White Sox Prospect Profile: Courtney Hawkins
On February 19 when the Chicago White Sox hold their first full-squad workout of 2016, outfielder Courtney Hawkins will have the opportunity to showcase his talents as a non-roster invitee. The former first round pick in 2012 is coming off of a 2015 season where he played 78 games for Double-A Birmingham, his fir
st experience at that level in his four seasons in the White Sox organization .
In his first season with the Barons Hawkins hit .243 over 300 at-bats, and hit 9 home runs to go along with 41 RBIs. One gaping concern when looking over Hawkins’ statistics from the 2015 season was his 100 Ks over just 300 at-bats. Striking out once every three at-bats on average is definitely a huge cause for concern. In fact over his four seasons of minor league baseball Hawkins has struck out 459 times in 1,361 at-bats, meaning he strikes out in roughly 35% of his at-bats. Compare those 459 strike outs to his 318 hits over that span, and you have a major issue.
On the defensive side of the ball Hawkins has split time between left-field, and center-field over his four seasons. He does not have great speed, or range in the outfield which partly led to his 34 errors between the two positions over his time in the minors. His biggest flaw defensively is his ability to take effective routes to balls hit to either side of him, although recent scouting reports point to the belief that he is improving his decision making gradually. Hawkins’ scouting reports do give his arm strength a significant amount of credit, and he has accumulated 24 outfield assists thus far.
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Given the alarming rate at which Hawkins whiffs, as well as his average-at-best range and hands in the outfield thus far I wouldn’t expect to see Hawkins break into the big leagues until at least midway through the 2017 season. But Hawkins’ surely has the potential to be a low contact, power hitting corner outfielder at the major league level in the future. That is if he can continue to improve his plate discipline, and reduce the number of strikeouts.
At Just 22 years old Hawkins is on track to repeat Double-A this season with the Birmingham Barons while he continues to develop his skill-set and work on his weaknesses.