Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Hostetler living dream as scout for White Sox

Despite the grind and time away from home, the job has its share of rewards
MLB.com @scottmerkin

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Nick Hostetler was not making an official college visit when he spent most of this past Friday at Grand Canyon University.

College days for the White Sox director of amateur scouting are a distant memory.

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Nick Hostetler was not making an official college visit when he spent most of this past Friday at Grand Canyon University.

College days for the White Sox director of amateur scouting are a distant memory.

Hostetler's Friday evening focus was Tennessee third baseman Nick Senzel, who finished 5-for-7 with six RBIs, as a potential White Sox Draft selection at No. 10. Hostetler also had watched St. Mary's right-hander Corbin Burnes pick up a victory against Central Michigan earlier in the day, with Burnes also in first-round consideration.

White Sox Spring Training information | Schedule

Hostetler arrived at 8 a.m. local time to study batting practice. By the time the nightcap ended, Hostetler had completed a 14-hour day. Staying alert seems to be the first order of business for this particular job.

"Diet Pepsi, Reese's Cups and Twitter," Hostetler said with a laugh. "It keeps me entertained in between at-bats and in between games, in between pitches. It can be long. It's a definite grind."

After being promoted this past season, Hostetler's first Draft in charge for the South Siders comes with three picks in the Top 50. Hostetler certainly doesn't operate in a vacuum, with general manager Rick Hahn in attendance for both games, sitting a few rows in front of Hostetler on Friday night, and vice president/assistant general manager Buddy Bell and assistant general manager Jeremy Haber on hand for Friday afternoon's contest.

What Hostetler looks for in a pitcher or a hitter goes deeper than RBIs or hits in a game. While watching a Senzel at-bat among the fans in the stands, he points to Senzel taking a fastball just off the plate on a two-strike pitch as a good sign. Two pitchers later, the opposite arises as Senzel expands the zone on a swinging third strike low and away.

"Just how their feet work in the field. Is he light on his feet? Heavy legged? How his hands work," Hostetler said of a few defensive targets in this instance. "At the plate, you are looking at how they take pitches.

"Do they offer at balls off the plate? Do they stay on balls that are in the strike zone? It's kind of the little bits of pieces of the checklist.

"You kind of balance it out. The whole thing is trying to put a puzzle together and each thing you look at is just a small little piece and you take what you see, take what your staff sees and at the end of it, June 9, we make the right pick."

A few hour break between games was spent returning 30 phone calls and 20 text messages in his rental car, while eating a Subway sandwich. Hostetler left for Los Angeles at 7 a.m. on Saturday, watching one game that afternoon, before driving to San Diego for a night game and then two on Sunday. A red-eye flight to Atlanta followed, with a 3:30 game on Monday.

The grind might not be glamorous, and it's difficult being away from his wife and kids. But Hostetler certainly is not complaining.

"You'll hit a wall about half way through the year, but Starbucks and Red Bull get you through, and then move on to the next one and catch your second wind," Hostetler said. "I know what I signed up for though. It's a dream job."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox