As the very first White Sox writer to witness Jake Burger begin his professional career in Kannapolis three years ago, our Dan Victor has been with the slugger from the start. Dan caught up again with Jake this fall, but there was too much good stuff to fit into the story. So here’s a fun bonus Q&A with the resurgent star.
Dan Victor: Is there an area of your game that you are focusing on, or that you see as the key to getting where you want to be?
Jake Burger: Schaumburg really did a great job of helping me dial in my approach and my zone awareness. It will be mostly minor adjustments related to hip load, so I don’t get out on my front side. I’m working on hip flexibility to help with that. Flexibility and mobility.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given related to baseball or otherwise?
Nate Thompson [Burger’s former Missouri State coach, now with Arkansas] taught me mental toughness and used to say, “control the controllable; not everything is in your control, so don’t fret over it, take care of yourself and everything will take care of itself.”
What’s your favorite baseball movie?
“Field of Dreams”, once I played a tournament in Iowa and visited the field afterward. There is just something special about it. [Jake added that he and his father shared a love for the Kevin Costner classic when he was growing up.]
If you were in a baseball movie, who would you want to play you?
I’ve been told that Chris Pratt and I have some similarities, and he was in “Moneyball”, so maybe he could do it.
What are you bingeing on Netflix these days?
“Designated Survivor”. I’ve been crushing it lately, and I am waiting for the next season of “Peaky Blinders”.
I know you are a gamer; what are you playing?
A PC game called Among Us.
When you signed your White Sox contract did you treat yourself, parents, girlfriend to any special purchase?
I bought a car, which I already traded in. I don’t spend that much. I did buy tickets for my parents to the Kentucky Derby that didn’t happen this year.
What advice would you give to somebody getting ready to embark on their minor league career?
I would say don’t take any days off. You need time for family and stuff, but the offseason goes by a lot faster than you think. Live in the moment, and enjoy the memories you make with your teammates. Those are going to last a lifetime.
Is there an MLB player that you model your game after?
I made a couple tweaks in my swing, and I’ve heard guys say it looks like Anthony Rendon, but everybody has their own thing and their own flair.
Who is a prospect in the organization that fans should be excited about, maybe a lesser-known guy who stands out, or has mad tools and just needs some polish or experience?
Chase Krogman. He was at instructs. He has what it takes, a lot of baseball knowledge and talent. He’s also a really good dude and good kid. [Selected out of high school in the 34th round of the 2019 draft, Krogman was given a $190,000 bonus, which was slot value for an eighth round pick.]
Has being a minor leaguer given you the chance to meet a lot of guys you grew up admiring as a fan when you were younger?
When I first got drafted I got to meet Paul Konerko, who was my favorite player growing up. And I also remember spending an hour in the weight room talking to Jim Thome.