Top 3 draftees impressing White Sox early

Top 3 draftees impressing White Sox early

CHICAGO -- If the White Sox move in a rebuilding direction this offseason, their 2016 Draft class has shown early returns as the potential nucleus of such a youth movement.

Catcher Zack Collins (No. 10 overall), right-hander Zack Burdi (No. 26) and right-hander Alec Hansen (No. 49), the team's top three Draft picks in June, have had strong initial showings as part of the White Sox system.

Collins, Burdi, Hansen among top White Sox prospects

Hansen, who was promoted to Class A Kannapolis this week, was absolutely dominant during his stint with Great Falls in the Rookie Pioneer League.

"We kind of held him hostage in Great Falls a little bit too long," said White Sox director of player development Nick Capra, making an appearance at U.S. Cellular Field. "He's been really good. He's double-digit strikeouts every night. He's not walking people. A couple of mechanical changes, small issues he had coming in. He's really taken off with it.

"The Pioneer League is actually a hitter's league. He's done a nice job. When you have stuff like he does, it comes out of his hand pretty well, he dominated the league. He didn't belong there."

Top Prospects: Hansen, CWS

Hansen had a 2-0 record with a 1.03 ERA over 10 starts between the Rookie affiliates in Arizona and Great Falls. He fanned 70, walked 16 and gave up a mere 13 hits in 43 2/3 innings. Those are video game sort of statistics for a hurler who once was thought to be a potential No. 1 pick overall in the Draft.

"Mostly, he's a big kid, 6-8, he wanted to fall over a little bit, so we kept him a little bit taller and out of his hand a little bit quicker," Capra said. "But he's showed us a lot since we got him in the program. [If] he continues to do the things he's doing now, he might be a quick mover."

Burdi has been mentioned as a possible bullpen callup for the White Sox pretty much since they selected him, although Capra deferred that question to people in the organization above his pay grade. Burdi has a 3.10 ERA over 21 games between Triple-A Charlotte, Double-A Birmingham, Class A Winston-Salem and Arizona, fanning 42 and walking 12 in 29 innings while holding opponents to a .178 average.

"He's close. There are things he needs to work on and get better. He needs to stay over the ball a little bit better. He's been more consistent with it. He's been good," Capra said. "Just an electric arm. He's touched 100-plus [mph] several times. If he stays over the ball, he's dynamite. Good slider, good put-away pitch. He has been impressive."

Top Prospects: Burdi, CWS

Collins, the team's top pick, has split time between catching and designated hitter after a heavy collegiate workload behind the plate for Miami this past season. He will be part of instructional league action, as will Hansen, before he plays in the Arizona Fall League.

"Looks good. Catching well. He's swinging the bat well," Capra said of Collins, who is hitting .231 with four homers since joining the White Sox. "We just want to get him out there and see him play."

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.