Draft made a family affair for White Sox
South Siders select younger Danks sibling in seventh round
CHICAGO -- Spring vacation plans just became a bit easier for the Danks family.
Jordan Danks, the younger brother of left-hander John Danks, was selected by the White Sox in the seventh round at the start of the second day of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft on Friday. The pick of the junior outfielder from the University of Texas continued a family affair, of sorts, from the day before, when Ken Williams Jr. was taken in the sixth round by the White Sox.
Ken Williams, the proud father and White Sox general manager, pretty much left this particular choice up to director of amateur scouting Doug Laumann and the rest of the organization's higher-ups in the war room. The younger Williams also wasn't scared off by joining an organization in which the man in charge has the same name.
"He grew up a White Sox fan, so this is where he wanted to be," said Williams of his son. "He has a desire to compete and make it to the big leagues and win a championship. He wants to do it here.
"It's better if he's just allowed to go out and play. I had some serious reservations about selecting him and at one point, I told our guys to just let him go elsewhere so he doesn't have to deal with whatever he's going to deal with in having the same name.
"They kept coming back to me saying, 'No, we think you are making a mistake because he could be one of the best athletes we have in the organization and we shouldn't let him pass by because of his name,'" Williams added. "I had to get out of the way."
Using the sixth-round pick on his son ended up being a good move by Williams. He had heard a rumor that a few teams on the clock after the White Sox had looked at Ken Jr., and those were teams that Williams somewhat sarcastically said he "would not have been happy about."
The Cubs and every American League Central team but the Royals picked after the White Sox in the sixth round.
"Rumors are rumors, and I'm going to find out if they are true," said Williams with a wry smile. "I'm glad he's on our side. He has a good makeup and goes after it hard."
Williams felt as if the selection of Jordan Danks, in a lower round than he was originally projected, almost served the purpose of making up for the lost second-round pick to Milwaukee via the free agent signing of Scott Linebrink. John Danks, who nervously moved around the clubhouse on Thursday waiting to hear about his brother, understandably was excited to receive the news on Friday.
With the younger Danks expected to sign, it should be a true family affair in Spring Training next March.
"You know, it's just one of those things where we're happy just to get him drafted," said John Danks of his brother, who was originally drafted by the White Sox in the 19th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. "It was a hard first day. We expected him to go higher than he did.
"Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. But in hindsight, I don't think it could have worked out any better, coming over here to the White Sox. Hopefully, he can get to the Minor Leagues and have a couple of good years and we can play together some day. He's very good. The way we're looking at it, it's a steal for the White Sox, getting him where they did."
Christopher Cron, a high school catcher from Arizona and the son of Great Falls manager Chris Cron, was taken in the 44th round. Travis Otto, a first baseman from Wheaton North High School and son of former Cubs pitcher Dave Otto, went to the White Sox in the 49th round.
White Sox top five selections
|8.||SS||Gordon Beckham||U of Georgia|
|86.||3B||Brent Morel||Cal Poly San Luis Obispo|
|120.||RHP||Andrew O'Neil||Penn St U|
|150.||RHP||Daniel Hudson||Old Dominion U|
|180.||CF||Kenneth Williams||Wichita St U|
|Complete White Sox Draft results >|
Who could be next on this family Draft tree, with both Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen having a son in the organization? Maybe Emily Danks, possibly the best athlete in the family, who is on her way to play volleyball for Ohio St? White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf also might be able to recommend a few candidates down the line.
"Actually, I have a couple of grandsons that have a shot, but it will be a few years," Reinsdorf said.
A better candidate would be Ozney Guillen, the youngest son of the White Sox manager, who just completed his sophomore year in high school in Miami. According to Williams, Ozney Guillen could be a first-round pick.
But it's not just about talent for Ozney. It's also about having that innate knowledge concerning the game from being around it for all his life. The same holds true for Ken Williams Jr. and even Jordan Danks.
Of course, even being the son of the general manager doesn't necessarily save him from being part of a trade.
"I already told him that if I get the right deal, he's gone," Williams said. "And he said, 'You know what, Dad? I watched you all my life, and I know.' I'm not kidding. It might create some family issues, but sorry. I'll try not to, but if we have a chance to win a championship. ..."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.