White Sox No. 1 prospect -- a '21 Draft pick out of HS -- is on a roll

June 16th, 2022

CHICAGO – Colson Montgomery extended his on-base streak to 26 straight games with two hits and a walk during Single-A Kannapolis’ 8-1 victory at Fayetteville on Wednesday night.

And the No. 1 White Sox prospect, per MLB Pipeline, extended that run after a mid-morning phone interview with MLB.com where he explained how he didn’t like talking about said streak.

“I’m happy with where I’m at right now,” said the Cannon Ballers shortstop. “Pretty much, when I say I don’t want to talk about it, it’s just kind of, it could change so fast.

“One time you look up and you are batting this [average] and then you have a couple of games where you are not doing good and it’s totally different. I’m just trying to take one game at a time with all of it.”

Montgomery, who checks in at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds and turned 20 on Feb. 27, came to the White Sox as the 22nd pick in the first round of the 2021 Draft. He was a baseball standout for Southridge High School in Huntingburg, Ind., but also a basketball star, which qualifies many for legend status in the hoops-obsessed state of Indiana.

High school athletes entering directly into professional baseball, or professional sports in general, often learn about life on their own along with developing their game. But according to White Sox assistant general manager/player development Chris Getz, Montgomery is further along in his Major League readiness than what the team expected at the time of the Draft.

“I don’t think there’s been a time this year that I haven’t been impressed,” Getz said. “He’s so under control with everything he does. Both sides of the ball. For a guy that in terms of the track record in baseball, let alone professional baseball, we felt there was going to be certainly a learning curve and certainly there are some things he’s working on.

“The way he’s going about his business, his production has been very very consistent. He’s taking pitches, he’s driving pitches, he’s taking his walks. He’s making the plays at shortstop. He’s very good going to his left, he’s working on angles to his right. Talking to the staff with him on a daily basis, they were raving about him. So, for a young player playing a premium position, we couldn’t be happier as an organization.”

As of Thursday morning, Montgomery was hitting .306 with an on-base percentage of .413 and an OPS of .896 to go with four home runs, 12 doubles, one triple, 28 RBIs and 25 runs scored. He has 24 walks and 36 strikeouts in 39 games with Kannapolis, already showing a refined plate approach often more common at higher levels of competition.

Getting on base is the key, over just getting hits, as Montgomery’s long streak would indicate.

“A lot of players they try chasing hits and everything like that, which all of our hitting coaches say, ‘Once you start chasing hits and averages, the only thing that’s going to happen to them is they are going to go down,’” Montgomery said. “I’m trying to think of me getting on base as helping us, so when that helps us, it also helps myself as well.”

Montgomery also doesn’t always have to be the guy to deliver, as might have been the case as the top player on his high school team.

“Now, being in professional baseball, we have guys who they do the same thing. They were their high school’s guys,” Montgomery said. “They want to tell us to pass the baton with a lot of things.

“Make it a tough at-bat for the pitchers and if you get walked then the guy is worn out for the next guy. Help each other out.”

Moving up to Winston-Salem, Chicago’s High-A affiliate, is the left-handed hitter’s on-field goal, hopefully sooner rather than later. He also understands that sort of promotion is out of his hands, so the young man who picked the White Sox over playing baseball and walking on in basketball at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., focuses solely on each day’s tasks and goals.

“I’ve learned you have to come every day ready to work, and focused,” Montgomery said. “Because you are playing so many games, it’s very easy to not be focused on a lot of things.

“Everything is the same every day. There’s really not a lot of difference in a lot of things. I learned that I have to enjoy this time where I’m at right now because a lot of people wish they could have this opportunity. I’m just taking this in stride and going out and playing my best every night.”