Levine: White Sox’s Focus In Draft Is On Best Available Player

By Bruce Levine–

CHICAGO (CBS) — With the 11th pick in amateur draft come Monday, the White Sox will select … the best available player.

While the White Sox drafted for need in 2016 with the first-round selection of catcher Zack Collins, they’re looking for the best talent this season as they continue an organizational rebuild. The strengths of this draft are considers high school players and specifically pitchers.

“This is really such an important draft for us,” director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler said. “I know where we are going as an organization, what these players mean. I know we say that every year. In our case, I really truly mean it for this draft. We have to continue to build. Once you get that momentum going, you are able to stock the system with players. That was a problem before this. We just did not have enough prospects in our system. We need to stick with that plan for the future.”

The White Sox will have several options with their No. 11 overall pick when the first round is conducted Monday evening. Vanderbilt outfielder Jeren Kendall has five-tool potential and will be on the team’s radar. North Davidson High (North Carolina) outfielder Austin Beck, North Carolina right-hander J.B. Bukauskas and North Carolina shortstop Logan Warmoth are other names to watch.

Hostetler loves the flexibility the draft can provide, even if it’s hard to project what’s going to happen. After the No. 11 pick, the White Sox next select at No. 49 overall.

“We are open in this draft to the best player but also a guy who fits in with what we are trying to do,” Hostetler said. “We do want to eliminate the swing-and-miss guys. We want guys who put the ball in play. We want pitchers who pound the zone. We may sound like a broken record, but we want to stay true to the philosophy. We will take our shots during the draft, for sure. There are certain times when you want to step outside the box. If not, you are going to end up with the same player throughout the system. You don’t want to have that.”

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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