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In My Words: With new players, Getz gets it

White Sox director of player development draws on time as young pro
Special to MLB.com

I was drafted in the fourth round and signed by the White Sox in 2005. Fresh off finishing my college career at Michigan, I signed the contract -- there wasn't much negotiating -- and a couple of days later, headed out to Great Falls, Mont., to begin life as a professional baseball player.

I was really excited, but I didn't have any idea of what I was getting myself into. When I arrived, our current first-base coach, Daryl Boston, who was the outfield/baserunning coach at the time, was the first guy I saw. I introduced myself and he asked if I was the bat boy. I tell him that story all the time.

I was drafted in the fourth round and signed by the White Sox in 2005. Fresh off finishing my college career at Michigan, I signed the contract -- there wasn't much negotiating -- and a couple of days later, headed out to Great Falls, Mont., to begin life as a professional baseball player.

I was really excited, but I didn't have any idea of what I was getting myself into. When I arrived, our current first-base coach, Daryl Boston, who was the outfield/baserunning coach at the time, was the first guy I saw. I introduced myself and he asked if I was the bat boy. I tell him that story all the time.

I remember watching batting practice for the first time and guys were launching balls over the fence. I thought, "Wow, this is going to be no easy task."

I think back to that time in my current role as the White Sox director of player development. After the recent Draft, we have a whole new crop of players coming into the system. Naturally, I empathize with what these guys are going through. I realize there is some uneasiness, some natural anxieties. Everyone is coming from a different background. We have guys from large college programs, but we also have high school kids, Puerto Rican kids. Guys who have played a lot of baseball, or maybe not so much.

It's a big transition for these guys. They're quickly forced to grow up. They have responsibilities they probably haven't had before. They're going to be surrounded with players they never played with, staff they just met for the first time. It's a lot to take in.

Last week, we had a minicamp in Glendale, Ariz., for the new guys to help start the process. One of the goals of the camp was to get them as comfortable as quickly as possible so they can just worry about going out and playing baseball.

This summer, we want these guys to just be themselves, play baseball how they've been playing. Let us get to know them as players, as people. Start building relationships with them. Trust is such a huge part of development. Once the player can trust our teaching, we can really start moving these guys forward. Every night they play, there's an evaluation going on. But we're also very mindful of where these guys are during their careers. We're certainly very patient. This is a time for us to get an understanding of who these players are.

In professional baseball, it truly is about development at this point. There's a reason why they were identified to join the White Sox. Now it's our job to develop those raw tools so they hopefully can become an impact Major League player.

From Day 1, we tell them about the White Sox way of playing baseball. How we approach the game. We want to be the most prepared baseball team out there. We're diligent in our work. We don't try to waste any time on the field. When we're on the field, it's purposeful work. It's part of our language, part of our daily conversation. Before and after games, we're constantly communicating with our players. Through those conversations, we're instilling in them what the White Sox are all about.

My job is very rewarding. I'm able to get these guys at such a young point in their careers, and I am able to watch them grow into players who maybe they didn't even think they could become. Hopefully, we can get them to the Major Leagues and they can enjoy success there. I can't think of a more rewarding experience than that.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Chris Getz is director of player development for the White Sox.

Chicago White Sox