With the 11th and 49th pick in the Monday night’s MLB draft, the White Sox added two players to their budding minor league talent pool. Taken at 11 was third baseman Jake Burger out of Missouri State while pick 49 was Gavin Sheets, a first baseman out of Wake Forest.
Burger was ranked as the best third baseman in the draft and was the first hot corner defender taken. The White Sox believe he has the ability to stick at third defensively. Power, however, is Burger’s calling card.
“Jake was the guy we identified early in the process, back with Team USA, as being a guy that we felt had the best right-handed power in the country,” White Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Nick Hosteler said. “Last year we feel like we added the best left-handed power in the country (catcher Zach Collins). This year we added the best right-handed power in the country. We identified Jake early and he was a guy, hit-wise, that was exactly what we wanted to do as an organization.
Burger piled up some meaty numbers in his three seasons with the Bears with a career slash line of .339/.420/.620. In 710 at-bats he posted 47 home runs and 79 walks against 102 strike outs. In 2017, he walked 43 times and struck out 38 times with a .328/.443/.648 slash line and 22 home runs in 247 at-bats.
Power would be the theme of the night. Sheets pounded 20 home runs in in 227 at-bats his final year at Wake Forest. He also put up a .322/.429/.634 slash line and walked more than he struck out (44 walks versus 33 strike outs).
Hostetler has said a number of times that the White Sox are reshaping their organization with plate-discipline throughout the minor leagues. Whether Zach Collins with their first pick of last year’s draft or, now Burger and Sheets, the idea seems to be grabbing bats that know their way around the strike zone and what pitches they can do damage on. In that regard, Burger and Sheets fit cleanly into a talent-packed system that, prior to this draft, was heavier on arms than hitters.