Under the Radar details players in the Chicago White Sox system who may have suffered setbacks, gotten lost in the shuffle, or just haven’t surfaced as significant prospects as of yet.
Next up in the series is Ian Dawkins, who started the year in Great Falls but earned promotion to Kannapolis quickly, on July 18.
Ian Dawkins (OF) Kannapolis Intimidators
The five-foot-11, 195-pound outfielder has enjoyed quite a 2018.
After slashing .359/.415/.528 in 248 at-bats for Sacramento State (which tied for second in the WAC), Dawkins was drafted in the 27th round by the White Sox. He produced immediately with Great Falls, to the tune of .328/.362/.437 in his 119 at-bats. Those results with the Voyagers earned him a promotion last week to Kannapolis, where he’s hit .500/.536/.577 during his six games for the Intimidators (which includes his 5-6 day at the plate yesterday with 4 runs, a double, two walks and a stolen base).
Dawkins, who was a senior at the time of the MLB draft, was a model of consistency in his college career, the first two years of which were spent with Chabot Junior College in Heyward, Calif. The outfielder’s combined NCAA slash line in 2018 was .350/.426/.477, and his six homers for the Hornets was a career high. However, he may have sacrificed some contact for power, as he also set a career high in strikeouts with 41.
What does Dawkins bring to the table? He’s already proven to be a solid right-handed line-drive hitter who who can steal some bases. Dawkins snatched eight bags during his 28-game stay with Great Falls, and while power hasn’t been his calling card, he did hit two homers in the higher altitude. At 23 years of age (his birthday was in July), Dawkins was well older than the Pioneer League’s age average, which was among the reasons he was promoted so quickly.
With that said, Dawkins’ offensive game in the minors has been relatively polished (17.48 K%) although his walk percentage is low (6.25%). His BABIP in the minors is currently sitting at .402, but this is consistent with his college results, so it may not be an aberration; expect a drop, however, against stronger competition.
Dawkins has spent 65% of his playing time at center with the rest in left, which says a lot about his range but also may indicate that he doesn’t have an especially strong throwing arm. With that said, he does already have four assists against just one error in the Sox organization to date. So even if he doesn’t have the strongest arm, Dawkins’ throwing accuracy may be above-average, which may be just as important.
If Dawkins continues to hit for Kannapolis, he’d be a solid bet to begin next season with Winston-Salem, with a chance for yet another quick promotion if he gets off to a great start with the Dash. Many older, late-round draft picks in recent history have done well in the lower minors but struggled immensely upon promotion versus stronger competition (outfielder Aaron Schnurbusch immediately comes to mind).
Dawkins’ ability to adjust could ultimately be the determining factor in whether he eventually inserts himself into the crowded outfield prospect picture. If not, Dawkins still will likely have more staying power as an organizational player than a guy like Schnurbusch due to his skill set: contact hitting, speed, and defense.