Outfield prospect Hawkins not rushing his progress

White Sox top Draft pick in 2012 letting his development take its course

Outfield prospect Hawkins not rushing his progress

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Courtney Hawkins isn't worried about the Major Leagues.

Sure, it's the ultimate goal for the No. 5 White Sox prospect, and he wants to arrive as quickly as his abundance of talent will allow. But unlike his first year or so with the organization, the confident 21-year-old won't put any extra pressure on the acceleration of his development.

"All I'm doing is going out every day and busting my butt to do what I need to do to make sure that my game is where it needs to be," Hawkins said. "And as far as the organization standpoint, whatever they feel like is best for the team, where I go, whatever happens, that's up to them.

"My only job is to go out every day and play to the best of my ability. That's what they got me here to do."

Spring Training: Tickets | Ballpark | 40-man roster | NRIs | Schedule

Hawkins was the team's top pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft at No. 13 overall. He hit .284 with eight homers and 33 RBIs between three Minor League stops that first year but struggled with a .178 average and 160 strikeouts during his first full season at Class A Advanced Winston-Salem in 2013.

The White Sox might have pushed Hawkins a bit by placing him in the Carolina League as a teenager, but they have never shied away from challenging their top talent. The right-handed-hitting outfielder adjusted with Winston-Salem in 2014, hitting .249 with 19 homers, 25 doubles and 84 RBIs.

During his first big league camp as a non-roster invitee, Hawkins has picked the brain of veteran players every chance he gets. Most importantly, he has let his progress take its natural course instead of trying to go beyond the reasonable expectations for a highly touted Draft pick.

"When I first got drafted, I definitely thought that I had to get there fast. I had to do something more," Hawkins said. "I feel like right now, as long as I do what I'm supposed to do and play the game I know I'm able to play and they know I'm able to play, I feel like it's going to come on its own, and that's what they wanted out of me.

"Once I start getting out of my zone and playing the game that's not my game or doing something that's not asked of me or expected of me, that's when that stuff starts falling and not staying on the track that I'm supposed to be on. I wanted to be there today, tomorrow. You ask me two or three years ago, I would be like, 'I'm trying to make this team right now.'

"That's your mindset but from an organization standpoint, as Kenny Williams, Rick Hahn whoever it is, they feel what's best for the team and who is going to be able to help contribute right now. Whether it's Buddy Bell, Nick Capra, anybody, they are going to make the best decision they need to make for the team. Whatever is best for the team, you have to go with. Get on board with it."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.