The White Sox loaded up on the long ball on Monday night.
After they selected power hitter Jake Burger earlier in the first round, the White Sox targeted and acquired Wake Forest first baseman Gavin Sheets in the second round. The son of former Baltimore Orioles’ outfielder Larry Sheets, Gavin Sheets produced a .322/.429/.634 with 20 home runs and 81 RBIs in 280 plate appearances for the Deamon Deacons. He also walked 44 times and struck out only 33. Burger hit 22 taters and walked 43 times while only striking out 38 at Missouri State this season. Power and plate discipline were two aspects the White Sox felt they needed to add in a vastly improved farm system.
“A lot of power, a lot of walks, little strikeouts,” amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. “That’s kind of the whole goal to it.
“We needed power, especially left-handed power. When you look at the pieces (general manager Rick Hahn) brought in through trade and what we did last year in the draft, the middle of the order bats were important for us. We got a third baseman and first baseman and right- and left-handed power with our first two picks. It went exactly as planned.”
The White Sox had added several position players through the first seven months of the draft, but no pure power hitters. Both Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert project to have 55 power on the 20-80 scouting scale, according to MLBPipeline.com. Last year’s first-rounder Zack Collins also grades at 55 and has hit nine homers this season at Winston-Salem.
But beyond the trio, the White Sox don’t have an overwhelming amount of power in the system.
The additions of Burger and Sheets, both of whom also grade out at 55, gives the White Sox a number of options. Burger was the No. 16-ranked prospect in the draft and Sheets is No. 60. While the White Sox selected both ahead of their projected rankings, they were pleased to nab two of the better power bats in a college class short on them. Hostetler said the White Sox called Sheets immediately after they went on their Burger run to let them know of their interest.
“We got two we were really excited about,” Hostetler said. “Both of them more walks than strikeouts. Both of them home runs in the 20s. Both of them with advanced hitting approaches. We were very excited. We were sweating a few picks. We weren’t sure (Sheets) would get to us.”