After taking nine pitchers in their first 12 picks in last year’s draft, the Chicago White Sox loaded up on some impressive bats in the 2012 draft. Courtney Hawkins, a 6’-3”, 220-pound, five-tool outfielder from Carroll HS in Texas, was rocketing up the draft boards heading into day one of the draft. Kenny Williams and Co. were lucky enough to land the Texas recruit with the 13th selection, signed him two weeks later, then shipped him off immediately to Bristol of the Appalachian League to begin his path to greatness.
So far, so good.
On Sunday, July 1, Hawkins crushed his first pro home run, this after a game in which he had three hits, five runs scored, a double and two RBI. After just 10 games as a pro, he seems to be settling in already, showing off the skills that are going to make him the next superstar in the city of Chicago, and beyond.
Hawkins was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Texas this season, a state that is always loaded with talent. He hit .424 as a senior with 11 home runs, 38 RBI, 17 stolen bases and a .569 OBP as he led Carroll to a 32-5 record and a Class-5A semi-final berth in the state playoffs. He also starred on the mound, going 5-2 with a 0.95 ERA and 58 strikeouts over 36.2 innings. As a junior, he hit .410 with 15 home runs, 42 RBI and 22 stolen bases, leading the team in every offensive category.
The list of baseball accolades he has won is too long to list. As great as he is on the field, however, he is equally great off of it. He excelled in the classroom and volunteered his time to many organizations involving youth and his community. In an age of over-inflated egos, where social media only enhances such behavior, Hawkins has kept his on the ground. Except when he is doing back-flips, of course.
At just 18 years old, Hawkins is still a couple of years away from the major leagues. After having to do it all for his high school team, he can now focus full time on hitting and defense. He has the ability to be a 30 HR/30 SB guy at the next level, although he has more power potential than speed. He has the arm, speed and instincts to stick at center field and should be a middle-of-the-lineup run producer at the next level.
With the White Sox currently in first place in the AL Central and headed in the right direction under new manager Robin Ventura, and a couple of great young pitchers in Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, the organization can develop Hawkins slowly, bringing him along at his own pace.
Of course, the way he is playing of late, he could rocket up the system like he did the draft.