Cougars Insider: Kane County has a lock on heart with Daniel Lockhart

For a manager, having a roster full of versatile players makes the job so much easier.

The Cougars’ Mark Johnson has one of those players in Daniel Lockhart.

Lockhart has manned second base most of the time this season for the Cougars. But he was a shortstop growing up, and played some third base in short-season Class A Boise last year.

“The thing about Danny is that he has a lot of fluidity in everything he does,” Johnson said. “You need some athleticism, and he has that. He has sure hands and he’s extremely accurate with his throwing.

“His approach at the plate, day in and day out, is getting better. He’s a smart kid. He’s got some aptitude and he wants to learn. He wants to be a good major league ballplayer, and he has that push from his dad.”

His dad is Keith Lockhart, the Cubs’ area scout for southern Georgia and South Carolina. The Cubs took his son in the 10th round of the 2011 draft, and Daniel opted to sign with the Cubs instead of attend Kennesaw State.

Keith Lockhart played 10 years in the majors, reaching the postseason six times. Now, he’s scouting players that the Cubs are signing who could potentially become a teammate of his son, such as Cougars catcher Will Remillard.

“He’ll usually let me know about some of the guys that he’s able to draft and try to introduce them and welcome them to the organization since I’m a little more familiar with it,” Daniel Lockhart said. “Will and I became good friends because of that. It’s definitely cool when that happens.”

Another tie the younger Lockhart has is having a teammate who is also the son of a former big leaguer.

Just one round after the Cubs selected Lockhart in 2011, they selected Shawon Dunston, Jr., a Cougars’ outfielder. The two roomed together in instructional league after they were drafted.

“It’s something that we’ll talk about sometimes,” Lockhart said. “They both played around the same time and played against each other. We definitely learned a lot from each of them.”

On the field, the younger Lockhart has a game and build very similar to that of his father. Keith Lockhart played the majority of his career at second and third and was more of a catalyst than a masher. He hit only 44 career home runs.

In 173 games in the minors, Daniel Lockhart has only one home run, producing a .261 average and a .641 OPS, numbers very similar to his 52 games with the Cougars.

“‘Lock’ is a prototypical No. 2 hitter and I see him being in that spot for a long time,” Johnson said. “He’s going to be a guy that needs to do the little things and work the count and bunt, hit and run, get guys over and then ambush guys later in the game. As the season progresses, he’s going to do that, because he’s a smart kid.”

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