Inbox: How do White Sox prepare for Draft?

Director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler answers questions from fans

Inbox: How do White Sox prepare for Draft?

CHICAGO -- Nick Hostetler, the White Sox director of amateur scouting, took time from his busy 2018 MLB Draft preparation to serve as the White Sox Inbox guest for this week. Here's Part 1 of Hostetler's answers.

We have a tough time drafting hitters. How can you judge a young hitter and translate his ability to the Majors?
-- Cory, Glen Ellyn, Ill., @WitchBorn

Obviously that has changed here in the past few years, and I think it starts with Tim Anderson. One of the reasons why it might look like we had a tough time drafting hitters is because we used to take a lot of pitching. But the one thing you do is you try to limit the swing-and-miss picks and try to take guys who have a good eye and understand the strike zone and have the ability to get on base.

Submit a question to the White Sox Inbox

What are your thoughts on drafting the 2018 first-round pick from high school vs. college?
-- Cary, Buffalo, Grove, Ill., @GoHawksAndSox

Doesn't matter. It's really irrelevant whether they are a high school player or college player, pitcher whatever it may be. You never want to limit your pool when you are picking at any point in the Draft, let alone No. 4. It will be wide open regardless of whatever demographic it should come from.

Past Drafts were during contention, so picks had to fit needs. Is this Draft more work since you're not looking for specific position?
-- Jon, Ohio, @ChiSoxJRod

One Draft is never more work than another. If anything, you try to do things each year to progressively continue to get better as a department. So you are always adding more things that you do and using more data, using more information. The current Draft you are in is always the most work you are going to have.

What is the most important trait you look for when evaluating a hitting prospect?
-- Ken, Crestwood, Ill., @ksawilchik

The big thing for me is confidence in the box: Guys who get in the box and know they belong in there, guys who show the ability to recognize a pitch and whether it's a strike, understand the strike zone. And guys who make contact. Those are the main things I focus on when I'm watching a hitter.

What is Zack Collins' primary goal at Instructs?
-- Matt, Chicago, @Matt_Enuco

Top Prospects: Collins, CWS

When he went down there, Zack was more just getting into a rhythm and timing at the plate that best suited his approach. Minor League hitting coordinator Mike Gellinger has done a really nice job of getting him into a good spot offensively.

He looked terrific last week. And then defensively, continuing to work on his receiving. His throwing has been great. His pop times have been terrific, anywhere from 1.9 to 1.95. Minor League catching coordinator John Orton has done a nice job with him there. Really defensively, just a continued progression of what he worked on this season.

After physical ability (obviously), what is the most important trait you look for when evaluating a player?
-- John, Chicago, @JohnCarney3

The superstars, the guys who are good, they have that walk, that air about them. And you like to see that in guys who have confidence in their ability and know that when times get tough, they believe in themselves. Being able to see what that kid can bring to the table mentally is huge.

Are there any positions or player traits after all of these trades and picks that you still think needs addressing?
-- Rob, Algonquin, @RRadulski

All set (laughs). Obviously pitching is something we continue to need. You can never have enough of it. But it's constantly, as White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said when this thing started, it's about adding as many impactful players and pitchers as we can, regardless of position or what arm they throw.

That's really the way we've looked at this. I don't think there's anything specifically we think we have holes in our system. We'll just continue to keep adding.

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