White Sox add more thump with Sheets

White Sox add more thump with Sheets

CHICAGO -- A lot of power, a lot of walks, few strikeouts.

That strategy was expressed by White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler following Day 1 of the 2017 MLB Draft on Monday night as the mantra for targeted position players. It was fulfilled by Hostetler and his crew through picks of right-handed hitting third baseman Jake Burger at No. 11 and then left-handed-hitting Wake Forest first baseman Gavin Sheets at No. 49 overall in the second round.

"We needed power, especially left-handed power," said Hostetler, before preparing for Day 2 of the Draft. "When you look at the pieces [general manager] Rick [Hahn] brought in through trade and what we did last year in the Draft, the middle-of-the-order bats were important for us. We got a third baseman and first baseman and right- and left-handed power with our first two picks.

"It went exactly as planned," added a smiling Hostetler.

White Sox 11th overall: Jake Burger

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 12 p.m. ET.

Sheets, 21, is the son of former Major Leaguer Larry Sheets. He was a target of the White Sox as soon as they selected Burger out of Missouri State. And despite a few worrisome moments in the Draft room, Sheets got to the White Sox at No. 49.

As a junior at Wake Forest this season, Sheets batted .317 with 20 homers and 81 RBIs. He had a .429 on-base percentage and a .634 slugging percentage with 44 walks and 33 strikeouts over 227 at-bats. The Demon Deacons were eliminated by Florida in the Super Regionals Monday night, with Sheets finishing 1-for-4.

"Going into the day, it was extremely exciting knowing I had the opportunity to go to Omaha and also to get drafted and start my journey to professional baseball," said Sheets during a Tuesday conference call. "It was bittersweet how it all worked out, losing to Florida. But getting drafted by the White Sox is a dream come true, and I'm excited to start that journey.

"I hadn't had too much contact with the White Sox leading up to the Draft, but the night before and the day of, [the] contact started to get a little bit stronger. Obviously it ended up working out, and I couldn't be more excited."

Hostetler and his crew returned to the ballpark Tuesday by 9 a.m. CT for rounds 3-10. Position player-wise, the White Sox will be looking up the middle of the diamond and for some power arms who can start. After a strong 2016 Draft in Hostetler's first year at the helm, they had a solid Day 1 with the addition of college bats Monday.

"We got two we were really excited about," Hostetler said. "Both of them [had] more walks than strikeouts. Both of them [hit 20 or more] home runs. Both of them [have] advanced hitting approaches. We were very excited."

"It's pretty ironic the Orioles were playing the White Sox the day I got drafted by Chicago," said Sheets, whose father hit 84 homers over six seasons with the Orioles. "I know a lot about the [White Sox] organization. I've watched guys like [Paul] Konerko and [Jim] Thome go through there. It's got a winning tradition."

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.