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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 5: Jake Burger

In many prior seasons, he would have broken camp with the White Sox, but for now he’ll have to sit tight in Charlotte.

Chicago White Sox v Seattle Mariners
Jake Burger bombs will be blasted in Charlotte, not Chicago, to start the 2022 season.
Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Jake Burger
Third Baseman
230 pounds
Age: 25
2018 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 8
2019 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 9
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Ranking: 25
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 17
SSS rank among all third basemen in the system: 1

After a good freshman season with Missouri State, Jake Burger really tore up the Missouri Valley Conference during his final two years. As a sophomore in 2016, he slashed .349/.420/.689 in 56 games with 13 doubles, two triples, 21 homers, 72 RBIs, three stolen bases, 23 walks (8.6%) and 35 strikeouts (13.0%). His junior year was as good as his sophomore one, as he slashed .328/.443/.668 in 63 games with 13 doubles, 22 homers, 65 RBIs, three stolen bases, 43 walks (14.1%) and 38 strikeouts (12.5%).

With the White Sox needing third base help, the White Sox selected Burger with the 11th overall pick in the 2017 draft.

Burger struggled a bit during his 2017 stints with the AZL squad and Kannapolis. In 51 combined games with both teams, he combined to slash .263/.336/.412 with 10 doubles, two triples, five homers, 29 RBIs, 14 walks (6.5%) and 30 strikeouts (13.8%). Burger likely was battling a little fatigue, as this would’ve been his longest baseball season to date.

Then, the injuries began.

Burger tore his Achilles while running to first base during a spring training game in February 2018. He re-tore the same tendon 10 weeks after the initial injury while walking in his backyard, which caused him to miss not only the entire 2018 season but much of 2019 as well. Then, to add injury to insult, Burger severely bruised his heel during his rehab — ultimately derailing any chance of playing time in 2019. He did see action last year in Collegiate League play and at Chicago’s alternate site and instructional league program.

After more than 42 months since his last minor league game, Burger finally took the field for the Charlotte Knights in 2021 — a big step up from Single-A Kannapolis. Despite that layoff, Burger thrived and didn’t seem to miss a beat. In 82 games totaling 310 at-bats for the Knights, he slashed .274/.332/.513 with 16 doubles, two doubles, 18 homers, 54 RBIs, 24 walks (7.1%) and 91 strikeouts (26.8%).

His numbers would have even better if not for a season-ending slump over his last 36 games, when Burger hit just .211. No doubt, the fact that this was by far his longest season played a major role in the slump. A larger factor, however, was that he was placed on the injured list on August 4 due to a hand injury. While he played through it when he returned two weeks later, his results waned. Needless to say, any type of hand injury can affect a hitter’s swing and rhythm.

In-between stints with Charlotte, Burger finally received the ultimate call-up to the big leagues on July 2, and stayed on the White Sox roster for nearly four weeks. In 15 games in Chicago totaling 42 at-bats, Burger slashed a respectable .263/.333/.474 with three doubles, a triple, a homer, four walks (9.5%) and 15 strikeouts (35.7%). He handled all balls that were hit his way at third base. And due to his short stay in the majors, he still retains his rookie eligibility.

MLB Pipeline still gives Burger 55 grades for power and throwing arm, with respectable 50 grades for his hitting and fielding and running tools; his running tool is unsurprisingly his lowest grade at 45. He only committed 10 errors at third base in 2021, which wasn’t bad at all considering his rustiness.

Where does Burger go from here? He appears blocked in the majors at third base by Yoán Moncada, while a multitude of players (Andrew Vaughn, Gavin Sheets, Yasmani Grandal, José Abreu and Eloy Jiménez) seem poised to share DH responsibilities for the time being. Thus, it appears that Burger will be minor league depth, and likely the first call-up to Chicago if Moncada or Vaughn are injured.

2022 South Side Sox Top 100 White Sox Prospects

5. Jake Burger, 3B
6. José Rodríguez, SS
7. Wes Kath, 3B
8. Erick Hernández, LF
9. Jared Kelley, RHSP
10. Bryan Ramos, 3B
11. Matthew Thompson, RHSP
12. Drew Dalquist, RHSP
13. Micker Adolfo, RF
14. Yolbert Sánchez, 2B
15. Romy González, SS
16. Sean Burke, RHSP
17. Jimmy Lambert, RHSP
18. Caleb Freeman, RHRP
19. Luis Mieses, RF
20. Kade McClure, RHSP
21. Tanner McDougal, RHSP
22. Jason Bilous, RHSP
23. Wilfred Veras, 1B
24. Lenyn Sosa, SS
25. Jonathan Stiever, RHSP
26. Brooks Gosswein, LHSP
27. Misael González, RF
28. Terrell Tatum, CF
29. Carlos Pérez, C
30. Bennett Sousa, LHRP
31. Luis Basabe, RF
32. McKinley Moore, RHRP
33. Emilio Vargas, RHSP
34. Blake Rutherford, LF
35. Anderson Severino, LHRP
36. DJ Gladney, 3B
37. Luke Shilling, RHRP
38. Chase Krogman, LF
39. Cristian Mena, RHSP
40. Benyamín Bailey, LF
41. Tyler Johnson, RHRP
42. Andrew Perez, LHRP
43. Tyler Neslony, LF
44. Theo Denlinger, RHRP
45. Hunter Schryver, LHRP
46. Jefferson Mendoza, C
47. Harvin Mendoza, 1B
48. Gil Luna Jr. LHRP
49. John Parke, LHSP
50. Victor Quezada, 3B
51. Haylen Green, LHRP
52. Sammy Peralta, LHRP
53. Yoelvin Polanco, RHRP
54. Taylor Broadway, RHRP
55. Noah Owen, RHRP
56. Luis Curbelo, 3B
57. Bryce Bush, RF
58. James Beard, CF
59. Xavier Fernández, C
60. Wilber Sánchez, SS
61. Kohl Simas, RHRP
62. Johan Dominguez, RHSP
63. Jagger Rusconi, 2B
64. Ronaldo Guzman, LHSP
65. Laz Rivera, 3B
66. Adam Hackenberg, C
67. Will Kincanon, RHRP
68. Lane Ramsey, RHRP
69. Tommy Sommer, LHSP
70. Randel Mondesi, RF
71. Shawn Goosenberg, 2B
72. Zack Muckenhirn, LHRP
73. Cameron Butler, CF
74. Godwin Bennett, RF
75. Logan Glass, CF
76. Dario Borrero, 1B
77. Craig Dedelow, RF
78. Carlos Hinestroza, RHRP
79. Gunnar Troutwine, C
80. Kade Mechals, RHSP
81: Caberea Weaver, CF
82. Layant Tapia, SS
83. Homer Cruz, RHRP
84. Kaleb Roper, RHSP
85. Jerry Burke, RHSP
86. Emerson Talavera, RHRP
87. Isaiah Carranza, RHSP
88. Davis Martin, RHSP
89. Tyler Osik, 1B
90. Samil Polanco, 3B
91. Manuel Veloz, RHRP
92. Pauly Milto, RHRP
93. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
94. Colby Smelley, C
95. Manuel Guariman, C
96. Everhett Hazelwood, RHRP
97. Garrett Schoenle, LHRP
98. Kyle Kubat, LHRP
99. Anderson Comas, RF
100. Jake Elliott, RHRP