As we continue our Chicago White Sox draft coverage leading up to the MLB Draft tomorrow, we take a look at University of Missouri State third-baseman, Jake Burger. Burger, a Junior out of Chesterfield, Missouri holds an average ranking of 19, ranking as high as 16th on MLB Pipeline and as low as 22nd on FanGraphs’ list of top available draft prospects.
With the impending departure of White Sox third-baseman Todd Frazier, and the lack of consistent plate discipline shown by Matt Davidson, third base is an area that the White Sox could look to fill in the first round of tomorrow’s MLB Draft.
Burger, a six-foot-two, 210 pound third-baseman would more than likely be available at number 11 if the White Sox decided to go that route. Burger is hitting .332 with 22 home runs and 65 RBI through 62 games this season for the Missouri State Bears. The junior is one of the better power-hitters available in this years draft, but would likely be seen as a reach for the White Sox at number 11.
MLB Pipeline gave Jake Burger the following grades on the 20/80 scale:
Hit:50 / Power:55 / Run:50 / Throw:55 / Fielding:50 / Overall:55
Burger is regarded by many as the best power bat in this year’s draft, but do the White Sox pass on the need to fill the void in the outfield to select the slugging third-baseman is the question. After going undrafted out of high school, Burger has emerged as a legitimate power threat at the hot corner for MSU in his three seasons at the collegiate level.
Burger was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year after finishing the regular season with a .341 batting average complimented by 22 home runs and 63 RBI, after hitting 21 home runs in 2016 during his Sophomore season with the Bears.
Burger has an solid command of the strike zone and hits for average very well for a power hitter, something that the White Sox immensely value. Burger scored solid grades in both the run and fielding categories, making him more than just a one-dimensional home run hitting prospect.
Burger’s best tool is obviously his power, a lofty right-handed stroke that translates well for the ability to hit for power to all areas of the field.
Some worry about Burger’s large frame and his ability to make things look smooth and how that will play out at third-base at the professional level, but his results show that despite those concerns, he gets the job done more often than not.
Another concern is that Burger’s power is generated more from his raw strength than his bat speed, something that will need to improve greatly at the professional level. When he does improve his bat speed though, his power production will be that much better due to his raw strength. If he fails to improve his bat speed in the future, his ability to hit for average as well as power will be negatively affected.
The fit is there obviously, however my biggest concern with taking Burger at number 11 is that the White Sox will be passing on a better player by doing so.
Burger is a big, strong power-hitting corner infielder, who would fill the need at third base for the White Sox, but there are a few players that I would not like to see the White Sox pass on in order to draft Burger. The first is Pavin Smith, if he is available, he has to be the pick for the Sox without a doubt. The second is Adam Haseley, who is a project-able everyday player who would provide the White Sox with an outfielder who can get on base at a high rate and play all three positions.
I would not be disappointed if the Sox passed on Jeren Kendall to select Burger, as Kendall’s strike-out rate is more than enough to make him a considerable gamble at number 11. The Luis Robert signing and the presence of Luis Alexander Basabe within the White Sox farm system makes me more comfortable with the White Sox taking a corner infielder in round one instead of an outfielder.
If both Smith and Haseley are gone when the number 11 pick rolls around, Jake Burger is the next best fit for the White Sox in round one.
Check out our other White Sox Draft Profiles: