White Sox

White Sox

Zack Collins and Zack Burdi are two of 19 non-roster invitees headed to big league camp with the White Sox this spring.

And the White Sox 2016 first round draft picks are itching to get to Camelback Ranch for their first spring training.

"I’m very excited," Collins said. "I think this is a good year to do it too because of the whole World Baseball Classic. Probably gonna be a good amount of opportunity just to meet the big leagues now or up and coming stars. I think it’s going to be a good experience for me and I’m ready to work hard."

For Burdi, he might have some extra motivation — having grown up a White Sox fan.

"It’s crazy. It’s a whirlwind," Burdi said. "Looking back to last June and being in a Louisville jersey and being around all the guys that I grew up with for the last three years and now I’m going to spring ball and most of them are back at school getting ready for their season in college and I’m going to AZ ball. It’s crazy. 

"It’s going to be a real cool experience. I remember going there when I was younger with my family and watching at the Camelback Ranch. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m really excited."

Pitchers and catchers report to Arizona on Feb. 14.

Collins, who turned 22 on Feb. 6, was drafted with the 10th overall pick last year. Before the offseason trades in which Rick Hahn & Co. acquired a number of top prospects, Collins was ranked No. 1.

 

The University of Miami product had six homers and 19 RBI with a .258/.418/.467 slash line in 153 plate appearances in Single-A Winston Salem last year.

"My goals are to play as good as I can and have as much fun as I can," Collins said. "Everything else I can’t really control. That’s what I’ve been doing since I was little and I’m going to keep doing that."

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Across four levels in 2016, Burdi pitched 26 games and had 51 strikeouts with a 3.32 ERA. His most success came at the highest minor league level in Triple-A Charlotte, where he recorded 22 strikeouts in 16 innings with a 2.25 ERA.

During the offseason, Burdi said he's been working closely with pitching coach Don Cooper and bullpen coach Curt Hasler. On the field, the 21-year-old is focusing on the little things like staying on top of the ball and filling the strike zone.

But he also wants to improve off the field, too.

"I’m a 21-year-old kid. I don’t want to feel like I have it all figured out cause I don’t," Burdi said. "I really want to grow and just try and take in as much as possible from the older guys. Carson (Fulmer) was in the same spot as I was last year. Guys like (Carlos) Rodon who have had kind of a college path and then made it to the bigs real quick. Just seeing what their whole take on it is and really grow from their experiences."