Prospect lists fun but also distraction, White Sox’ Getz says

SHARE Prospect lists fun but also distraction, White Sox’ Getz says
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White Sox pitcher Alec Hansen waits on the ball during a drill at the team’s spring training baseball facility Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Nothing drives the White Sox’ publicity machine like prospect rankings, and there were many for fans, players and organizational types to peruse this winter.

One had eight Sox in its top-100 list. Another had five. Fans got fired up for different reasons about both lists.

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While debates raged on Twitter and in chat rooms, Sox director of player development Chris Getz hoped the prospects were covering their ears. He knows it’s great for selling the fan base on what the Sox, in Year 2 of a major rebuild, are doing. But he also hopes players aren’t preoccupied with it.

“I hope they don’t pay attention to it, but the reality is that they do,’’ Getz said. “There are so many rankings, so many publications, and it’s online, Twitter. Can it be distracting? Yes.’’

Right-hander Alec Hansen can attest to that. Projected as a possible No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft going into the season, he fell all the way to the Sox at 49th overall in the second round.

“I know where I’m ranked [54th by MLB Pipeline, 57th by Baseball America to name two], and there are some who do, but I don’t dwell on it,’’ Hansen said.

“It can be a distraction. That happened to me in college because I was supposed to go in the first round.’’

Hansen got off to a bad start, got frustrated, struggled “and it was a downward spiral,’’ in large part because of expectations put on him. When he let go of the pressure that accompanied it, he pitched better, he said.

Getz, a fourth-round draft choice by the Sox in 2005, said prospects “don’t need to be aware of what’s written about them in the media. The good stuff can be just as bad as the bad stuff.’’

The key is what the organization thinks of you.

“Internally, we have our own ranking system, and, personally, I have mine,’’ Getz said. “On occasion, you’ll take a peek at those things. I’d say they’re in the ballpark, they have the right guys, but the right order all the time? No.’’

Getz said player-development people often “need to educate players to bring them back to earth.’’

That’s not an issue with right-hander Dane Dunning.

“My parents love to look at it and see where I’m at, but I don’t pay attention to it at all,’’ said Dunning, No. 92 on MLB Pipeline.

“I don’t care about it much because everyone is trying to get to the same spot. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-rounder or 40th-rounder. I’ve seen late draft picks make it and have long careers. So it doesn’t matter.’’

NOTES: Right-hander Dylan Covey was outrighted to Class AAA Charlotte, opening one spot on the 40-man roster. Covey, 26, was 0-7 with a 7.71 ERA in 18 games (12 starts) last season.

† Outfielders Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert made their first appearances Sunday.

† Outfielder Willy Garcia is in camp but is limited with a wrist injury.

† Aside from four Venezuelans with visa problems, the only one not in camp was outfielder Leury Garcia, who’s expected Monday, the first official full-squad workout day.

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

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