Sox target youth, athleticism in Draft
Club focuses on prospects with room for development
CHICAGO -- Oney Guillen might not end up as the most famous baseball player to come from the White Sox 2007 First-Year Player Draft class. But he certainly carries an exceptional baseball pedigree into the start of his Minor League stint this Thursday with Bristol of the Rookie Appalachian League.
The second of manager Ozzie Guillen's three sons was selected by the White Sox in the 36th round during Friday's final day of the Draft, making him the 1,102nd pick overall. The manager's son was taken without an ounce of influence applied by the man in charge.
"He's a good kid and it was fun to draft him," said Duane Shaffer, the White Sox senior director of amateur scouting, who mentioned that Oney came into the team's Draft room and had the chance to see his name on the board.
"If he's anything like his dad, he'll have a lot of good quotes for you," added Shaffer with a laugh.
This pick of Oney Guillen was one of four second basemen chosen by the White Sox amongst their 45 possibilities. Four shortstops also were taken, along with four first basemen, one third baseman, one catcher and 10 outfielders. Pitchers held the organization's focus, adding 21 through the Draft, including five right-handers and one left-hander in the first six picks.
Thursday's slight change in philosophy for the White Sox from past Drafts carried over into Friday. The team continued on with good athletes, the high-risk, high-reward type of players.
"Those are the type of guys we went after," Shaffer said. "Instead of the mediocre college guys, we went after some younger kids with much higher ceilings. If they pan out, we think we've got something.
"Sometimes a guy like this you are going to get is a good athlete but not exactly a great baseball player. If he turns into a baseball player, where you can teach him some things, he becomes great because he has the other assets like athleticism and speed. He's just a lot farther away."
When asked to pick out a few standouts from the Draft's second day, Shaffer laughed and said that he barely remembered the first couple of picks after sifting through "7,000 names." But at this infant stage, Shaffer considered the Draft a success.
General manager Ken Williams also seemed pleased, speaking before Friday's game in the White Sox dugout. It was a Draft that he was a bit more involved in, while also helping to re-shape the organization's approach as the whole process began.
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
"I'm pleased with the mix in talent, the higher-ceiling type of guys we got in," said Williams, deferring to others more involved with the nuts and bolts of the Draft to talk about the specifics. "We just needed to recommit to some things that I felt we ... had fallen a little short in lately.
"Yes, I was involved a little bit more. I didn't get the opportunity to go out and see as many players as I wanted to. In fact, I saw very little. I didn't see our No. 1 pick, for instance, except for on video.
"Dave Wilder and Doug Laumann got back out there where they had not done a whole lot of amateur stuff in recent years, and they had been very successful in their careers securing talent from all different facets.
"If something isn't working, not only are you asking people to step up to the plate to a greater degree, but let's provide a system that will allow everyone to succeed to a greater degree," Williams added. "When you have four more expert eyes out there, combined with what we have in place, it can only help. If we are going to be wrong, we are going to be wrong the right way."
Williams had a Draft surprise on a personal level Friday, when his son, Ken Jr., was drafted in the 32nd round by Colorado. Williams had steered the White Sox away from selecting his son after the team selected him in 2006, with Ken Jr. planning on going back to Wichita State after being ineligible this past season. But as of Friday, Williams was unsure as to the direction his son would take.
"It will be interesting to see what he decides," said Williams of his son, an outfielder. "He's a player. He just hasn't played a lot the last few years."
That same professional decision for Oney Guillen apparently already has been made. Guillen will be playing for Bobby Thigpen, the Major League single-season saves leader set as the White Sox closer, who will be beginning his first year as a Minor League manager.
According to the elder Guillen, there will be no special treatment provided to his son. He's simply excited to see Oney live out his dream.
"I told him, 'Go out and play hard and have fun,'" Guillen said of advice for his son, adding with a laugh that Ozzie, Jr., his oldest son, will serve as Oney's agent. "Finally, he is going to live the real life of baseball. This guy grew up on the big league level with airplanes and nice hotels.
"Now, he's going to appreciate how much his dad and every baseball player, how hard they had to work. He's excited about it. He knows how to play the game, he's got good speed. I wish he could hit like me."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.