Another under slot pick could be a college bat, and while he’s not a middle of the field defender, he’s a solid defender at the hot corner and the bat provides a lot of power. Jake Burger has been a name I’ve kept an eye on since Jim Callis floated him up there as a potential under slot pick at 7. Burger has the makings to be a very good 3B with enough defense to stick and a powerful bat from the right side, with potentially 25+ homers every season. Competition level is always a concern since you’re drafting a player from the Missouri Valley Conference, but you’re talking about a guy who dominated the competition and on a team that has performed well in the NCAA tournament the last 3 seasons.
Hit: Burger played against weaker competition, but put up a .349/.420/.689 slash as a sophomore then .335/.451/.665 as a junior. The BABIP dropped as a junior by 24 points, but he improved his walk rate by 5%, producing a higher OBP as a junior. The improvement in walk and strikeout rate as a junior makes me less concerned about his ability to make consistent contact. Grade: 50/60
Power: Power is Burger’s calling card. He’s blasted out 43 home runs in the last two seasons, and has 25+ home run power at the MLB level as long as the hit tool doesn’t decline in the pros. Going from his sophomore to junior year, the drop in BABIP didn’t have a huge impact on his ISO as that only dropped 10 points. Grade: 60/65
Speed: Burger is going to be limited to a corner infield spot due to lack of plus running speed. However, he is surprisingly fast for a thick-framed guy since his body type screams first baseman. He’s not much of a base-stealer mostly because he’s driving in runners on base. Could develop into a 10 steal threat with the right coaching and better conditioning. Grade: 45/50
Defense: Question is whether he’ll be limited to 1B or if he can stick to 3B. His body type screams 1B, but he has decent enough mobility where he should be able to stick at 3B. He has the work ethic that he can tireless improve his glove there and with better conditioning could add a step or two to his range. Grade: 45/55
Burger reminds me a lot of Paul Goldschmidt coming out of college. I won’t say that Burger is going to have the same amount of success in the majors as Goldy will have because that’s unfair to place such expectations on anyone. Burger is a bad-body slugger who put up prodigious home run totals in college and has incredible makeup grades. The Diamondbacks are going to have to make sure they keep Burger’s weight under control and work on conditioning himself into a better athlete so he can hold up longer. Burger does have All-Star potential at 3rd if things go right. There’s enough glove where there is no urgency to move him off 3B and he has enough bat to be an everyday player in the majors.