White Sox Take Keenyn Walker with their first 2011 MLB Draft Selection

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The Chicago White Sox selected switch-hitting outfielder Keenyn Walker out of Central Arizona Junior College with their first pick (47th overall) in tonight’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Yes, due to previous trades the Sox were without a first round pick in the MLB Amateur player draft- but hey JOHN DANKS WON A GAME!

So it’s more than wash- it’s a positive this D-Day.

Walker, a 20-year-old sophomore, batted .402 (86-214) with 11 doubles, eight triples, four home runs, 50 RBI, 76 runs scored and 65 stolen bases in 63 games with Central Arizona this season.  The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Walker posted a .502 on-base and .584 slugging percentage and was successful on 95.6 percent (65-68) of his stolen-base attempts.


“This is a highly athletic kid with plus-plus speed,” said Doug Laumann, White Sox director of amateur scouting.  “He is a scout’s dream.  Keenyn did everything I needed to see from a scouting and performance standpoint – speed, hitting and defense.  He’s a top-of-the-order, leadoff-type guy with pop, and he’s a plus defensive center fielder.”

Walker was previously by the Chicago Cubs in the 16th round of the 2009 draft and by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 38th round in 2010.  He was a two-sport athlete at Judge Memorial High School, intercepting 11 passes as a senior cornerback in football.

The Sox, who did not own a first-round pick for the first time since 1978 (hey the year I was born1), have taken a player from the collegiate ranks with their first pick in each of the last nine drafts.

Walker joins left-handed pitcher Chris Sale (2010, 13th overall), outfielder Jared Mitchell (2009, 23rd) and infielder Gordon Beckham (2008, 8th) as the White Sox most recent first selections in the draft. One of those picks looks good so far, the other kind of/maybe/sort of/not really and the other pick- not so much, but there’s time yet.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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