With speed and middle-infield depth organizational needs, and incumbent shortstop Alexei Ramirez increasingly looking like trade bait, the White Sox believe they’ve landed a swift player at just the right position in the amateur draft.
Two of the Sox’s top three picks are speedy prospects.
After 19-year-old Mississippi junior college shortstop Tim Anderson was selected No. 1 Thursday, outfielder-second baseman Jacob May -- who has a good baseball lineage -- was tabbed with the third pick Friday in the three-day draft.
“Absolutely,” Sox scouting director Doug Laumann said of satisfying the speed and middle infield needs at the top of the draft. “We’re pretty confident (Anderson) is going to stay at shortstop. We’re certainly going to give him every opportunity to stay there.
"We’re all thinking he’s a top-of-the-order guy because he’s a ‘plus-plus’ runner. He’s had great stolen base numbers over the years.”
In a teleconference, Anderson was to the point of touting his talents. He compared his physical tools package to Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes.
“I need to improve my defense,” he said. “I see myself as a shortstop. A lot of people doubt me, but I want to prove them wrong.
“I’m not a power guy, but a gap-to-gap guy. I don’t swing and miss a whole lot.”
Coastal Carolina product Jacob May is the grandson of former Reds and Astros slugger Lee May and grand-nephew of ex-Sox outfielder Carlos May. Both were power hitters starting out, while the younger May is rated for his speed and athleticism.
“His father (Lee, Jr.) went to the same high school I went to,” said Laumann, who also coached Lee Jr. in high school basketball. “The pedigree always helps.
"Ultimately, the kid was a very talented ... great runner, good athlete, switch hitter, all the things we’d like to see in those type of athletes.”
Laumann has taken outfielders like Jared Mitchell, Keenyn Walker, Courtney Hawkins and Trayce Thompson No. 1 or 2 in the past four years. But the only promising middle-infielder candidate high up in the system is Carlos Sanchez at Triple-A Charlotte. He’s just 20, and probably needs a full season of experience.
Top pitcher selected by the Sox was No. 2 pick Tyler Danish, a Florida high-school right-hander.
“Tyler Danish is an interesting pick even for us,” Laumann said. “Strong kid. Got kind of an unorthodox delivery and arm action. I don’t know if I’ve ever been intrigued by a player since I’ve been scouting. The kid pitches 98 innings and gives up no earned runs.
"The performance was just so exemplary.”
Seven of the Sox’s first 10 picks were pitchers.