Today, Doug Laumann, the Director of Amateur Scouting for the White Sox was kind enough to give some of his time to talk to me and a few other writers in the monthly conference call. Unfortunately, I was having some phone issues (go figure?) so I will do my best to paraphrase what was discussed. Lots of interesting topics and it just made me really want to learn more about the minor leagues.
On evaluating players with high upside and “fixing” holes in their game:Â Laumann said there is a trade-off. They try to make an evaluation of the athleticism and the chances of the player to be able to catch-up. If the tools are there for a player, you hope they can bring it all together. Laumann was asked about Â Walker, Trayce Thompson and Jared Mitchell.
Whether there was a focus on drafting from California: There wasn’t and it just happened to be coincidence.
Signability of guys:Â Overall, the philosophy is to draft the best player, however, they do try to make sure the value a guy has and his draft position match. If a player thinks his value is greater than what he is being or should be offered, then the Sox will most likely pass on drafting that guy. However, if what the player is looking to get paid and the organization are not too far apart, there may be room to pay the player above slot.
So far, the White Sox have eight of their top 10 players signed. This brought up conversation in hoping that the system gets fixed so teams can worry about signing the best players and not whether there is the money to sign a guy based on what he thinks his value is.
Pitchers v Catchers: The organization loves pitching and the more they can get, the better. They did get some catchers as Laumann said catching is hard to find. There are several in the system now.’
On position changes: When players are scouted, if a position change is going to happen, it is based upon what that players’ tools match-up with. Just because a player might be playing shortstop or pitching when scouts first see him and that kid has played that position all through his high school and college career, the scouts have to look to see if the tools that guy possesses really fit that position in the big leagues. In other words, what the player can do will dictate whether a position change will be in his future. We’ve already seen this with players currently on the White Sox.
There were also questions regarding how pitchers traded from the White Sox have faired in other organizations as well as what happens if / when they return to the Sox system. We also found out about investment in Latin America. Laumann said they are getting closer and that Ken Williams has made an investment with personnel in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. This led to a question about the next CBA and the potential for an international draft or including those guys with the draft that currently happens.
Right now, it sounds very difficult to have a chance at top international players due to the available money. At times, agents will promise prospects a certain dollar amount and thus those prospects won’t go to camps where they won’t get at least the same amount. You might only find out about those players when you see then in triple A.
For more, check out Future Sox, Â South Side Sox,Â Gaper’s BlockÂ and,Â The Sports Bank. Thanks to Doug for his time and Marty Maloney, Manager of Public Relations for the White Sox for setting up the call.Â