06/04/2002 10:17 pm ET
White Sox maintain arms race
Chicago stays with philosophy of drafting pitchers
By Jimmy Greenfield / MLB.com
White Sox' round-by-round picks
CHICAGO -- The White Sox did their best on the first day of the 2002 First-year Player Draft to prove true the old adage that baseball is 90-percent pitching.
The Sox took pitchers with 14 of their 22 picks -- that's 64 percent for those scoring at home -- making left-handed closer Royce Ring the 18th overall pick and taking hurlers with four of their top five selections.
"We definitely like to draft pitching," director of scouting Doug Laumann said. "Pitching either brings you other pitching or other players so we kind of stick with that philosophy."
It came as no surprise the Sox sought to once again stockpile their farm system with pitchers. The offseason trade of Josh Fogg, Kip Wells and Matt Guerrier to Pittsburgh, plus the Major League progress of Dan Wright, Jon Garland, Mark Buehrle and Matt Ginter have reduced the number of the organization's top pitching prospects.
"There were some clubs that had the philosophy that they were going to take some position guys early because it was weak in position players," Laumann said. "I've always felt like you're supposed to deal from a position of strength so if the draft is strong and has strength in pitching then you should take pitching."
After taking Chicago-area pitcher Kris Honel with their first pick last year, they waited until the final selection of the day to take infielder Eric Keefner in the 22nd round. Keefner played high school baseball at De La Salle, which is located just across the Dan Ryan Expressway, a short walk from Comiskey Park.
Here's a rundown of Tuesday's selections after Ring:
59. Jeremy Reed, CF, Long Beach State
Laumann's comment: We think Jeremy's going to be a quality defensive center fielder. He's got a chance to be a leadoff-type of guy. Was very successful last summer with the USA Team. Had a pretty good history on him and looks like he's got a chance to be a solid, everyday big league center fielder.
90. Joshua Rupe, RHP, Louisburg College
Laumann's comment: A 19-year-old arm-strength guy with a plus fastball, plus curveball. Has some mechanical flaws. We've had some success in the past with our player development as far as fixing players. There's some things we need to do to get him straightened out but if we can we think we've got a quality starter.
120. Ryan Rodriguez, LHP, Keller (Texas) H.S.
Laumann's comment: A big, tall strong 6-foot-4 left-handed pitcher. Another arm-strength guy, a high school kid so he needs some time. We think he's the kind of strength and body type that's going to get a lot better.
150. B.J. LaMura, RHP, Clemson
Laumann's comment: He was a starter at Clemson. They kind of used him in two, three different roles. He's started, he's been in the middle, he's been a closer. Our guys saw him in all those roles, they felt he was best suited as somebody who can come in possibly as a setup guy and at times can be a closer. He's a good kid with a plus curveball.
180. Christopher Getz, SS, Grosse Pointe (Mich.) South H.S.
Laumann's comment: A high school shortstop, probably going to have to move to second base. Not a real strong kid right now but he does have good hands in the infield. He's also got good wrists at the plate. Size and strength is something that's going to dictate how good he becomes.
210. Micah Schnurstein, 3B, Basic (Nev.) H.S.
Laumann's comment: Schnurstein's a strong, barrel-chested kid with plus power potential. He played shortstop in high school, we feel like he's going to be a third baseman. He's got good hands, he's got arm strength and we wouldn't rule out the possibility of maybe moving him behind the plate.
240. Sean Tracey, RHP, California
Laumann's comment: Sean was the type of kid who early in the season probably got a lot more attention than he did late. Kind of piled a whole lot of innings on him during the season. As the season wore on it seems like he wore down a little bit. We kind of stuck with him, saw him again late, his velocity bounced back. There's a quality arm to stick in there and we think he's got a chance to be a starter.
270. Todd Deininger, RHP, Texas A&M
Laumann's comment: Todd's actually a local kid (from Joliet, Ill.). Pitched in a lot of different roles at Texas A&M. He was rated as one of the top pitchers in the Cape Cod League last summer, although he didn't log too many innings at Texas A&M this year. We kind of went back a little bit on what we saw last summer and ended up taking him on what we saw last year.
300. Orionny Lopez, RHP, Forest Hill (Fla.) H.S.
Laumann's comment: Was born, I believe, in the Dominican Republic. Played his high school baseball at Miami. Our scout down there in the Latin community (Jose Ortega) feels like he's probably got one of the better curveballs he's seen in a number of years. We've gone ahead and taken his recommendation in the past and he's done very well with them. Another arm with a plus pitch.
330. Samuel Herring, 1B-OF, Georgia Southern
Laumann's comment: A left-handed power bat. Listed as a first baseman, our scouts saw him recently at a tournament and he played the outfield and hit a long home run. This is a guy who's a power guy we're just going to plug in on one of the corners and see how far his bat takes him.
Jayson Ruhlman, LHP, L'Anse Creuse (Mich.) North H.S.
Laumann's comment: This is a pure projection guy. Our scouts in the Michigan area saw him throw very well. A loose arm guy, he's not a big guy but he does everything very easy. He's a guy we're going to have to hope grows an inch or two and gains 10 or 15 pounds. He's a ways away but he's a guy we're going to try and sign.
390. Demetrius Banks, LHP, Chattahoochee Valley, C.C.
Laumann's comment: He's a kid that is probably a draft-and-follow. We give our scouts the opportunity to give us a gut feel, meaning a guy who is a lesser-type caliber guy who they feel may develop quickly. Warren Hughes, our scout in Alabama, took a young left-handed pitcher from down in his area, Corwin Malone. We've had some success with the guys we've drafted so this is a guy he said he wanted us to get so we got him for him.
420. Christian Madson, RHP, Bloomingdale H.S.
Laumann's comment: A big strong right-handed pitcher. This kid was up to 95 (mph) this year. This is a young man who has stated his intentions of possibly going to a four-year school. We believe he was a little disappointed to where he fell in the draft; he felt he was going to be a first-three pick. We're going to monitor his progress over the summer and see if he's perhaps willing to reconsider starting pro ball vs. going to college and he hopes we'll reconsider to try and get him done more so than you would normally try to get a 14th-round pick done.
450. Adam Larson, RHP, Middle Tennessee State
Laumann's comment: A big strong right-hander with a plus fastball. At this stage in the draft you obviously don't get a pitcher or a player that has all the tools but this guy has size, strength and a plus fastball. We feel like we'll just go ahead and put him out there and see how far his fastball takes him and hope that they can develop a second or third pitch for him.
480. Daniel Haigwood, LHP, Midland (Ark.) H.S.
Laumann's comment: I actually got to see him, I usually don't see guys this deep into the draft. It was at a workout at Iowa prior to the draft in the middle of May. A left-hander, has some deception. Not a power guy, he was 85-88 mph. but my eyes told me he was throwing harder because the hitters weren't getting good swings. A kid that we thought was probably going to be a tough sign. We thought we'd watch during the summer, has stated his intentions to us that he may be willing to listen to what we'd like to talk to him about.
510. Brandon McCarthy, RHP, Lamar Community College
Laumann's comment: This is a draft-and-follow guy. A tall, thin kid with good arm action. We feel like he's going to develop. Whether or not he's ready to go out and pitch in pro ball right now is a question. Certainly is a starter-up kit for a guy that can be a pretty good pitcher in the future.
540. Shane Scoville, C, South Alabama
Laumann's comment: As is our custom we took an awful lot of pitchers. In this part of the draft you don't necessarily expect to get a prospect but this kid, because of his defensive ability, we think will have a chance to catch some of these young pitchers. Because of what he can do behind the plate everybody's looking for a quality receiver, who knows how far that takes you?
570. Paul Keck, C, Granada (Calif.) H.S.
Laumann's comment: This is a draft-and-follow. We evaluated him as a little bit better pick than this. Has also stated his intention to go to a four-year school. What we'd like to do is watch his progress during the summer and possibly go ahead and take a look at him then and see if he's made enough improvement to try and sign him before he goes to school.
600. Boone Logan, LHP, O'Connor (Texas) H.S.
Laumann's comment: Tall, thin left-handed pitcher from the San Antonio area. Loose arm, 6-foot-5, left-handed and it's been our history to take as many 6-foot-5 loose lefties as you can take and hope you come up with something.
630. Seth Morris, CF, Kentucky
Laumann's comment: A kid out of the Cincinnati area, played center field at Kentucky. More suited to play a corner, possibly even third base. Power guy. Hit and miss, struggles a little bit with the curveball. Can run for a big guy, is a strong kid. A good guy to plug in the middle of a lineup with one of our minor-league clubs and if he learns to hit a breaking ball he's got a chance to move.
660. Eric Keefner, 1B-3B, Mesa Community College
Laumann's comment: Big, strong kid out of the Chicagoland area (attended De La Salle H.S.). Went to Arizona State to play football, had some injuries. Went to Mesa J.C. to play baseball. We happened to get a chance to scout him in the last week or so. Not in baseball condition right now. However, he's a big strong kid with power and our scout in the area, Nathan Durst, has done an excellent job to keep us in touch with him. If we can get him back into the condition he was in as a high school senior we may have got something pretty good here in the 22nd round.
Jimmy Greenfield covers the White Sox for MLB.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.