While there are few doubts about Jake Burger’s bat, some analysts have raised some questions about his glove.
The third baseman hit for plenty of power and walked more than he struck out during his junior season at Missouri State. But draft experts wonder Burger -- whom the White Sox took with the 11th pick in the amateur draft on Monday -- can stick at third base.
White Sox scouting director Nick Hostetler said the club thinks Burger’s arm and feet will keep him at the hot corner. Not everyone agrees with the club, however.
“Few scouts think Burger stays at third,” said ESPN.com’s Keith Law.
Baseball America’s scouting report also casts some doubt on whether or not Burger is good enough to stay at third. But, BA left some wiggle room as to his future position.
“Whether Burger can stick at third base will depend on how much work the team that drafts him is willing to do. His feet work relatively well and his arm is average and accurate, but he lacks a quick first step and is limited in his range.”
The White Sox faced similar questions about last year’s first-rounder Zack Collins and whether or not he would stay at catcher. Collins has thrown out 39 percent of stolen base attempts this season at Single-A Winston-Salem.
“Just as we felt that Zack last year was going to catch, we feel Jake's going to stay at third base,” Hostetler said. “He's got a plus arm, a 55-60 arm on a scouting 20 to 80 scale. His feet work really well, hands work well. Once he gets with Buddy Bell and Chris Getz and with our instructors, we think he's just going to get better. He's a definite third baseman for us.”
Burger’s bat has been graded much higher than his glove. MLBPipeline.com -- which has Burger sticking at third – gives Burger a 50 grade hit tool on the 20-80 scouting scale and 55 power. The site evalutes Burger as “one of the top power sources available in a draft class short on college hitters,” though “there are some worries about an arm bar in his right-handed swing.”
Wrote ESPN’s Keith Law: “Everyone seems to think he’ll hit and hit for power, with hard, loud contact all over the field.”
Baseball America complimented Burger’s pitch recognition and also mentioned the arm bar in his swing -- “but he’s been strong enough to make it work.”
“Last year we feel like we added the best left-handed power in the country and this year we added the best right-handed power in the country,” Hostetler said.