- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox need help in many different areas as the Thursday night amateur draft approaches. One concern centers around impact position players.
Scouting director Doug Laumann has done a nice job of directing No.1 picks quickly to the major league level. The Sox drafted Gordon Beckham with their No. 1 pick -- No. 8 overall -- in the summer of 2008. Less than a year later he was playing top level third base in the major leagues. Chris Sale was the 13th pick in 2010, and by the summer of 2011 he was contributing to the major league bullpen after just 11 appearances in the minors.
This identification of college players who are close to major league ready must continue for the South Siders. The Sox system has a number of outfielders who have been high draft picks in recent years who are struggling to get to the next level.
The Sox have taken outfielders with their No. 1 choice in 2009 (Jared Mitchel), 2011 (Keenyn Walker) and 2012 (Courtney Hawkins), but that will not preclude the organization from taking another outfielder if it believes he is the best player available at No. 17.
With Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn working on the back end of their careers, a power hitter in the middle of the order appears to be a current need. Dayan Viciedo and Alex Rios should be good for the next few years but fortification is needed in the long term. Stanford's Austin Wilson or Fresno state outfielder Aaron Judge are both considered power hitters who may be available when the White Sox pick.
Or the Sox can look to shortstop J.P. Crawford. Crawford is a high school player, so his ascension to the major leagues could take some time. The California native is listed as the top shortstop prospect in the country. His fluid style has been compared to Royce Clayton who played in the major leagues for 13 seasons.