White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn was kind enough to host a conference call for several White Sox blogs, including FutureSox. Here are some of the highlights from the call.
On the upcoming International Amateur Signing Period (July 2nd):
Hahn said that they would "certainly" consider going past the signing limitations and incurring the tax for a special talent. He acknowledged the White Sox have never done this previously, but revealed that it is something they have discussed internally.
On Tim Anderson and his extension:
Hahn pointed out that a consideration for Anderson's extension, along with Eaton, Quintana, and Sale's deal, was the impact on the players work ethic, approach, and performance. He said that every coach, every player development person, every teammate that he spoke with all unanimously agreed that a contract wouldn't change how Tim Anderson "goes about his business one iota." Hahn said that was an important factor because Tim is still young and still developing and the club is confident it won't change how he works on his on-the-field improvements.
On Chris Getz and the player development organizational strategy:
Hahn said that with Chris Getz being from outside the organization in Kansas City, he brings a "fresh perspective and energy." But they also liked how he came through the White Sox system as a player and he has a connection to the organization and coaches. Hahn said that a key shift they made in player development was graduating Nick Capra and Curt Hasler from minor league positions to the big league club. "The thought there was we wanted to make sure everyone on our big league coaching staff, Ricky (Renteria) included, has these deep roots in player development. We know we will have a young team in the coming years and we want to have teachers at the big league level." Hahn went on to say that he wants the same message of player development to be echoed from rookie ball all the way to Chicago.
On Luis Basabe, Dane Dunning, and Victor Diaz:
"I think a year from now, Basabe will start showing up on top 100 lists and have a higher profile. He is very intriguing prospect, switch-hitting center fielder who can run and has some pop, a little bit of plate discipline, can play strong defense." Hahn went to say that he expects Basabe to start the year manning center field at Winston-Salem.
"Dunning is a kid who we had talked about in the draft room taking him with our 2nd first round pick (26th overall) last year. Dunning was a very appealing guy with the arm strength, the sink, and the secondary pitches. We view him as having the arsenal and the all the ingredients to be a solid starter." Hahn said that Dunning will be a starter for Kannapolis but could conceivable move quickly given his polish.
"Diaz is a guy that our scouts followed during the regular season but also in instructional league as well. He was dominant in the second half and raised his profile in part based on the results but he has the ability to throw in the high 90's and hit 100, and also two secondary pitches. Those secondary pitches had us debating if he has the potential to start, but in the end he is more likely to be on the path of a power back-end reliever and that's how we are going to use him to start the year."
On under the radar "fringe prospects" who have impressed in camp:
Hahn mentioned two left-handers, Jace Fry and Aaron Bummer, who are both coming off of injuries but have impressed. "We are really thrilled with the fact that they are healthy, and they've regained their former form." Hahn also brought up Nick Delmonico and Danny Hayes as guys who have had good camps. He called Delmonico a "tremendous clubhouse leader with a beautiful lefty swing."
On Zack Collins and Michael Kopech and their development plans:
Hahn made it clear that Zack Collins is going to start the year in Class A+ Winston-Salem, and ideally would finish the year with Birmingham. He was hesitant to assign Kopech to Winston-Salem, saying he has made an "awfully good case" to start the year in Birmingham based on his composure and how he has preformed in camp. Though he admitted there is still a chance he could be in Winston-Salem with Collins. "A quality pitch in Winston is a quality pitch in Birmingham is a quality pitch in Chicago." Hahn went on to say that they've both shown flashes of being more advanced than originally anticipated, Kopech with his secondary pitches and Collins with his defense. Hahn said that the rough plan is for them both to finish the year in Birmingham, but said that "player development isn't linear," and if they push the issue they would respond or if they struggle, that is OK too.
On Alex Call and Jameson Fisher:
"We've talked with Buddy (Bell) and (Chris) Getz about starting Call in Winston, because he has shown he is able to handle the advanced placement there. With Fisher, its always a matter of him staying healthy. We don't want to accelerate anything on him beyond what he can physically handle." Hahn went on to praise Nick Hostetler for his work in selecting both Fisher and Call, who they consider as polished bats.
Thanks to Rick Hahn for taking the time and special thanks to Joe Roti (Media Relations Coordinator) for setting the call up.
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