Ht: 6'2" Wt: 210 lb
Acquired: Selected #11 overall in 2017 draft out of Missouri St.
FutureSox Prospect Rankings
- #12 - 2017 Midseason
- #8 - 2018 Preseason
- #14 - 2018 Midseason
- #14 - 2019 Preseason
- #23 - 2019 Midseason
- #16 Prospect in the South Atlantic League, 2017 post-season (Baseball America)
- #84 Prospect in MLB, Pre-season 2018 (Baseball Prospectus)
Jake Burger sported some of the most palpable power in the entire 2017 draft class, which was alluring enough for the White Sox to grab him just outside the top 10 at number #11 overall. Burger slashed .328/.443/.648 (1.091 OPS) his junior year and notably walked more than he struck out (43/38 BB/K). That type of plate discipline juxtaposed with plus power is an elusive combination and a skill set Burger has parlayed into a hot start in pro ball. He quickly signed for a slot-value deal of $3.7 million and after a brief tune up in the AZL got the nod at Low-A Kannapolis. In a small sample with the Intimidators, Burger demonstrated his illustrious eye and seen the power play early but did fade a bit near the end, finishing with a .744 OPS. All this despite being a year younger than the average competition.
***Burger tore his achilles tendon in Spring Training of 2018, then re-tore it in early May of the same year, and will not return to play until sometime during the 2019 season.***
His perceived ability at draft time to shoot up the system was a calling card for Burger, seen as one of the more polished bats in his class. He's a bulky physical specimen, leveraging the stockiness of his build into his power stroke. With solid but not elite bat speed, his strength is a key ingredient to his over-the-fence pop. He's able to get the barrel through the zone by way of a low-maintenance swing, and while the mechanics aren't textbook, it's not a noisy approach. The one mechanical knock noted by a variety of pundits is an arm bar in his swing that may give him hiccups on the inner half. His ability to catch up to inside velocity without getting jammed will be something to watch as he moves up the pro ball ladder. But even the mechanical flaws are outweighed by the low swing-and-miss tendencies that make him a safer play than most power hitters. Where Burger's profile is iffy is on the defensive end, where he doesn't exactly overwhelm but has received decent marks from some. He's not elegant at the hot corner, but did win MVC defensive player of the year honors and can play passable enough defense that he won't sink himself from a value perspective. MLB Pipeline notes that his "solid arm, dependable hands and dogged work ethic" are a few things working for him in that department. Speaking of make up, the organization has publicly raved about Burger's character and his infectious personality. Legend has it that the first words out of his mouth in his pre-draft interview with Nick Hostetler touched on his childhood affinity for both the White Sox and Paul Konerko. The lost season due to his injury throws his ascendancy into some doubt, though the raw tools should all remain and our medical contacts seem to feel he's very likely to recover 100%. Hopefully he can shake off the rust early in 2019 and get back on track.
Major League Outlook: Starting third baseman with dynamic power/average profile
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