After the Jake Burger selection, White Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Nick Hostetler said that the club was looking for more “middle of the order bats” with some of his remaining picks and that’s exactly what they achieved with pick No. 49. According to his head coach at Wake Forest, Sheets “hits the ball to all fields and has great power potential.” Gavin is a power-hitting, left-handed first baseman with good defensive skills.
School: Wake Forest
Position: First baseman
Height/Weight: 6-5, 235 pounds
Previously Drafted: 37th Round in 2014 by Atlanta Braves
2017 Stats: .317/.424/.629 21 HR, 84 RBI, 37 K and 46 BB
Gavin Sheets, whose father Larry played 10 major league seasons with the Orioles, Tigers and Mariners, played at Gilman High School in Maryland. He was drafted in the 37th round of the 2014 draft by the Braves. He was a four-year starter and two-year captain at Gilman, where he became the school’s all-time leader in hits, doubles, and RBI. He was All-State in 2012 and 2013.
In 2015, Sheets struggled as a freshman at Wake Forest. He posted an OPS of .655 in 128 at-bats. He was better during his sophomore campaign and slashed .326/.395/.496 with nine homers. Sheets really took off this year with 21 homers, nearly double his total from the previous two years combined.
MLB Pipeline had Gavin Sheets rated as the No. 60 prospect in the 2017 draft class. They graded him out with a 45 hit tool, 55 power, 34 run, 55 arm and 50 fielding.
Pipeline notes that Sheets is an imposing presence with a pretty swing. He has impressive strength, but there is some concern about his ability to do damage vs. big league fastballs. They also noted his improved plate discipline and pitch recognition while at Wake Forest. They also say that he has a chance to hit for average to go along with his huge raw power. He’s a well below average runner but he moves well for his size. The report states that he’s a 1B/DH only so he will have to hit.
Baseball America has Sheets rated as the No. 65 overall prospect in the 2017 draft class. They state that his power is definitely his “carrying tool” but they do have concerns about whether he’ll hit enough to tap into its enormous potential. He “rarely chases outside the zone” and has walked more than he’s struck out this spring. They note that he’s a steady defender that has improved his lateral movement.
Here are some tweets that discuss the Sox selection of Sheets:
Love the idea of Gavin Sheets hitting at U.S. Cellular (not calling in Guaranteed Rate of whatever craziness). Lot of HR potential there
— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) June 13, 2017
Gavin Sheets got a lot better this year, tapped into the power. I like the Duda comp from Dan O’Dowd, who is good at comps
— John Manuel (@johnmanuelba) June 13, 2017
Gavin Sheets is another power hitter with discipline and low K%. BB/K was 44/33 with 20 HRs in 280 PAs. 11.8 K%. Trend forming. #WhiteSox
— Brian Bilek (@BrianBilek_) June 13, 2017
The White Sox have added two power bats to their farm system on the first night of the draft. Hostetler has noted that he’s received a directive from general manager Rick Hahn to stay away from the big strikeout guys if possible and that’s what he did tonight. Hostetler also said that Gavin Sheets was a player that the club targeted early in the process and he was a “target at 49” that they were able to secure.
Here is some footage of Gavin Sheets’ three-homer game from early this season:
The video below is courtesy of 2080baseball.com:
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