CHICAGO -- The White Sox went 13-9 down the stretch of the 2017 season, a surge of good play that might have been construed as a bit disappointing for director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler.When the winning stretch began, the White Sox had the second-worst record in baseball and were
CHICAGO -- The White Sox went 13-9 down the stretch of the 2017 season, a surge of good play that might have been construed as a bit disappointing for director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler.
When the winning stretch began, the White Sox had the second-worst record in baseball and were only 1 1/2 games away from the No. 1 pick in the 2018 First-Year Player Draft. Instead, Chicago played its way to the fourth pick in the Draft. But when analyzed in the proper context, the even-keeled Hostetler was actually more pleased than bothered by the change.
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"Depending on where Detroit is in their situation or where Philly is in theirs, that's going to dictate who they take," Hostetler said, referring to two of the three teams picking above the White Sox. "We might not even be on the same player. You've got three chances that somebody might be on your guy. But at the same time, it's a lot better chance of you getting the guy you really want picking No. 4 than it is at 10."
Lucas Giolito, Carson Fulmer and Reynaldo Lopez earned six of those 13 victories down the stretch. Yoan Moncada, who was considered the game's top prospect by MLBPipeline.com, hit .299 with an .882 OPS, five home runs and 11 RBIs during that same run.
Picking fourth gives the White Sox a wide array of options. The overall talent pool is considered by Hostetler as deep as anything as he's seen since 2011.
"Each follow list and each analytic run I get from our office seems like more guys get put into that first-round category," Hostetler said. "It's still a wide open pool right now. I fully expect it to continue that way up until April 1. We will probably have a target group roughly 25 players come April 1 and dwindle that down to May 1 and keep going from there."
Hostetler is attempting to put together his portion of a rebuilding puzzle, adding another high-end piece to the young core topped by Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech and Moncada. But working that puzzle in conjunction with his staff and general manager Rick Hahn is about more than one player.
"Each guy, when you take him, he fits a piece of the puzzle for what Rick Hahn is trying to do at that moment," Hostetler said. "You are trying to make sure your puzzle piece is not shaped a different way than whatever the peg is.
"Sometimes, those pieces move their way to the center. Sometimes, the center piece moves its way out. We look at all of these guys as kind of impactful guys and we think we are taking them for a reason. We believe they can produce in Chicago or have value to get players that can produce in Chicago."
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.