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White Sox QA


On June 9-11, the White Sox added a whole new group of members to the White Sox family during the 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. From the clubÂ’s first-round pick (Louisiana State University outfielder Jared Mitchell) to its final selection in round 50 (University of Florida left-hander Kevin Chapman), the man who led the proceedings in the White Sox "war room" was Director of Amateur Scouting Doug Laumann. Laumann, who has served the White Sox organization in a variety of positions for nearly two decades and is in his second year in his current position, has been in the scouting business since the summer of 1981.

In this exclusive Q&A, Laumann looks back on the White Sox 2009 draft while also discussing the pressure of draft day, 2008 first-round pick Gordon Beckham, his family and more.

White Sox 2009 First-Year Player Draft selections »
2009 Draft Central »

On average, what percentage of the 50 picks you make each year sign a contract?

Dave C.
Round Lake Beach, IL

Typically about 60 percent. We ordinarily need about 30 players to fill out the 2 rookie teams that we field.

What made the club decide to pick Jared Mitchell, and how high is his ceiling?

Mitchell S.
Peoria, IL

I would have to say the biggest reason is his athleticism. He possesses the tools that cannot be taught, the main one being game-changing type of speed. Speed is the only tool in the game that you can use both offensively and defensively, and hopefully we see him using his tools in a White Sox uniform very soon. Jared has a very high ceiling that he will hopefully begin to develop soon.

Which pitchers you drafted excite you the most as far as star potential?

Emory K.
Probably the first three high school pitchers (2nd round lefty David Holmberg, 4th round righty Matthew Heidenreich and 7th round lefty Justin Jones). We have not taken many high school pitchers early in the draft in some time, so I am really pumped up about getting them with our player development people and seeing what we can do with them.

What can you tell us about the first two lefty pitchers picked - Holmberg and (third-rounder) Bryan Morgato?

Jim H.
St. Louis, MO

Holmberg is a big strong lefty who has outstanding pitchability. Very polished for a high schooler, and has had great success. He is able to throw off-speed pitches behind in the count for strikes, which bodes well for his future success. Bryan Morgado has not yet signed.
Who are some of our draft picks we can expect to move quickly up the organizational ranks?

Ricky W.
Highland Park, IL

Typically it will be the college player. I would say (1st round compensation pick and catcher Josh) Phegley and (5th round pick) Kyle Bellamy would be the two most likely candidates because of their respective positions.

How often does a side-arm thrower like Kyle Bellamy make it in the MLB? Would/will you keep him in the closer's role?

Diane H.

I actually think sidearmers have a higher percentage than conventional arm-action pitchers. Hitters do not see them as often and usually take some time to adjust to them. It will be up to player development as to what role they use him in, but I do know that they will want him to get regular work, so keeping him in the closer's role initially might not happen.

What are the chances of signing Jones, Dane Williams (15th) and Brian Goodwin (17th)?


All three players were taken with the intention of signing them. But even if we only get one of them done, it was well worth the gamble to take them where they were taken.

Were there any need positions in this draft that you feel like you filled?

Rosemary B.
Camden, NJ

Yes, I think there were. We had originally set out to get an impact guy for the top of the order, and we accomplished that. Also we wanted to get a front-line catcher who could possibly contribute with the core of minor leaguers that we have in high (Class) A and AA. With Josh Phegley, we did that. And we are always looking to add pitching, and we got a good mix of both college and high school pitching in rounds 2-10.

Where do you see Phegley's future with the White Sox, defensively? Doug O.

I have heard much talk and even criticism about whether Josh can catch or not. I will stand behind my judgment as well as the judgment of several of my scouts and supervisors that say, without a doubt, he will be a catcher. His hands are good, he has plenty arm, he is strong and durable, and he is an unbelievable worker and leader.

Were there any draft picks the club selected that you didn't expect to "fall" to where they were picked, and if so, which one(s)?

Marge G.
Noblesville, IN

After almost 30 years and my 29th draft, I am usually never surprised by what happens in the draft. I think the important thing that people have to remember is that we are not drafting in a vacuum. We are competing against 29 other clubs and each club has its own needs and restrictions, be it budgetary or some other factor.

What is it like in the "war room" during the draft, and how do you all handle the pressure of making the right picks?

Chicago, IL

There is a certain amount of tension leading up to your pick, but it is actually more about the excitement and opportunity than it is pressure. I feel like if you are prepared and passionate about what you are doing, and the guys that are working for us are, then you just do the best you can do. I feel like I have the best group of supervisors in the game in that room with me, and to a man, all that we care about is doing what is best for the White Sox. Much like the game itself is, there is a high percentage of failure. However, with the backing of an owner in Mr. Reinsdorf, and general manager in Kenny Williams, they know how tough these decisions can be. We can never be sure if we make the right picks, but as long as we do our due diligence in preparing ourselves, everyone is satisfied. With that being said, it also helps to be right more than you're wrong.

How do you decide at which level each draft pick should start - rookie, Class A, etc.?


A number of factors are involved. The level of competition they have played at, the players' ability to be somewhere where they can be successfulÂ…and sometimes you may want a particular player in a certain part of the country or with a certain instructor that is the best fit for him.

Noticed that the Sox selected a Williams and a Baines. Any chance either or both can stick in the pros?

Michigan City, IN

Like my response to an earlier question, nothing in this game surprises me. Harold Baines, Jr. will begin his career in Bristol, while Tyler Williams is rehabbing from a football injury before he makes a decision on whether to begin his pro career.

Not really about 2009 - but seriously, did you foresee Beckham getting to the majors this quickly?

Adam S.
Western Springs, IL

No, I did not. I think it was a perfect storm for this to happen, but he has the ability to make it happen and he will be fine. This is the biggest adjustment he has ever had to make, not only offensively but learning a new position on the job, as well as getting used to all that goes with being a big-league player.

What's the best part of your job?

Eileen L.
Chicago, IL

Having the ability to do something that I am tremendously passionate about. I am not sure that a lot of people can actually say that they would be willing to work every day of the year and enjoy doing it. I am in a unique position that I can say that. It also is extremely important to me, even though I feel this way about what I do, that I have the support and backing of a wonderful wife and four great kids. I try my best to include them when I can, and because I am able to do that, it makes it even better.