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White Sox target impact players in Draft

White Sox target impact players in Draft

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CHICAGO -- White Sox general manager Kenny Williams used one particular word to describe his team's selections in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft: impact.

"We went into this Draft looking toward high ceiling-type players," Williams said. "Players that could become impact-type guys, not just the safe pick."

That said, Doug Laumann, the team's director of amateur scouting, said the White Sox slanted their selections toward position players, particularly in the early rounds. Shortstop Gordon Beckham and third baseman Brent Morel were the team's first two players off the board.

And those are almost precisely the athletes the team had been targeting.

"We were really happy with Gordon Beckham, our first-round pick," Laumann said. "And we had kind of targeted our third-round pick, Brent Morel, and felt very fortunate to get him as well."

By design, the majority of the players taken by the White Sox were position players. Twenty-eight of their 49 selections fit that description, after taking pitchers with their first six picks in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

"We thought we had a need last year to add arms," Laumann said. "And we felt we didn't have any impact bats so, you take what's best available, but we did try and slant it a little toward position players."

Overall, the White Sox selected 20 pitchers, 16 infielders, seven catchers and six outfielders. Twenty-nine of their selections were college players.

One late-round position player Laumann is particularly excited to see play is Andrew Garcia, a 22-year-old second baseman out of UC Riverside.

"He is a grandson of a former big league manager, and he really, really knows how to play the game," Laumann said. "He doesn't have the greatest of tools, but we thought he could shore up the middle infield of one of our Minor League clubs, and sometimes guys with those types of genes kind of overachieve and get themselves to the big leagues."

Among the pitchers selected was 23rd-round pick Kyle Long, son of NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long, and brother of Chris Long, take second by the Rams in this year's NFL Draft.

"He's an interesting, physical young man," Laumann said of Long. "A big, strong, 6-foot-7, 275 pounds. He looks like a prototypical offensive lineman in the NFL. I saw him last summer, and he was extraordinarily talented. He didn't have a particularly good high school season.

"You know you get to certain point in the Draft where, I think, he didn't live up to the expectations that the industry thought he did, and we felt like maybe over the next two to three months we can see what we can do with him, and see what mechanical and physical things happen to him."

White Sox top five selections
Pick
POS
Name
School
8.SSGordon BeckhamU of Georgia
86.3BBrent MorelCal Poly San Luis Obispo
120.RHPAndrew O'NeilPenn St U
150.RHPDaniel HudsonOld Dominion U
180.CFKenneth WilliamsWichita St U
Complete White Sox Draft results >

In addition to Long, the White Sox selected a number of other players from prominent athletic bloodlines, such as Kenny Williams Jr., and Jordan Danks, brother of White Sox starter John Danks.

And Laumann strongly believes that family lineage plays an important role in a player's development and athleticism.

"No question about it that it does," Laumann said. "I think it works from a positive standpoint. Certainly, [Long's] got an athlete-rich family -- a little more football than baseball -- but he's been committed to wanting to play baseball, so we took a shot at him."

When the dust had settled, Laumann was pleased with the White Sox overall Draft, and sounded optimistic about the organization's future talent.

"We feel like we did a great job and our scouts and supervisors were very diligent with what they did," he said. "We took some guys that had high ceilings that might be a little tough to sign down the road, but we need to do things like that, just in case our situation changes sometime in the summer."

David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["first-year_player_draft" ] }
{"content":["first-year_player_draft" ] }
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