With Yoan Moncada destined to be traded, Jake Burger will look to take over at third base for the Chicago White Sox. Several injuries have forced the White Sox to play Burger, with stints at third base and designated hitter. The 27-year-old is slashing .239/.321/.648 with eight home runs and 16 RBI through 24 games played. The concerning part, however, is the number of strikeouts that Burger has fallen victim to. According to Baseball Savant, Burger has struck out 26 times, earning him a 32.1 K% which ranks 22nd among players with at least 75 plate appearances this season. Burger hasn’t exactly been sound defensively, either.
Jake Burger is BACK! pic.twitter.com/bdxi2PrCVg
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) May 14, 2023
*All stats listed are prior to 5/15/23
Jake Burger Player Profile
The Hitting Bug
A home run every three games is impressive, but at what cost? In 24 games this season, Burger has managed to go deep eight times. However, that includes a 41.9 chase% and a 35.2 whiff%. Burger needs to become a smarter, more patient hitter if he wants to see consistent at-bats. Compared to last season, his numbers are mixed. Burger is up 5.3% on out-of-zone swings, and 1.5% on strikeout percentage. However, his numbers are up 18.9% on sweet spot contact, and 9.0% on barrel contact. A dramatic increase in hard hit % this year is a promising addition to an already power-loaded White Sox lineup.
Jake Burger has had his fair share of problems defensively. Paired with Eloy Jimenez on the left side of the field has proved to be a defensive nightmare for the White Sox. Both players are better off at DH, however, that spot will be filled by Jimenez, leaving Burger to play at third base. In 55 attempts this season, Jake Burger has a success rate of 62%, which ranks 252nd among qualified defenders. He has an OAA rating of -1, which is below average. A full-time role would only expose him more, so Burger needs to focus on cleaning up his defensive play.
Potential Star in the Making
Jake Burger has all the tools to develop into a star player. Cleaning up the strikeouts will turn him into a fundamentally sound batter who hits for power. Although his defensive performance has not been ideal, he will need to work on it as the DH spot will most likely be filled by Eloy Jimenez. The DH spot is currently occupied by Gavin Sheets, but once everyone is healthy, Sheets will play right field and Jimenez will move to DH. Becoming a more patient hitter will significantly help Burger in the long run. An everyday role will boost the confidence of Burger, but for now, the Moncada drama continues.
Success isn’t guaranteed for Jake Burger, and it’s hard to tell how quickly and efficiently he will develop. However, unlike Moncada, if Burger can stay on the field more consistently in addition to an everyday role, he can become an exciting star to watch for the next several years.
Main photo credits:
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports