The Chicago White Sox seem to be drafting players that follow similar trends.
Those players have an advanced hitting approach, power, and more walks than strikeouts.
With the 49th pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, the White Sox selected 1st basemen Gavin Sheets out of Wake Forest, who does follow all of the White Sox criteria listed above. Wake Forest actually just lost in the Super Regionals, so hopefully getting drafted got Sheets’ mind off things.
Gavin’s dad, Larry Sheets also played in the big leagues for Baltimore Orioles, Detriot Tigers, and Seattle Mariners. It’s always nice when a prospect has someone to lean on that has experience in the big leagues.
Sheets is a 6-foot-4-inch, 230-pound left-handed power bat that has the ability to hit a lot of home runs in a hitter’s friendly park like Guaranteed Rate Field. The most impressive part about Sheets is his ability to improve. He really focused on increasing his power and succeeded by hitting 20 home runs to go along with 81 RBIs this past season. His strikeout to walk ratio is also encouraging. In 230 at-bats, Sheets had 46 walks compared to 34 strikeouts.
His swing is very nice but may be a little long. That has led some scouts to believe Sheets may struggle when it comes to hitting major league fastballs. He also has trouble against left-handed pitching. This isn’t uncommon for left-handed hitters in college and is something that can be improved upon over time by making adjustments and even tweaking a batting stance.
As a defender, Sheets is pretty solid at first but could use some work on his lateral movement in order to improve his range.
MLB.com has Sheets ranked as the No. 60 overall prospect in this year’s draft.
Right now, Sheets projects as a first baseman or designated hitter for the White Sox. He is limited in terms of where he can play on the field. The White Sox clearly drafted the 21-year-old for his bat.
The White Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Nick Hostetler said the White Sox were targeting Sheets most of the night. Hostetler also wanted to make it known that the team was targeting “more middle of the order bats.” The selection of Sheets certainly supports that statement.
An early MLB comparison for Sheets has been Lucas Duda, who never quite lived up to his full potential in the big leagues.
The White Sox finally have a lefthanded power bat to develop. Overall, fans should be excited for the future after Monday’s opening night of the MLB Draft.