Nick Hostetler has begun to do the legwork for next June’s amateur baseball draft and likes what he has seen.
Home for eight days between lengthy scouting trips to see potential prospects, the White Sox new amateur scouting director thinks the White Sox should have several talented options when they make their first selection at No. 10 in the draft. Hostetler returned Monday impressed by what he observed on a 10-day trip to Florida after seeing many of the nation’s top prep and collegiate baseball players.
“I was extremely pleased with the talent,” Hostetler said. “I think this year’s draft is going to be really strong. High school arms, high school hitters and college bats, I think it’s a really strong draft this year and I’m excited about it.”
While in the Sunshine State, Hostetler attended two prep showcase events, the Florida Diamond Club in Lakeland, Fla. and the Perfect Game World Wood Bat tournament in Jupiter, Fla. He also attended college scrimmages at Florida State University, the University of Florida and the University of Miami.
When the club makes its first pick at No. 10, Hostetler thinks there should be similar players available to when the White Sox selected Carson Fulmer with the eighth overall pick in June.
“These two showcases kind of reconfirmed my thoughts on the depth of this draft,” Hostetler said. “There’s a little bit less college pitching this year than where there was last year. But at the same time, I think it’s a pretty deep class so I do think that come around to 10 we’re going to be pretty pleased with the options that are gonna be there and available.”
Hostetler is home until next Tuesday when he heads on another 10-day trip to Texas, Oregon, California, Arizona and Florida. Part of the next trip includes interviews with potential draftees.
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It’s far too early to say with certainty, but the White Sox could use their first overall pick on a prep athlete for only the second time since 2001. They selected Courtney Hawkins in 2012 and Hostetler is definitely open to the concept, though organizational philosophy has favored more seasoned players the last 15 years. But with the talent pool thinner on college pitching, the White Sox could focus on hitting this June and they may land a high school athlete.
That’s OK with Hostetler.
“You get to dream a little more,” Hostetler said. “It’s a chance to be creative. But ultimately the best baseball player wins.”