As I wrote yesterday, whether the White Sox made “good” or “bad” selections remains to be seen and may have nothing to do with whether they made the best decision possible at the time. All we know is the general profile of the two players they drafted with the 11th and 49th overall picks last night. Both are power first corner infielders who performed well against good college competition. It’s a profile I thought might have value where the White Sox were picking as a general concept, but who knows if that will turn out well either.
Jake Burger may very well wind up sticking at third base, which would certainly be helpful, as it would mean whatever production he could add with the bat would be that much more valuable and increase roster flexibility. And, if the White Sox’ third baseman of the future is in the organization already, it’s not clear who that is. Gavin Sheets is evidently first base only, but not in the “this dude is going to be a DH by age 25″ way, in that he can handle the position well.
I spotted some discussion last night of how these picks create “problems” moving forward based on the assumption that Jose Abreu may still be around when one or both of them reach the majors and/or given that Zack Collins may yet wind up at 1B/DH as well. That line of thinking is a very close cousin to the traps that I wrote about in yesterday’s draft article. If, in fact, Sheets, Burger, and Collins need to play at 1B/DH but they’re all hitting well enough such that you want to play them all, that’s still a pretty good outcome. Collins is still in High-A and neither Burger nor Sheets has signed a contract yet. If they all start forcing their bats into a major league lineup that’s a pretty excellent problem to have. The overwhelming likelihood is that at least one of them won’t make it.
It’s also premature in the sense that, as mentioned above, Burger may very well stay at third, and Collins has made strides defensively at catcher.
Zooming out a little, these players fit strategies that have worked for good organizations in the past — Theo Epstein and the Cardinals have frequently picked “best bat available and figure out the rest later” in recent years and had it work out quite well for them. Similarly, although you can never have too much up the middle talent, the White Sox’ organizational prospective depth among position players has improved of late. Obviously the plan is to have Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada up the middle for the foreseeable future, with Leury Garcia and Yolmer Sanchez suddenly looking like serviceable second division starters or quality back-ups.
Going further down the depth chart, the aforementioned Collins still hopes to represent the catcher of the future, while Luis Alexander Basabe and Luis Robert offer further hope up the middle. Meaning, as Nick Hostetler mentioned after his first two picks last night, that the White Sox need bats. Just dudes who can mash. First basemen, left fielders, even players who will rotate through the DH slot.
When it comes to baseball, you should be extremely skeptical of those who will take minor league prospects and pencil them into some sort of future lineup. And, even if you think you have “too many” shortstops or whatever similar fictional problem you may have, it doesn’t hurt to draft more of them if you think they’re the best player available when you select. All of that said, the White Sox appear to have a credible major leaguer in his 20s and a credible backup for both middle infield spots, and potentially in center field as well.
That makes it that much easier to grab what Craig Goldstein might refer to as “beefy boys” with the hopes that they will help drive the offense while Anderson and Moncada are doing all the premium athletic stuff.
The White Sox may not ultimately get what they hoped for out of Burger or Sheets or any of these guys. But you can certainly see how it all could fit together if they do.
Lead Photo Credit: Kim Klement – USA Today Sports Images