Jake Burger

Online prognosticators plan position switch, but White Sox believe Jake Burger will stay at third base

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USA TODAY

Online prognosticators plan position switch, but White Sox believe Jake Burger will stay at third base

Will Jake Burger stay at third base or what?

It’s a perfectly reasonable question, as plenty of prospects have started at one position only to end up moving over to first base when their bat proved more valuable than their glove. Heck, new Hall of Famer Jim Thome was drafted as a shortstop and played third base during his first several big league seasons.

Burger is a masher, the reason the White Sox took him with their first pick in last summer’s draft, and he’s not exactly built like your typical third baseman.

Because of that, the new national pastime of the South Side — projecting the future White Sox lineup — rarely includes Burger at third base. Instead, and I’m as guilty as anyone, Burger is seen as a potential future first baseman by those on the outside. A lot of that has to do with some big-name third basemen hitting the free-agent market in upcoming offseasons, too.

But the bottom line is this: If you’re concerned about Burger’s glove, the White Sox think you shouldn’t be.

“From what I’ve seen, there’s nothing that says that he can’t play third base,” Chris Getz, the White Sox director of player development, said during last month’s SoxFest at the Hilton Chicago. “He’s got a strong arm, he’s got good hands, good reactions. He’s shown some pretty good range, as well.

“If you watch him, it’s probably not the typical. He’s more of a throwback, let’s put it that way. There’s some effort to what he does, but he makes the plays. He’s got great presence in the field, he’s a leader on the field. I do project him to be a third baseman by the time he gets here.”

General manager Rick Hahn talked about how, if all goes according to plan, the White Sox could have championship-caliber options at every position on the diamond. So why throw a crazy amount of money at Manny Machado or Nolan Arenado if Burger’s going to be manning the hot corner? It’s up to Burger and the White Sox player-development staff to prove that would be the case, but it’s an interesting wrinkle to all those down-the-line projections.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Nicky Delmonico and Jake Burger on anything and everything at SoxFest

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Nicky Delmonico and Jake Burger on anything and everything at SoxFest

It was a wild and entertaining conversation with the two White Sox friends and teammates at SoxFest. 

Chuck Garfien and Ryan McGuffey asked Delmonico about recently scoring a goal during Shoot the Puck at the Blackhawks game. If asked, Burger promises to do it wearing actual hockey skates (that would be a first). Burger has Paul Konerko's phone number. Why won't he call him? They go into great detail about taking hot yoga classes together in Arizona.

Does Delmonico think he looks like Scott Podsednik? How close are the White Sox prospects as friends? Will Burger go out for burgers with Garfien at spring training. They both answer White Sox fans questions and more in a blunt, candid edition of the podcast

Jake Burger is one of baseball's top 10 third-base prospects, per MLB Pipeline

Jake Burger is one of baseball's top 10 third-base prospects, per MLB Pipeline

Jake Burger was the White Sox first-round draft pick last summer, but he's gone a bit under the radar thanks to the organization's wealth of highly touted prospects.

Well, MLB Pipeline hasn't missed Burger's big bat, ranking him as one of the top 10 third-base prospects in baseball Tuesday.

MLB Pipeline has been rolling out its top-10 lists at every position since last week, and the White Sox have been well represented, with Michael Kopech the site's No. 3 right-handed pitching prospect and Zack Collins its No. 9 catching prospect. The site will unveil its shortstop and outfield lists on Wednesday and Thursday, and you're almost guaranteed to see Eloy Jimenez's name at or near the top of that list of outfielders.

But seeing Burger's name this high should give White Sox fans yet another reason to get excited about the future. After all, third base has been projected as one of the few places on the diamond that might need an outside addition to put the South Siders over the hump — especially with huge names like Manny Machado and Nolan Arenado slated to hit the free-agent market in the next couple offseasons.

But Burger's rise might prevent a need for a superstar upgrade at the hot corner. He hit a combined 43 home runs in his final two seasons at Missouri State, and he slashed .271/.335/.409 with nine doubles, four home runs, 27 RBIs and 13 walks compared to 28 strikeouts in 47 games at Class-A Kannapolis last season.

Whether Burger sticks at third base or not remains to be seen — something that's been speculated about — as he's obviously got plenty of development left, having just joined the organization last summer.

But to have some folks in the know to rate Burger so highly is only a good sign for the White Sox as the rebuild rolls on.

Plus, look what he's been doing during the offseason:

“Know yourself, know your worth”

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