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White Sox don't rush to judgment on draftees

Hahn, Hostetler look at players' progress in third year to 'fully judge a Draft'
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- The White Sox Draft classes from 2016 and 2017 have received great plaudits, as has been discussed numerous times during the course of this rebuild.

But don't look for White Sox general manager Rick Hahn or White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler to claim success, failure or even concern for any individual draftee at such an early stage of development. Three years post-Draft seems to be the evaluation target, unless the response has a slightly sarcastic bent.

CHICAGO -- The White Sox Draft classes from 2016 and 2017 have received great plaudits, as has been discussed numerous times during the course of this rebuild.

But don't look for White Sox general manager Rick Hahn or White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler to claim success, failure or even concern for any individual draftee at such an early stage of development. Three years post-Draft seems to be the evaluation target, unless the response has a slightly sarcastic bent.

"We go with the straight hot take right away. They are all studs, and we are in great shape," said Hahn with a wry smile. "It does take some time. Usually it takes at least three years to fully judge a Draft."

 • White Sox top prospects 

Hostetler said: "I start really either putting a lot of stock into it or getting concerned if they are not playing well, usually it's three years out. That's when you kind of have a good feel of what the player is and how he's developing and the strides he's making."

Hahn pointed out how the White Sox have been spoiled by quick Draft-pick ascensions to the Majors. Carlos Rodon threw 34 2/3 innings in the Minors before the No. 3 pick from the 2014 MLB Draft joined the White Sox in '15.

Video: MIN@CWS: Rodon fans nine over 6 1/3 solid innings

Chris Sale began his All-Star career in the White Sox bullpen two months after he was selected 13th overall in the 2010 Draft. But Hahn points to a more realistic development path in the case of right-handed pitcher Alec Hansen, the team's second-round pick from the '16 Draft.

Video: Sale believes the White Sox's future is bright

"Having Hansen already in Double-A is a huge step forward in terms of where he was a year ago when we drafted him," said Hahn of Hansen, who has 191 strikeouts over 141 1/3 innings this season. "It's a great tribute to him and our player development people.

"At the same time, a normal development path has another at least 18 months or so, which would make it a three-year path or a little over from college to the big leagues. That is more traditional than what we have seen in recent years."

As Hostetler points out, Jake Burger (2017 top pick for White Sox) and Gavin Sheets (2017 second round) are learning more than the game during their short time with Class A Kannapolis. It's also about adjusting to life as an adult.

Video: 2017 Draft: White Sox draft 1B Gavin Sheets No. 49

"Now they are on their own, and they are having to fend for themselves," Hostetler said. "Mom doesn't come and visit every two weeks to do laundry and bring cookies.

"You see a guy struggle early on, and he's also dealing with some other stuff. Might be the roommate just got called up and how are they picking up the other half of the rent. He just got moved up or down, and he has to find a place to live.

"Where's his car at? He's worried about going to Instructional League or some of these kids right when they are drafted, are they going back to school this offseason: Setting up their classes to finish them," Hostetler said. "There are so many things these kids go through in their first season that it's almost hard to put much stock in what they do initially."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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