White Sox sign Keenyn Walker
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox announced Tuesday they reached an agreement with their first overall pick in last month's draft, junior college outfielder Keenyn Walker.
The White Sox did not have a first-round pick in the draft, but selected Walker in the supplemental round, 47th overall.
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Walker, 20, is projected as a center field/leadoff hitter type. He batted .402 this past season at Central Arizona Junior College, with 76 runs scored and 65 steals in 63 games.
He is expected to join Advanced Rookie League Great Falls on Friday and play in his first game Saturday.
"It feels great," said Walker, who got a tour of U.S. Cellular Field wearing a White Sox jersey with his name and No. 11 on the back. "I've been dreaming about it since I was a little kid and finally signed and get out and play feels good."
A native of Salt Lake City, Walker was a two-sport athlete in high school, intercepting 11 passes as a defensive back his senior season. He was previously drafted by the Cubs in the 16th round in 2009 and the Phillies in the 38th round last year, but did not sign.
"The first two years before I thought I was ready, but I wasn't," Walker said. "I had a great season this season and mentally and physically I thought I was ready to start my pro career."
The White Sox selected left-hander Chris Sale with their first overall pick last year and he was in the major leagues two months later, but White Sox director of amateur scouting Doug Laumann cautioned against a replay of that timetable.
"I think we'd be unrealistic to say that he can move like some of the guys we've had the last few years, but we do have the need," Laumann said. "We're still real confident in [2009 first-round pick] Jared Mitchell. They're similar type players and we think they both have the chance to be center fielders, top of the order guys and that's what we're looking at for Keenyn. Now we've got two of them, so it's not a bad problem to have."
Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.