General manager Ken Williams and manager Robin Ventura must have held their breath after the White Sox drafted power-hitting outfielder Courtney Hawkins of Corpus Christi, Texas, with the 13th selection of the first-year player draft on Monday night.
Minutes after the pick was made, they watched the 6-3, 220 pounder execute a back flip for MLB Network television cameras - shiny black dress shoes and all.
"Mr. Williams said no more back flips,'' Hawkins said.
It wasn't all that long ago, when Hawkins weighed 270 pounds as a 13 and 14-year-old, that such a stunt would not have been possible. But Hawkins' brother Tim, who plays football for Texas State, promised Courtney he would help him lose weight. By the time Hawkins was a sophomore, his weight was down to 185.
"I've been working my butt off to get where I am now,'' Hawkins said.
Hawkins is the first high school player taken by the Sox in the first round since right-handed pitcher Kris Honel of Providence in 2001.
Also an accomplished pitcher with a 90 mph fastball, Hawkins has an 0.83 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 25 innings this season. Hawkins, 18, is batting .437 with 11 homers, 39 RBI and 17 stolen bases for Carroll High School, which is participating in the Texas 5A state tournament.
"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," Sox scouting director Doug 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."
"I'm excited. It's my dream,'' said Hawkins, who signed a letter of intent to play at Texas University.
"I see myself as a power guy who can run and hit,'' he said. "Overall, do everything. I'm not just a one-tool guy. I can do it all. I'm excited to play for the White Sox, get into their system and develop into a better player.''
In addition to the 13th pick, the Sox have the 48th pick in Comp Round A -- their compensation for Mark Buehrle's signing with the Florida Marlins.
The Sox' signing budget is set at $5,914,600 for their first 11 picks, with the 13th pick slotted at $2.475 million.