DENVER -- The 2017 White Sox Draft class has gone from the excitement of being selected in June to showing what they have on the field.Jake Burger, the team's top pick, selected at No. 11 overall, finished 3-for-3 in grilling Hagerstown during his Class A Kannapolis debut Friday night. Burger
DENVER -- The 2017 White Sox Draft class has gone from the excitement of being selected in June to showing what they have on the field.
Jake Burger, the team's top pick, selected at No. 11 overall, finished 3-for-3 in grilling Hagerstown during his Class A Kannapolis debut Friday night. Burger stands as one of the 18 position players selected by the White Sox and as one of the 34 collegiate players taken among the 40.
Going college-heavy could be considered by some as a safer route, with the White Sox targeting power and a strong plate approach in this most recent Draft. But White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler, who took 11 hitters among the first 16 during his second Draft in charge, doesn't believe there's anything safe about taking hitters.
"We see that over time in baseball, it's just so hard to hit," Hostetler said. "When you take some pitchers, there's a little bit more safety.
"If they are starters, they have a backup plan as a reliever. If a hitter doesn't hit, he's not going to play. There are high school hitters that are far more advanced and maxed out than some college guys.
"We've seen with Jake and second-round pick Gavin Sheets in the last two years, they have really started to improve their power numbers," Hostetler said. "We feel like we got them on the uptick."
Hostetler also pointed out that selecting already-polished hitters doesn't mean they won't become high-end talent.
"No question, absolutely," Hostetler said. "What you see is, when those guys do that, when you get a guy who knows the strike zone, but there's power to come or he can improve in the field and increase his value significantly just by playing a premium position, those are the things where college guys have value."
While the White Sox certainly would enjoy seeing more 3-for-3 outings from Burger and other '17 Draft picks, their first-year success is far from totally based on results.
"To be honest, we actually don't care too much about statistics when it comes to these guys right out of the gate," White Sox director of player development Chris Getz said. "We know the adjustment they are going to be facing. We want to get them into the system, get to know these guys and start the development process vs. the full-bore evaluation."
"They just have to get accustomed to professional baseball," Hostetler said. "Not having to go to class every day. Learning to hit against premium stuff every single day. Just the ins and outs of managing your life, and understanding the future is in your hands. You control everything from that point out. As long as they get that and understand it, they are going to have success."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.