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White Sox Select Sean Burke in the Third Round (94th overall)

Burke is the South Siders’ first pitcher and college selection of the draft

Ready for the next step: After dominating Big Ten competition, Sean Burke got drafted in the third round.

The White Sox selected their first pitcher and their first college player of the 2021 MLB Draft. Sean Burke, a righthander from the University of Maryland, is coming to the White Sox.

Burke stands at 6´6´´ and is listed at 230 pounds. During his two years in college, Burke pitched 97 innings and had a 2.97 ERA. He held opposing hitters to a batting average of only .179. Perhaps the most impressive part of his stat line at Maryland is how easily he managed to miss bats, as he racked up 142 strikeouts (13.2 K/9). The Big Ten is a high-scoring environment, with the average team totaling 5.77 runs per game in 2021. Burke deserves a lot of credit for his dominance against a tough group of college hitters.

A caveat is that Burke averaged 4.9 walks per nine innings during his college career. That is a number that will need to come down for him to sustain a low ERA at higher levels.

Burke had Tommy John near the end of his senior year in high school and missed his entire true freshman season rehabbing as a result. However, Burke can reach 95 mph with his fastball, and FanGraphs emphasizes the effectiveness of his fastball/curveball combination.

MLB Pipeline’s grades for Burke are promising compared to the typical third rounder. These are on a scale of 20-80, with 50 being average. Having three above-average pitches will be a significant advantage if he develops properly and improves his control. Here are his grades:

Fastball 60
Curveball 55
Slider 55
Changeup 45
Control 45
Overall 50

MLB Pipeline ranked Burke No. 75 on its list of top 100 prospects in this year’s draft. The No. 94 draft slot is tagged with a $618,200 bonus.

While it’s nothing you wouldn’t expect a ballclub to say after a pick, but in a Zoom conference with media later in Monday’s draft day, director of amateur scouting confessed that he had scouts clamoring for Burke to be the White Sox’s first round pick this year.

Congratulations to Burke on getting drafted, and it will be a pleasure to follow his progress through the organization.