The game of baseball can be a cruel profession. There are many twists and turns associated with it that can make the climb up the ladder difficult and rewarding at the same time. When you are a number one pick, that journey becomes one that a lot of people pay attention to. Jake Burger was the top overall pick of the Chicago White Sox in 2017. His signing bonus was over three million dollars, but his ability to make his mark with the ball club has been hampered by injuries. He has missed the last two seasons, because of tearing his Achilles Tendon not once, but twice. He also suffered a bruised left heel as well. His last time on the field for the White Sox was back in September of 2017 in Class A ball. Now fully healthy, Burger was looking forward to getting back on the field.
The team and the player needed to find somewhere to play him but with no minor league season because of the Covid-19 problem, finding that place was not going to be easy, the White Sox got clever based on Burger asking for a chance to get some game action in. So the team not only agreed but went back to where Burger played college baseball to find a way to get their former No.1 pick back on the field. The Car-Shield Collegiate League is based in Missouri with six teams that play a 30-game schedule that consists of seven-inning games. The league was put together because the Prospect League was shut down for the summer because of the virus that is causing all sorts of problems for sports of all kinds.
This became an even better set up for Burger based on the man that was put in charge of this league. Joe Lincoln was a volunteer assistant at Missouri State where Burger played his college baseball. Lincoln became the commissioner of the league and was happy to be able to find Burger a place to play. The season, which started up on July 1 and ended on Aug.14, gave Burger and the White Sox what they both wanted, playing time at third base and at-bats. Now it can be stated that the level of play would not befit someone who would become a first-round pick. But given the lack of options that both the team and player had, playing anywhere was better than not playing at all.
Although Burger did not play the entire schedule in the Car-Shield league, he played enough to show the White Sox that he is back to the form that convinced the team to take him with the first pick in the 2017 draft. In the end, it was a win-win for both parties. Burger is now working out with the pool of players that are at an alternative site as the White Sox are making a push for the playoffs. The disappointment of not being on the original 60-player pool has not stopped Burger from trying to live up to his number one status. And if he can stay away from the injuries that have been a part of his early career with the White Sox, he can still be a major part of Chicago playoff march and the future of the team.