DETROIT – It’s a moment that any player that enters a Major League Baseball organization dreams of when they first step on a field.
It’s one that Jake Burger is living on Friday, though his road to a career accomplishment was quite different from others in the White Sox organization.
The 2017 first round pick will make his MLB debut at third base in place of the injured Yoan Moncada (hand) as the White Sox start their series with the Tigers at Comerica Park at 6:10 PM. It comes after an outstanding season with the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte, but most notably after a number of injuries slowed his progress to the majors.
After making his debut in the organization in the minors in 2017 with Winston Salem & Kannapolis, Burger earned an invite to 2018 spring training. It was then that he tore his left achillies, which ended his season, and when he did so again at home later that year, it cost him a significant amount of the 2019 season.
Then came a bruised heel which knocked him out for the rest of the campaign as Burger failed to appear in a minor league game for two seasons. When the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the entire minor league season in 2020, he joined the CarShield College League in Missouri to get some games in.
Burger’s success in that earned him the right to join the White Sox alternate team in Schaumburg later that summer after not initially making the roster. He was then put on the 40-man roster for the major league club in the offseason.
With some momentum and good health, Burger has showed his full potential in 2021, hitting .322/.368/.596 with ten homers and 36 RBI. It earned him a spot in the MLB Futures Game on Sunday, July 11th at Coors Field in Denver and now the shot to make his major league debut on Friday.
Burger said he got word of the promotion on Thursday, and while excited, is keeping the same mindset he did during his injury-plagued days of 2018 and 2019.
“I’m still taking it day-by-day, but it feels really good,” said Burger on Friday before his debut. “It’s kinda cool and kind of a surreal feeling. I’m still numb. But I’m just taking it day-by-day, pitch by pitch, and I’m just going to go out there, compete, and have fun.”
After all, he’s earned it.