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Monday, June 4, 2012
Sox select OF Courtney Hawkins

By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com

The Chicago White Sox selected high school outfielder Courtney Hawkins with the No. 13 overall pick of the MLB draft on Monday.

Hawkins, who is 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, attends Carroll High School in Corpus Christi, Tex. He was the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year. He is signed with Texas.

"[The White Sox picked me] just because I just went out there and played ball," Hawkins said. "Played as hard as I can. That's the way I always play. I see myself as a power guy who can run, who can hit, just overall everything. Not just one tool. I can do it all. I can go play for the White Sox, get in their system and develop into a better player."

The White Sox also drafted high school first baseman Keon Barnum in the compensatory round A with the No. 48 overall pick. Barnum, who is 6-4 and 225 pounds, played at King High School in Tampa, Fla. and is a Miami recruit.

"With those two kids, we just the felt the potential, the ceiling, the chance for them to eventually develop not in a quick fashion, but in a next wave of group of guys we might want to try to develop and get here to Chicago, to have those two guys in a lineup would really be impressive," White Sox scouting director Doug Laumann said. "Hawkins is probably a little bit more advanced than Barnum is, a little bit more polished, but both of them have huge ceilings, and both of them are guys have potential to be impact players."

Hawkins, who was rated by Baseball America as the No. 15 overall prospect, showed off his athleticism after being selected, performing a back flip on MLB.com.

"Mr. (Ken) Williams said no more backflips, so no more it is."

Hawkins is the first high school player selected by the White Sox in the first round since 2001. They then selected pitcher Kris Honel out of Providence Catholic in New Lenox, Ill.

"First and foremost, Courtney is a quality young man who we've followed for several years at various showcases, including our own Double Duty Classic," Laumann said. "We've had a lot of people in to see him, and he has developed into the type of player we expected. This pick may seem like we are going away from our tendency with a high school player, but this kid has too much potential for us to pass up. We are enormously excited."

ESPN Scouts Inc. describes Hawkins as "one of the most explosive hitters in this year's draft, combining brute strength with excellent bat speed for very hard contact (when he makes it). ... If he hits, he's a potential All-Star who'll hit for average and power with value on defense. There's just more performance risk here because he doesn't fully repeat his swing and lacks experience against better-quality pitching."

Hawkins, 18, is batting .437 with 11 home runs, 39 RBIs, 56 runs scored, 17 stolen bases, a .580 on-base and .874 slugging percentage in 36 games with the Tigers this season. His team will play in the Texas Class 5A state semifinal on Friday.

The White Sox did not have a first-round pick last season and took starting pitcher Chris Sale at No. 13 overall in the 2010 draft. Sale is 7-2 with 2.30 ERA in the majors this season.