Courtney Hawkins

Courtney Hawkins doubles against the Brewers during Spring Training 2015 (Daniel Shapiro / FutureSox)

Courtney Hawkins doubles against the Brewers during Spring Training 2015 (Daniel Shapiro / FutureSox)

Position: OF
Born: 11/12/93
Ht: 6'3" Wt: 220 B-T: R-R
Acquired: Drafted 1st Round in 2012 out of high school (13th overall)
Career Stats

FutureSox Prospect Rankings

  • #1 - 2012 Midseason
  • #1 - 2013 Preseason
  • #4 - 2013 Midseason
  • #6 - 2014 Preseason
  • #3 - 2014 Midseason
  • #7 - 2015 Preseason
  • #9 - 2015 Midseason
  • #9 - 2016 Preseason
  • #23 - 2016 Midseason

FutureSox Media

Accolades

  • FutureSox Hitter of the Month - August/September 2012
  • 2013 White Sox Best Power Hitter (Baseball America)
  • 2013 White Sox Best Athlete (Baseball America)
  • 2013 #55 MLB prospect (Baseball America)
  • 2014 Carolina League All-Star
  • 2014 Carolina League Post-Season All Star

Scouting report
The White Sox made Hawkins their first high school first round pick since Kris Honel in 2001 and first high school position player since Jeff Liefer in 1995. Scouts loved him because he showed big power potential and the size, speed and arm strength to become a prototypical starting right fielder in the Majors. He pitched in high school and reportedly had a low 90s fastball, but that arm strength comes in handy in the outfield. The excitement he created by moving all the way from rookie level Bristol to High-A Winston-Salem in 2012 was mitigated by his disastrous 2013 as the youngest player to open the Carolina League that season. He struck out in 37.6% of his plate appearances with the Dash in 2013, a sharp rise from the 22.4% over three levels in 2012. Hawkins did hit 19 HR, to go with a .178 average. He repeated Winston-Salem in 2014 with better numbers across the board (.249/.331/.450, 19 HR, 27.8% K/PA), but still struck out in more than a quarter of his plate appearances. This earned him a promotion to AA for 2015, a tough assignment for a 21-year old with a raw hit tool. He performed better than some anticipated thanks to continued work on improving his plate approach, but a .710 OPS isn't much to get excited about and his whiff rate crept back up to an alarming 30.3%. Repeating the level in 2016, the numbers actually got worse - substantially lower core numbers and striking out at an almost identical rate.

Courtney still draws some slim prospect hope, as his ceiling of a power-hitting major league corner outfielder with a strong arm is still there, but the odds of reaching it are fading to a sliver. He's made wholesale mechanical changes at the plate as a pro. His power is such that when he guesses right he can hit it a ton, but he needs to improve pitch recognition and pitch-to-pitch adjustment pretty dramatically to be more than the mistake-hitter he is today. He just hasn't adjusted to fix that bugaboo. Defensively, there were reports of improvement, but he also appeared to lose a step in 2016. He landed on the DL with an oblique strain just a few games into 2016, and repeating health issues are starting to have an effect. Thus far, we haven't seen that breakout in AA he needs to move up another rung on the ladder. Usually this is an overstatement, but it's pretty safe to say that 2017 is do or die for Hawkins.

Major League Outlook: Low contact, high power outfielder
ETA: 2018

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