CHICAGO -- Colson Montgomery made his White Sox debut on Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field after the organization’s top pick in the 2021 Draft signed for full slot value of $3,027,000 as the No. 22 selection overall.
It wasn’t so much a true debut for the 6-foot-4 left-handed-hitting shortstop out of Southridge High School in Huntingburg, Ind., as it was an official visit. Montgomery, accompanied by his mother, father and four siblings, got a look at the ballpark where he hopes to play in the not-too-distant future, signed his contract and then threw out a first pitch before the White Sox faced the Twins.
“It was very exciting, especially just a whirlwind of everything,” said Montgomery on a Tuesday night Zoom. “It’s just a dream come true for any type of ballplayer, coming to the stadium and everything, and then sitting down in the rooms and signing that contract and putting on the White Sox jersey.”
Montgomery, 19, was in Denver when his name was announced on July 11 with the Draft’s first round being part of the All-Star Game festivities. He spoke to the media for the first time that evening, and then was able to attend the Home Run Derby, won by Pete Alonso of the Mets, the next day and watched the American League claim another All-Star Game victory on July 13.
Ten days later, Montgomery began his push to All-Star competition as a member of the White Sox.
“They have been probably the most exciting weeks of my life, pretty much,” Montgomery said. “After getting drafted and knowing that you’re a professional baseball player and going to those things, it’s just pretty crazy.
“Now, this is my life. Baseball is my life right now, and I’m very excited to get after it and put all the work in for it.”
The White Sox took a high school player with their top Draft pick for the first time since selecting outfielder Courtney Hawkins at No. 13 overall in 2012. Montgomery represents the first shortstop taken by the White Sox with the top pick since Tim Anderson at No. 17 in 2013.
In 27 games as a senior at Southridge, Montgomery batted .338 with nine doubles, seven home runs, 23 RBIs, 41 runs scored, 37 walks and 24 stolen baes in 27 games. He helped the Raiders to the IHSAA Class 3A state title.
Next up for Montgomery is a mini-camp in Alabama followed by an assignment to Arizona. Competition will greatly increase, but Montgomery is not only ready, but excited for the challenge.
“I’m kind of prepared for all of that. You are going to fail in this sport,” Montgomery said. “It’s a failing sport. So you just have to keep a good head with everything, try to keep a positive mindset.
“Kind of learn from my mistakes. I got all the professional help I need. I’m going to ask a lot of questions and I’m just going to try to be the best player I can be and ask everybody about stories and things they do on the field. Ask these professional coaches about a lot of stuff.”
Baseball has become Montgomery’s focus, as he mentioned, but it wasn’t always that way. He was a standout high school basketball player, along with a quarterback on the football team for a couple of years.
All of that success, along with a commitment to Indiana University, is in the past. Montgomery is part of this next younger group of White Sox talent, following the current group giving the American League Central leaders a viable chance to win a 2021 World Series title.
“Leading into my senior year, it was all baseball,” Montgomery said. “Going into the fall, I played baseball and in the winter did a whole bunch of baseball stuff. That led into the spring and once the Draft stuff got serious, that’s how my mindset switched, knowing this was going to be my long-term sport.
“My next step is getting bigger, stronger, faster, with my frame, too. And staying athletic and wanting and knowing I can stay at shortstop. I’m going to have to put a lot of work in with my footwork and all that stuff. Just want to develop to be the best.”