Third-Rounder Sean Burke Addresses Immediate Need For White Sox

Well aware of the talented high school infielders on the board in the 2021 draft, the White Sox used their top two picks on promising preps.

They selected shortstop Colson Montgomery in the first round and third baseman Wes Kath in the second.

With its third-round pick, Chicago addressed a more immediate need and landed Maryland righthander Sean Burke.

“It was a situation where the scouts’ evaluation aligned with what we were seeing from a pitch data standpoint,” said Chris Getz, Chicago’s assistant general manager/director of player development.

“Although Sean’s production wavered during his college season, the pitch data remained strong. That made us even more convicted to select him.”

With the Terrapins in 2021, Burke appeared in 14 games (13 starts) and recorded a 3.27 ERA. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound righthander had 107 strikeouts in 74.1 innings but he also issued 42 walks.

Considering Burke missed the entire 2019 season recovering from Tommy John surgery and was limited to four starts the following year due to Covid-19, he’s finally in a spot to take off.

Following a quick stop in the Arizona Complex League, the 22-year-old made five starts for Low-A Kannapolis and pitched to a 3.21 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 14 innings.

Like at Maryland, Burke still has to do a better job locating the strike zone. He walked 10 in his short stint with Kannapolis.

“His fastball command is an area of focus,” Getz said. “His miss is often up, which can be successful for swing and miss. But he needs to be in the zone more.”

When he returns to Kannapolis in 2022 for what the White Sox hope is a brief stay, Burke should be much better locating a fastball that regularly hits 96 mph.

“We have some tools to isolate certain parts of the strike zone to increase focus in a pitcher’s drill work,” Getz said. “This can lead to physical and mental adjustments. We like to start with external work to lead the adjustment making before overhauling physical movement patterns to solve a problem.”




— Lefthander Brandon Finnegan, who made 44 starts for the Reds from 2015-18, is joining Chicago on a minor league contract.

— With the 21st pick in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft, the White Sox selected shortstop Moises Castillo from the Cardinals. The 22-year-old split last season between High-A Peoria and Double-A Springfield and hit .217/.301/.321 in 88 games.

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