Gavin Sheets said the confidence gained from his good performance at the 2016 Cape Cod League paved the way for a monster junior season at Wake Forest.
The second-round pick of the White Sox said Tuesday that there are some similarities between his open stance and Jim Thome’s. The White Sox selected Sheets and first-rounder Jake Burger on Monday night because both have good power and have walked more than they struck out at the collegiate level. Sheets, the son of former Baltimore Orioles outfielder Larry Sheets, hit .322/.429/.634 with 20 home runs and 81 RBIs in 280 plate appearances for the Demon Deacons in 2017.
“When you play in the Cape Cod League you get a taste of what professional ball is going to be like,” Sheets said. “The guys are all guys that are going to get their names called in the next couple of days. Playing there and having success there gives you a lot of confidence heading into the season. I think going up there and having a good season and figuring stuff out with the wood bat, it definitely is huge for me going forward. I definitely attribute that to a lot of the success I had this season.”
Sheets, 21, has seen a sharp increase in his home run total the past two seasons. He went from two homers in his freshman campaign to hitting nine as a sophomore. The first baseman attributes his good approach to being an all-around hitter earlier in his career before his strength increased.
“The power was something I always felt was going to be the last thing to come,” Sheets said. “Being a contact hitter and hitting for singles and doubles throughout college has really helped to me now, as I have power and I'm hitting home runs I still don't strike out a lot. That's something that has been really beneficial. It helps the way that guys have to pitch me. I'm not just a guy that you can throw out of the zone and I'm not a big swing and miss guy, which is really beneficial. I think the progress of gaining power over time and not being a power guy from the beginning has helped me to have more walks than strikeouts and not be a big swing and miss person.”