New scouting director pledges to keep White Sox ‘going in the right direction'

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The White Sox completed their changing of the guard atop their scouting department Friday, announcing Mike Shirley as the organization's new director of scouting.

Shirley takes over for Nick Hostetler, who after running the White Sox last four drafts was promoted to the job of special assistant to the general manager in July.

The department might have a new head, the White Sox draft room a new man in charge, but Shirley assured Friday that the philosophies that the team has held in recent years will be the same ones he takes into the draft in 2020 and beyond.

"Remember, I’ve been working hard with Nick together for the last, really since 2016, really hard together to build this," Shirley said Friday. "We are absolutely going in the right direction.

"We like good players, that’s the bottom line. Good players come at 17 (years old), they come at 22. Our focus is good players, and that’s something we must supplement.

"We are in a great position, and we are going to do a great job filling this in as we go forward."

The White Sox do have a highly rated farm system, though one that has been dinged of late for a perceived lack of depth. While players like Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal and Andrew Vaughn — the second and third players listed there the team's last two first-round picks — are ranked among the best prospects in the game, injuries and under-performance among the next tier of players has diminished the standing of that depth.

And so, while a return to good health and bounce-back seasons from the guys still in the system can do a great deal to help that, it's now Shirley's job to bolster that depth, as well as to add some more top-flight talent to an organization that soon hopes to stop picking near the top of the draft every year.

But he sees this as a continuation of the team effort that's put the White Sox in the position they're in, perhaps ready to move from rebuilding mode to contending mode as soon as next season.

While promising more of the same is not always the best way to win over eagle-eyed fans and observers who are always looking for a shake-up, Shirley can point to those four Hostetler drafts, ones that produced Zack Collins, Jake Burger, Madrigal and Vaughn as top picks. Three of those guys, excluding the injured Burger, could be core members of contending White Sox teams relatively soon.

"I don’t think it’s my philosophy," he said. "It’s the White Sox philosophy that comes from Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn, down to Jeff Lachman, who works in scouting, Jeremy Haber. It’s a team of people who have put this philosophy together. It’s not just Mike Shirley, nor will it ever be Mike Shirley. This is about the team, the White Sox, not an individual man."

One guy who's got plenty of faith in Shirley is the White Sox head of player development, Chris Getz. Funnily enough, Shirley scouted Getz way back when and helped bring him into the White Sox organization as a player.

"I’ve known Chris Getz since he was 16. He’s a friend," Shirley said. "He’s a tremendous person. And he was a great player. When you sign players and they get to the major league level and they have that success, it’s something you are excited about to go down that road with him as players. I think the world of the guy. I’m looking forward to working with him on a day-in-and-day-out basis to keep us working in the right direction."

"He’s a relentless worker. He’s got a solid network. He’s a guy that’s going to do very well in this position," Getz told Our Chuck Garfien on the White Sox Talk Podcast. "That relationship between player development and amateur scouting is so important, and right out of the gate there’s tremendous trust. I look forward to having Mike in that position."

For Shirley, he sees the White Sox as going the right way. Now it's his turn to take the wheel of the scouting department and keep them going that way.

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