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Prospects: Courtney Hawkins continuing progression

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Mar 21, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; A general view of game action between the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs at Camelback Ranch. The Cubs won 7-0. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Courtney Hawkins, a 2012 first-round draft choice for the Chicago White Sox, received an invite to spring training, and he was recently named the No. 9 prospect in the organization by Baseball America.

Hawkins, an outfielder, is continuing his progression within the White Sox organization, where last season he played 122 games at Advanced-A with the Winston-Salem Dash. The previous season, he played 103 games with the Dash.

In ’14 Hawkins batted .249, up from his .178 average in ’13 at the same level.

That 71-point jump in average saw Hawkins go from 68 hits to 112 in ’14, along with 62 RBIs to 84 in a year as well.

With Hawkins being the 13th overall selection in ’12, the White Sox must have him continue his progression from ’13 to ’14 into this upcoming season in the minors, hopefully at least in Double-A in ’15.

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As we continue to look at Hawkins’ numbers from ’14, he also had 11 stolen bases. Besides his jump in batting average, his on-base percentage rose to .331 in ’14 (.249 in ’13), as did his slugging percentage, with it moving to .781, much improved from .633 the previous season.

Another stat (provided by Baseball America) that jumps off the page is his total bases, with Hawkins totaling 202 bases, plus he vastly improved his walks, going from 29 in 103 games in ’13 up to 53 in ’14.

One problem though with Hawkins is he has gone from the No. 1 prospect in the organization in ’12 by Baseball America to No. 6 in ’13 to now No. 9, so in that sense, he’s moving in the wrong direction.

An area of his game that must get improved for him to reach the MLB level one day is his batting average vs. LHP, which was .174 in 121 at-bats. Hawkins had just 21 hits vs. LHP and 45 strikeouts.

Against right-handed pitching in ’14, Hawkins batted .277 with 88 hits, 16 home runs, 20 doubles, but he strikeout 97 times.

April was Hawkins’ best month in ’14 where he batted .289 with seven home runs, five doubles and 27 RBIs in 23 April games. Compare that to August, where he batted .216 with two home runs, four doubles and 15 RBIs.

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So in comparison, his numbers in April were peak numbers, and by the time August arrived, he had his worst month in walks, home runs, hits and batting average.

Recently, Hawkins took part in an mini-camp with White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson in early January.

An ESPN Chicago article said the following about the camp in a quote by Steverson:

"“We were able to get in the cage and get some things done with thought processes going forward in their mental capacities and their physical capacities. Really, for these guys going into a long season, they really need to get to learn themselves, and that’s what really the process of this is all about.”"

Hawkins (6-3, 220 pounds), who is just 21 years old, still has a lot of potential within the organization. Hopefully he can show the consistency he needs and the White Sox need for him to start moving up within the organization in ’15, so keeping an eye on Hawkins will be a must this upcoming season.

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