Third-rounder Call impresses with drive, confidence

Third-rounder Call impresses with drive, confidence

CHICAGO -- If Alex Call doesn't end up producing a long on-field career with the White Sox, he might end up as a general manager or even a team owner at some point.

The White Sox third-round selection from the 2016 MLB Draft certainly has the necessary drive and smarts for the jobs.

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Call, 21, enters professional baseball with his Ball State University bachelor's degree completed in a mere three years. It's a degree in Entrepreneurial Management that required him to pitch a 70-page business plan on a healthy but good-tasting cookie developed by another local entrepreneur, a plan he worked on for two years. It's a pass/fail decision, sort of like Shark Tank visits Muncie, Ind.

A passing grade, as Call received, leads to the degree. A failing grade sends the student back for the next year or leads to a few more summer classes to get a general degree in business management. So hitting a curveball with the winning run on third and less than two outs is nothing for Call in the pressure realm.

"Well, I mean, both of them took a lot of effort and a lot of hard work," said Call with a laugh during a phone conversation Friday evening. "It's a major and a degree that says a lot about me. It's a great program that I'm happy to graduate from."

In his final season with the Cardinals, Call hit .358 with a .443 on-base percentage and a .667 slugging percentage to go with 24 doubles, 17 stolen bases, 13 homers and 44 RBIs. He walked 71 times and struck out 85 times over his three years at Ball State.

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White Sox area scout Garrett Guest, who covers Illinois and Indiana, was impressed by Call's ability and encouraged him to take part in the White Sox pre-Draft workout last Friday. It was a performance at U.S. Cellular Field commensurate with Call's Mid-American Conference Player of the Year and Louisville Slugger All-American honors for '16.

"We saw him a ton in the summer and the fall," said Guest of Call, who was No. 1 on the White Sox board Friday. "For a college guy, he's got some upside with tools and performance -- a nice mix of floor and ceiling. He kept getting better every single year."

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There's no lack of confidence for Call, who has a strong belief in his game. Then again, there shouldn't be much doubt with Call's accomplishments in life to date.

"Physically, I've got a great arm," Call said. "I'm pretty fast. And I have great hand-eye coordination. I try to get on base as much as possible and drive the ball in the gap and hit the occasional home run.

"I'm a hard worker, that's the first thing. I love to play the game. I've got a very strong mental makeup. The game is surrounded by failure, but the way I approach the game gives me an advantage over other players and allows me to avoid slumps, and when slumps happen, stay even-keeled so they don't last too long."

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at noon ET.

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.