The last time the White Sox selected a high schooler in the 1st round of the draft, it was RHP Kris Honel. Honel had injury problems, and never made it to AAA. That was 2001.
Monday night the drought was broken, as the White Sox selected OF Courtney Hawkins from Carroll High School in Corpus Christi, Texas with the #13 overall pick.
Since the organizational preference is for college arms, and the predictions for the Sox were college arms, it would stand to reason that Hawkins would have to be a unique case to break their tendencies.
He fits the bill.
If fans were hoping for a repeat of Chris Sale--a top 10 talent slipping to #13--the young outfielder is indeed that, as indicated by scouting director Doug Laumann.
"We had heard his name probably from three or four other clubs ahead of us," Laumann said. "I can probably feel very confident that not a whole lot of people had us on him, being it was a high school position player, a little bit out of the ordinary from what we done in the past.
"But we had him targeted for a long time. We’re very pleased he got to us."
Hawkins (6'3, 220 lbs) is a future corner outfielder with plus-power potential, and showed off some of his athleticism by performing a backflip in wingtips at the draft.
Naturally, it scared the daylights out of everyone at 35th and Shields and he's been ordered to stop before he blows out his achilles, but the enthusiasm is appreciated.
Even for those who get squeamish at the risk of high school talent--and few are more prone to that than the White Sox front office--the value of the pick at #13 is undeniable.
No draft pick is satisfactory without a comparison to a current player to get everyone excited, so its worth mentioning that Kevin Goldstein described his potential as "a more athletic Dayan Viciedo" on 670 AM The Score.
The second pick may be more of a leap of faith.
With the 48th overall selection in the supplemental round, the White Sox took 1st basemen Keon Barnum out of King High School in Tampa.
Any player being taken out of high school as a 1st basemen obviously has an enormous amount of pressure placed on his bat and power production.
Already, 6'4", 225 lbs as an 18 year-old, Barnum certainly has huge amounts of power to tap into, but the amount of development he needs and lack of defensive utility had him listed as a low as a 4th round talent.
Obviously KW & company liked what they saw when they scouted him in person, and Barnum is reportedly already very close to agreeing to a deal. Such an uncharacteristic reach must be inspired by something.
If Sox fans were hoping for a repeat of Chris Sale in terms of an immediate contributor to the major league roster, this is quite the opposite. Fans might as well forget these names and check in on their progress in 2-3 years, but for a system sick for decent hitting prospects, it's a long-awaited shot in the arm.