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White Sox Draft Preview
By Jim Callis
Scouting Director: Doug Laumann (first draft: 2001).
2000 Draft (First five rounds, picking 12th)
2001 Draft (First five rounds, picking 27th)
2002 Draft (First five rounds, picking 18th)
(*Did not sign)
In that position the last two years, Chicago has signed first-round pitchers Kris Honel ($1.5 million) and Royce Ring ($1.6 million) for right at or just below market bonuses. They've been conservative in the draft since signing Stanford outfielder/quarterback Joe Borchard for a record $5.3 million in 2000-a bonus that didn't exactly please Major League Baseball's bonus police.
Though Doug Laumann has split his picks in the first 10 rounds evenly between collegians and high schoolers in his two years as White Sox scouting director, the initial returns are better for the prep players. Outfielder Anthony Webster (15th round, 2001), Honel, shortstop Andy Gonzalez, third baseman Micah Schnurstein (seventh, 2002), righthander Brian Miller (20th, 2001) and lefty Daniel Haigwood (16th, 2002) all ranked among the top 20 on Baseball America's offseason White Sox prospects list. Ring was the only college pick from the last two drafts in the group, while junior college lefthander Ryan Wing also made it.
As the prospect list shows, Chicago has been effective in the lower rounds of the draft in large part because it has accurately gauged the signability of players. Webster was an outstanding running back prospect, while Miller (Michigan State) and Haigwood (Arkansas) appeared to have strong college commitments. Schnurstein, an unheralded Nevada product, tore up the Rookie-level Arizona League in his pro debut and drew comparisons to Phil Nevin.
The White Sox have much more pitching than hitting depth in their system, so they could lead off their draft with a position player for only the second time in the last six years. Among the names they've been linked to with the 15th pick are Arizona outfielder Brian Anderson, Ball State outfielder Brad Snyder and Arizona high school shortstop Brandon Wood. All are athletic, much improved this spring and performing well at the plate.
Chicago's most intriguing draft-and-follow is Jefferson (Mo.) JC's Jay Marshall, a projectable 6-foot-4 lefthander with a good changeup who was selected in the 25th round a year ago. The last time the White Sox signed a Jefferson southpaw, they came away with Mark Buehrle. Other draft-and-follow targets include Temple (Texas) JC lefty Boone Logan (20th) and Broward (Fla.) CC righthander Fernando Hernandez (49th). Sox manager Jerry Manuel's son Anthony (48), an infielder at Kishwaukee (Ill.) JC is also eligible to sign as a DFE but isn't a top prospect.