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White Sox stable of 1st-rounders offers hope

MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- The White Sox rebuild has been considered first rate to date, and part of that success could be attached to its first-round influence.

Of the Top 30 White Sox prospects per MLBPipeline.com, 10 were first-round picks. Six were acquired via trades made by general manager Rick Hahn, as he assembles a mass of talent pushing toward sustained future success.

CHICAGO -- The White Sox rebuild has been considered first rate to date, and part of that success could be attached to its first-round influence.

Of the Top 30 White Sox prospects per MLBPipeline.com, 10 were first-round picks. Six were acquired via trades made by general manager Rick Hahn, as he assembles a mass of talent pushing toward sustained future success.

Hahn only can smile when asked if his team specifically targeted first-round talent as the rebuilding process began, speaking more toward the type of player acquired.

• White Sox impressive system has padding

"It worked out more that these were the specific players we wanted," Hahn said. "The first-round pedigree doesn't play a huge role other than the fact that these guys were first-rounders for a reason -- underlying talent, tools, baseball ability scouts have identified going back to amateur days that make them wind up toward the top of Drafts.

"In terms of what we are looking for, looking for those impact type of players who we think are going to help us in that championship cycle, it's more about the specific player than their previous resume."

Video: One on one with Rick Hahn (Pt. 2): Prospects

Michael Kopech, acquired by the White Sox as part of the Chris Sale deal in December, was Boston's 33rd pick overall in 2014. The hard-throwing right-hander ranks as the No. 3 White Sox prospect, with 155 strikeouts over 119 1/3 innings for Double-A Birmingham.

Video: Jimenez, Lopez, Peter on hope for White Sox future

Blake Rutherford (No. 5) -- an outfielder at the heart of a seven-player deal that sent Tommy Kahnle, Todd Frazier and David Robertson to New York -- became the Yankees' top pick at No. 18 overall in the 2016 Draft. Left-handed hurler Ian Clarkin (No. 24) also was part of the trade after being taken 33rd overall in the 2013 Draft by the Yankees, one pick after Aaron Judge.

Right-handers Lucas Giolito (No. 7) and Dane Dunning (No. 11) were top Washington picks in 2012 and '16, respectively, with Giolito going at No. 16 and Dunning at No. 29. First baseman Casey Gillaspie (No. 14) completes the acquired first-rounders list, selected by the Rays in the '14 Draft and coming to the White Sox via the Dan Jennings deal.

Video: Mayo discusses White Sox acquiring Casey Gillaspie

"Their talent is there," White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler said. "When you have the talent, sometimes a change in scenery is all you need to jump-start. Our amateur staff has done a good job for laying the groundwork for a lot of these trades. We take a lot of pride in that."

This list above doesn't include the White Sox own top Draft picks, such as catcher Zack Collins (ranked No. 10, 2016), right-handed pitcher Carson Fulmer (No. 12, 2015) and third baseman Jake Burger (No. 13, 2017), let alone the top international talent acquired such as No. 1 prospect Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert (No. 4), Reynaldo Lopez (No. 6) and Micker Adolfo (No. 17), who certainly possess first-round talent. As Hostetler mentioned, scouting potential Draft picks such as Dunning and Rutherford helped the White Sox refocus on them in trades despite the Draft originally sending them somewhere else.

Video: Luis Robert homers in his first pro at-bat in the DSL

"We were very familiar with them," Hahn said. "Our area scouts spent a lot of time on them. Our crosscheckers -- Nick, Doug Laumann and up through [executive vice president] Kenny [Williams] -- spent a fair amount of time on these guys leading up to that Draft. They were targets on Draft day, and we wound up being able to convert on them a different way in a different time."

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.

Chicago White Sox