The White Sox announced Friday that they’ve claimed righty Emilio Vargas off waivers from the D-backs and selected the contracts of infielder Jake Burger, right-hander Tyler Johnson and infielder Gavin Sheets. The moves leave the ChiSox with a full 40-man roster.
Vargas, 24, wasn’t included in the D-backs’ player pool in 2020. His 2019 season was spent primarily at the Double-A level, where he worked to a 3.78 ERA and 4.20 FIP with 7.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 1.05 HR/9 and a 42.6 percent grounder rate in 85 2/3 innings (17 starts). He wasn’t considered to be among the Diamondbacks’ 30 best prospects at MLB.com or FanGraphs, but he’ll give the club some rotation depth at the upper levels of the system — that is, of course, assuming he makes it through the offseason on their roster, which isn’t a given.
Burger, 24, was the 11th overall pick in 2017 and has had his career to date decimated by a series of left leg/foot injuries. Burger has twice torn the Achilles tendon in his left leg, and upon returning from that issue in 2019, a heel injury wiped out his entire season. He hasn’t suited up for a game since way back in 2017, the same year he was drafted, but the third baseman was a prolific college hitter who turned in a .263/.336/.412 slash with Class-A Kannapolis after being drafted.
Both Johnson and Sheets are considered to be among the White Sox top 20 or so prospects. Johnson posted a 2.59 ERA and punched out 43 hitters in 31 1/3 innings of minor league relief work in 2019. Sheets was a second-round first baseman out of Wake Forest in 2017 who posted a .267/.345/.414 slash in an extremely pitcher-friendly Double-A setting in 2019 (122 wRC+).