- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox used their first pick in Monday’s First Year Player Draft to select junior college outfielder Keenyn Walker.
The native of Salt Lake City batted .402 with 76 runs scored and 65 steals in 63 games at Central Arizona Junior College this season. The 20-year-old sophomore was thrown out trying to steal just three times for a 95.6 percent success rate.
A two-sport athlete in high school, Walker was also an acclaimed defensive back. He was drafted in the 38th round by the Philadelphia Phillies last year and in the 16th round by the Chicago Cubs in 2009.
“Keenyn is a kid that we’ve scouted extensively,” White Sox director of amateur scouting Doug Laumann said. “He plays in a competitive junior college program in Arizona. He’s been very successful. He is a high ceiling athlete. Unlike some high ceiling athletes, this kid really has a feel for playing the game.”
Laumann projected Walker to be two and a half years away from making it to the major leagues if he progresses at an ideal pace. He compared the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Walker to Devon White and Carlos Beltran.
In what is considered to be a draft deep in talent, especially pitching, the White Sox went away from adding an arm with their first pick.
“I think I’m pleased with the way it played out,” Laumann said. “There was a lot of pitching that went. And we played a little bit from the strength of the draft thinking that there is more pitching to be had and there aren’t as many athletes to get somewhere down the road.”