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In My Words: Nick Hostetler

June 12, 2018

You're never going to hear a scouting director walk out of a room and say, "Boy, we had a terrible Draft." But in my three years as the White Sox director of amateur scouting, [2018] is the most excited I've been after a Draft. There are some interesting guys in

You're never going to hear a scouting director walk out of a room and say, "Boy, we had a terrible Draft." But in my three years as the White Sox director of amateur scouting, [2018] is the most excited I've been after a Draft. There are some interesting guys in this class. This one is a bit more risky, and there's some more ceiling to it. It's going to be fun to watch it develop.
The MLB Draft is what we as scouts live for, but the three days are both exhilarating and excruciating. Leading up to the first day was miserable. Your mind is just racing a thousand miles a minute. All the phone calls, discussions, looking at the possible scenarios. It is just insane.
Forget about getting any sleep during the Draft. After the first night, I went back to the hotel and I'm wide awake at 2 in the morning. I said, "What am I going to do?" I actually went down to work out until 3:30. Then I took an hour nap -- if you want to call it that -- showered and went to the ballpark.
It also was gut-wrenching waiting for our pick at No. 4 in the first round. Nick Madrigal was the guy we knew we wanted. I wasn't positive he would get to us. There was actually a rumor told to me by someone pretty high up in baseball that there was a possibility Nick could go as high as No. 1. Then the talk was that the Phillies, picking third, were wavering between Alec Bohm and Nick. We had to create backup scenarios and make sure everyone was on the same page. I did a lot of pacing about an hour out. I was texting the scouting directors in front of me, behind me.
It kept flipping. I'd talk to one guy who said the Phillies wanted Madrigal. I'd talk to another who said they wanted Bohm. It got to a point where I had a pit in my stomach.
We weren't really positive Nick would get to us until Philly made their pick with Bohm. The feeling that you have, I liken it to winning a game. Finally that last out is made. This is exactly what we wanted. There's that excitement, that joy of this work. All of the nights on the road, the airplane flights, the bad food we eat, the constant cell phone conversations, the stressing over weather and schedules. Getting a player like Nick made it all worth it.
It was one of those deals where I didn't know how I would react if Nick got to us. Would there be a fist-pump? A dance, a yell? I put my hands on my knees and kind of bent over and took a big deep breath. There was a sense of relief.

Over the course of Nick's college career, I probably saw him play 20-25 times. Each time, he answered another question. He did something you wanted to see. He truly is a pleasure to watch play.
We talked Nick at Oregon State on May 9. I went with Mike Shirley, our national supervisor, and Garrett Guest, our Midwest supervisor, After that meeting, we were driving to the Portland airport. We all looked at each other and went, "Wow. That is an impressive young man." He has an unbelievable knowledge of the game and is a 100 percent team-first guy. It was a fun conversation. The three of us left there kind of in amazement over how special this guy really was.
Of course, the Draft is about more than one player. The third day, when we draft from the 11th to 40th rounds, is truly about the area scouts. That's their time to shine. I would be remiss to not mention the job the area scouts and cross-checkers do. I truly believe I have the best staff in baseball. They make my job so much easier. They know every piece of information about the player possible. They tell me at that point who it is they want us to draft.
We were in the 37th round, and I was listening to a debate between our area scouts about guys they wanted to sign after the Draft for $1,000. These guys still kept getting after it. History tells us you can get some great players in the later rounds. Last year, we took Laz Rivera, a shortstop, in the 28th round. He's tearing it up at Class A Kannapolis. Ian Hamilton, a pitcher, was an 11th-round pick, and he's having success at Double-A Birmingham. That's a testament to what our scouts do.

This year, we added some high-ceiling high school kids. We're really excited about it. Selecting high school players is not something we've done of late. We're going to sign four of them. They are high-risk, high-ceiling guys. You want to balance it out. The last thing you want to do is walk out of the Draft and say, "I didn't take any chances." We want to go for the gusto with some of these guys.
Now the 2018 Draft is in the books. I'm leaving Tuesday to go to Cape Cod to start our 2019 Draft coverage. I actually made my flight reservations while in the Draft room. I'd love to sit here and tell you I can turn my mind off for a day and really enjoy it, but that's not the way it works. As a scout, you've got to move forward. You've got to make sure you're prepared.
We're back at it. We're ready to hit the road.
As told to Ed Sherman

Nick Hostetler is director of amateur scouting for the White Sox.