: Following a slow start to the 2007 season with Charlotte, Fields has reached base in 23 straight games and raised his average to .283. Fields also has nine home runs, 32 RBIs and six stolen bases. Although an idea to move Fields to the outfield has been temporarily tabled, he is a Major League ready prospect with bona fide big-league power and a solid glove at third base.
Rising Fast: Generously listed at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, Gonzalez is not exactly big in regard to physical stature. But with 74 strikeouts and just 19 walks issued in 52 2/3 innings for Double-A Birmingham this season, the southpaw certainly is large in talent. He commands a fastball in the low to mid-90s and has a devastating curve when he throws it for strikes. Gonzalez, a sandwich pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, was re-acquired from the Phillies in December as part of the Freddy Garcia trade after he was traded the year before as part of the Jim Thome deal. He could be a fixture in the 2008 White Sox rotation.
Cinderella Story: Getz gradually has worked his way up from a fourth-round pick out of the University of Michigan in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft to the organization's top middle infield prospect. The second baseman has a .316 average and nine stolen bases this season for Double-A Birmingham, with just 17 strikeouts in 155 at-bats.
In the Show: Fields (2004 top pick) stands as the only player selected from the last three drafts to reach the Majors for the White Sox. Fields hit .150 over 20 at-bats during a September call-up last season, including a home run in his first Major League at-bat off of Jamie Walker on Sept. 18
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.