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White Sox draft power bats on Day 2

Two-way player Gonzalez to be developed as center fielder
June 13, 2017

CHICAGO -- A distinct plan stood behind the picks made by White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler over the first two days of the 2017 MLB Draft."What we did is go down the whole home run total and said, 'Let's take them all. One of them is going

CHICAGO -- A distinct plan stood behind the picks made by White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler over the first two days of the 2017 MLB Draft.
"What we did is go down the whole home run total and said, 'Let's take them all. One of them is going to hit them,'" Hostetler said Tuesday in the Guaranteed Rate Field press box as he spoke about Day 2 of the Draft.
There certainly was no power shortage in either of the White Sox first two selections Monday or among their eight picks Tuesday. The organization followed the plan of looking for polished hitters who make good contact in regard to their outlook on offense.
The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at 11 a.m. CT.
Here's a look at the White Sox Day 2 picks.

:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
Third round: Luis Gonzalez, CF, University of New Mexico
The two-way player from New Mexico was rated at the 106th best prospect in's pre-Draft rankings. He hit .361 with 14 stolen bases as a junior, and struck out only 71 times against 124 walks over 598 at-bats in his New Mexico career. Gonzalez is 35-of-36 in stolen-base attempts for the Lobos.
Gonzalez, 21, is from Hermosillo, Mexico, and played at Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson, Ariz. As a pitcher, Gonzalez posted an 11-6 record and 6.12 ERA over 36 games, 22 starts. According to his bio on, Gonzalez's favorite athlete is Michael Trout. The slot value at No. 87 overall is $636,500.
"Luis is a five-tool-type center fielder. He's going to stay in center field. He can really play out there. He can run," Hostetler said. "Our analytics, they have their own metrics and ways to shape different things ballpark-weighted, so I wouldn't read too much into altitude and playing in that conference.
"But he can really swing the bat. It's an advanced approach. Again like the other two guys yesterday, he's more walks than strikeouts. That was one of our themes this year."

Fourth round, Lincoln Henzman, RHP, Louisville
The White Sox listed the 21-year-old right-hander as a starting pitcher, although he has worked almost exclusively out of the bullpen as the closer for Louisville. Henzman has recorded 16 saves in 25 games this season for Louisville, and he is headed to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
Henzman, who had Tommy John Surgery in high school in 2013, struck out 36 and walked nine over 35 2/3 innings this season. He's a Louisville roommate and good friends with Kade McClure, the team's sixth-round selection.
"They know I can come out of the bullpen if they need me to, and they watched me this past summer in the Cape [Cod League] through seven or eight starts and I guess they liked what they saw," Henzman said. "So I will give them what they want."
Fifth round, Tyler Johnson, RHP, South Carolina
Johnson worked a mere seven games and 7 2/3 innings as a freshman for South Carolina, but the right-hander has served as the team's closer over the past two seasons and amassed 19 saves with 99 strikeouts over 78 1/3 innings.
Much like Henzman, the White Sox announced Johnson as a starting pitcher.'s scouting report on Johnson, which had him listed as the No. 97 prospect pre-Draft, mentioned Johnson is well-equipped to handle the late innings with a 92-97 mph fastball reaching 99 mph. He commands it well with 23 walks issued over the past two seasons. He also features a slider peaking at 85 mph with nice bite.
"Johnson has big, big stuff," Hostetler said. "His stuff is better than Lincoln's. Lincoln has a little bit more feel and pitchability, but Tyler has the mechanics that can start. He just needs to be stretched out. He had a long little layoff from an injury and came back guns ablazing. He has looked great since."
Sixth round, Kade McClure, RHP, Louisville
Henzman and McClure currently are teammates on a Cardinals squad fighting for the College World Series title, and soon they will be part of the same White Sox organization. The 6-foot-7 McClure has excelled as a starting pitcher over the past two seasons, producing a 20-3 record as well as 189 strikeouts against 55 walks in 175 innings. McClure stands as the third straight college pitcher selected on Day 2 by the White Sox.
"My goal is to attack with the fastball and try to get ahead in counts," said McClure, a former high school teammate and good friend of Mitch Trubisky, the quarterback selected No. 2 overall by the Bears in the 2017 NFL draft. "A lot of people look at me at 6-foot-7 and don't think I'm athletic as smaller guys.
"Being a basketball player and football player in high school, I feel I'm pretty athletic for my size. I like to control the running game and field my own position and do a lot of stuff that most people my size don't do as well. I'm still very much so growing into my body." More >>
Seventh round, Evan Skoug, C, TCU
One of the true surprises of the Draft, the No. 48 prospect out of Libertyville, Ill., and College World Series-bound TCU slipped to 207. The left-handed-hitting catcher had 20 home runs and 67 RBIs for the Horned Frogs in '17, although he did strike out 87 times in 242 at-bats.
"Those strikeouts didn't help this year, but if you look back at the history, they weren't there," Hostetler said. "We're taking it as a little bit of an anomaly. We don't think this is the norm with him.
"Guys have questioned his catch and throw. We do as well. We're not telling you, 'I'm 100 percent he stays behind the plate.' But after talking with him and as aggressive as he was in the conversation with his belief in his ability, I'm not going to tell him he's not going to.
"He's a very driven kid. He's using this as a little bit of a slap in the face. He's excited to come back home. There's going to be a little chip on his shoulder."
Eighth round, Sam Abbott, 1B, Curtis High School
With Abbott still in school, his parents had to get him out of class and take him to the athletic director's office so he could hear his name announced. Abbott is a power-packed project, who flew in from Washington to work out for the White Sox and impressed none other than Jim Thome with some of his blasts.
"Jim told me 'Who is this kid?' I even had to pull out the roster to look and realized it was Sam Abbott," Hostetler said. "It's going to be a long process for Sam.
"He's going to be a two-year Rookie ball guy. He's new to baseball, he wasn't on the circuit. ... This is one of those high risk, high rewards, where if this hits, it's a story good enough for a movie."
Abbott was deemed by Hostetler as one of the most unique stories ever drafted by the White Sox.
"He's a U.S. Junior National water polo player. He has a scholarship to Long Beach State," Hostetler said. "His mom was an Olympian, his dad was in the military. He was born in Kuwait City. The kid's backstory is some kind of tremendous and when you see the kid physically, it is some physical specimen. His shoulders are really big and broad."
Ninth round, Craig Dedelow, OF, Indiana University
The left-handed-hitting outfielder knocked out 19 home runs for Indiana this past season. He's a senior sign who will stay in center field.
"Another big power kid," Hostetler said. "We had interest in him last year. The numbers money-wise didn't fit. We are excited to get him."
10th round, JB Olson, RHP, University of Oklahoma
Olson finished 5-1 with eight saves and a 1.99 ERA over 31 games this past season. He had a 2.03 ERA over 21 games in '16. Hostetler said both the team's TrackMan data/analytics and scouts loved Olson.
"It's always nice when those two match up with each other," Hostetler said.

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