CHICAGO – Chicago White Sox director of amateur scouting Doug Laumann went into detail Saturday about the organization’s draft philosophies heading into the first day of the 2012 draft on Monday.
The White Sox possess the No. 13 and No. 48 overall picks on Monday. They didn’t have a first-round selection last season (they gave it up as compensation for signing Adam Dunn).
The White Sox hope to have as much as luck with their No. 13 pick this year as they did when they selected Chris Sale with the same pick in 2010. They also drafted closer Addison Reed in the third round in 2010.
Overall, Laumann didn’t believe this year’s draft class was a very deep one.
“Probably as thin as I’ve seen in a decade,” said Laumann, who has been with the White Sox since 1990. “A lot of different factors I think play into it. Personally, I think one of the biggest ones is as of 2-3 years ago, I don’t know if people were anticipating the CBA changing a little bit with the amount of money people are allowed to spend, but teams started spending a lot more money on high school players a couple years ago.
“I think that’s kind of depleted the college ranks where a lot of the good high school players over the past few years have been signing. We’re seeing it’s pretty thin in the college ranks.”
Laumann said the White Sox could select a high school player in the first round. They haven’t done that since picking pitcher Kris Honel out of Providence in New Lenox, Ill. in 2001.
ESPN baseball draft analyst Keith Law has the White Sox taking Oklahoma State left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney in his latest mock draft, but he also has heard they’re interested in high school left-handed pitcher Matt Smoral, who is from Ohio and is signed with North Carolina.
“We probably got 20 names on that list for 13 right now,” Laumann said. “There are probably 8-10 of them we know will be gone. Then we have a list of about 10 we’re kind of put in order -- would we take them if they got there, wouldn’t we take them.
“Then we have those philosophical discussions. ‘Okay, we have a college right-handed pitcher who could probably help you pretty quickly or we got a high school left-hander who could take 3-4 years, but if he gets here this guy could be dominant. Those are the type of things we discuss.”
Laumann said White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Ken Williams would meet with the scouts Saturday to discuss their first-round approach.
The White Sox have often targeted impact players.
“It’s Kenny’s philosophy you win championships with type-1 players, impact type of players,” Laumann said. “We have good discussions, healthy discussions whether or not, ‘OK, this guy can get there, he can get there quickly. He’s not going to be a great player, but there’s a high percentage he’s going to get there versus another guy it may take him a while, but ultimately he could be that impact player.’ We’ve always opted for that impact type of player.”
The fact that White Sox are also in the first place in the American League Central rather than tanking this season is another factor Laumann said that comes into play.
“Quite frankly, I won’t run from it or hide from it, we weren’t sure where we were going to be at this point,” Laumann said. “Through the offseason and all the naysayers, some people had us losing 100 games, ‘Are we in a rebuilding mode or are we in a mode going to do this or that?’
“As we sit here today, we’re in first place and we got a six-game lead on the team (Detroit Tigers) that was going to run away and hide. ‘Does that change our philosophy a lit little bit?’ Those kind of discussions we have. Had we been 15-30 (overall) and not where we are right now, the mode might have been, ‘Hey, let’s start building a little bit. Let’s start taking some guys who are little bit further away versus right now maybe there’s somebody out there who can contribute fairly quickly.’”