The Chicago White Sox promoted Mike Shirley to be their new Director of Amateur Scouting, per Tom Musick of the Chicago Sun Times. The move continues a bit of organizational reshuffling, as Shirley assumes the post vacated by Nick Hostetler, who himself took a new position as special assistant to GM Rich Hahn.
Shirley becomes the point man for June’s annual draft. It’s a tough assignment in some ways, as expectations will be high after the tremendous job the White Sox have done in recent years in building the #3 ranked farm system, per Baseball America. Optics should be good for a couple of years while these recent picks graduate to the majors, guys like Nick Madrigal, Zack Collins, and Andrew Vaughn, high draft picks who are either in the majors now or on their way.
In an article from The Athletic’s James Fegan, Chicago’s new Director of Amateur Scouting spoke about their prospects for the upcoming 2020 draft.“There are a lot of good players out there,” Shirley said. “The game has changed. The younger players have a lot more impact today for a reason. The kids are more advanced at younger ages. We know that and I think that’s an exciting part of what baseball is becoming.”
That jives with the direction the franchise has taken in recent drafts, as they’ve begun to take more chances on high school players. Shirley will be tasked with maintaining a high degree of success, but he’s likely running out of ultra-high draft choices with which to work. With a record of 62-79, the White Sox are in line for a late top-10 pick in next June’s draft, but if all goes according to plan, this could be the last time picking in the top-10 for quite some time.