Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 1/2/13
Former Texas high school star Courtney Hawkins famously performed a back flip after being drafted this past year. And now, it’s easy to see why: The Chicago White Sox top prospect has a lot to be excited about. The 19-year-old [as of November] outfielder was drafted 13th overall in June and by the season‘s end, he was playing for High-A Winston-Salem. Prior to inking his contract, he was honored as the Texas High School Player of the Year. Hawkins talked about his introduction to professional baseball — and his athleticism — during the last week of this past season. —— David Laurila: Has it sunk in that you’re playing pro ball? Courtney Hawkins: I’d say it’s like a dream. I’m still kind of shocked right now, playing in High-A. Everything is moving fast, but I like it. I like the speed of the game and I’m just out there playing ball and having fun. Since I’ve been here — since I moved up — I’ve learned so much. You can tell the difference in the level of competition, so it’s a huge adjustment. DL: When did you begin to realize you were going to be good enough to play professionally? CH: It’s been my dream ever since I was a young kid. In a way, it was in my head then, but it really started sinking in around my freshman year of high school. That, or maybe my sophomore year. When I was a freshman, I made the USA Team. I was a pitcher all the way up until my junior year. That’s when I switched over to being more of a hitter. DL: You’ve been clocked in the low-90s. Were there discussions about your future position? CH: With [Chicago], it was always, hands down, hitting. Other teams, it was pitching and hitting — some pitching — but with the White Sox, they told me it would be hitting. DL: Which teams were interested in you as a pitcher? CH: I couldn’t even tell you right now. A lot of teams were going back and forth. I was going with the flow, but I wanted to hit. I guess most teams wanted me for hitting. DL: When did you know the White Sox were going to draft you? CH: Four minutes before they called my name. I did know they were probably interested. I was in the Double Duty Classic [a tournament held at U.C. Cellular Field] a couple of times and had a good relationship with Keith Staab, the scout that saw me. I met a lot of the representatives when everybody came down. DL: How surprised are you to have been promoted from Bristol to Kannapolis to Winston-Salem? CH: I’m not so much shocked, but more just happy, excited, and glad that I have. DL: You hit better in [Low-A] Kannapolis than you did in [rookie-level] Bristol. CH: Exactly. As you move up, you start seeing guys who are more around the zone. The game is faster, but not too much. There’s a better level of defense and you can tell the level of play is better. But that’s good; I enjoy it. Same way here in Winston-Salem. The pitching is a lot better — they’re in the zone and hit their spots — but that makes you develop into a better hitter. You lay off the bad stuff and hit the mistakes. DL: Baseball America’s draft preview said you fit the profile of a power-hitting right fielder. Do you see yourself that way? CH: I’d like to stay in centerfield as long as I can, but as long as I’m playing ball, it doesn’t bother me. I’ll play left, righ, or anywhere. I love centerfield, but the outfield is the outfield. I’m going to go wherever they tell me to play. DL: When you did the back flip on draft night, it was almost like you were sending a message that you’re not a stereotypical corner outfielder, you’re an athlete. CH: Exactly, exactly. DL: What is your approach at the plate? CH: I’m always thinking up-the-middle, dead-away center. That’s my approach every time: dead-away center or up the gaps. If the pitcher makes a mistake in, then I pull. DL: Is most of your power to the pull side? CH: I think I have power to all fields. I’ve hit home runs to center, left, right. Mainly they’ve been to left-center. DL: Are you concerned with strikeouts? CH: I watch Major League Baseball every day, and I see big leaguers strike out. They’re going to be in the game. Strikeouts happen. I go up there and if the pitcher is better than me in that at bat, I’ll come up in my next at bat and try to get him that time. You’re going to be upset about it, but you shake it off and try to win the next battle. DL: Could you see yourself on the mound in pro ball? CH: I’m not sure, but I know I could go out and pitch. I know I have the ability and stuff. If I did, hopefully I’d learn and get better, like I am with hitting. I’m a better hitter now than I was a month ago. I like to think I’m a better hitter than I was yesterday. I like learning and am taking stuff in, day by day.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker