White Sox GM Chris Getz says pitching prospect Jake Eder is close to the majors

The lefty, who was acquired from the Marlins in the trade for Jake Burger, is working on fixing his flaws.

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White Sox prospect Jake Eder.

Jake Eder struck out 70 but walked 36 in 56 2/3 innings in 2023, including 15 in 17 1/3 innings at Double-A Birmingham after being dealt for White Sox fan favorite Jake Burger.

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — There have been instances that explain why former White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams was willing to trade slugger and fan favorite Jake Burger to the Marlins for left-handed pitching prospect Jake Eder.

For instance, Eder displayed a mid-90 mph fastball and a sharp-breaking slider to whiff Guardians slugging prospect Kyle Manzardo with ease for one of his four strikeouts in a two-inning-plus stint in an Arizona Fall League game on Oct. 16.

‘‘He’s not far off,’’ Sox general manager Chris Getz said.

But there also are cautionary signs, which is why a stint at a pitcher/catcher camp in September at the Sox’ spring-training facility and a current assignment for Glendale in the AFL serve as an apprenticeship for an eventual major-league promotion.

In the same game against Peoria, Eder lacked command, threw only 29 of 55 pitches for strikes and was pulled after issuing his fourth walk to start the third, even though he hadn’t allowed any hits.

A lack of concentration enabled Jakob Marsee to steal third base with ease, five pitches after Marsee had stolen second despite Eder paying closer attention to him while on first.

‘‘I’m not concerned,’’ Getz, who took over as the Sox’ top baseball decision-maker one month after Eder was acquired, said of some of the flaws.

Despite the flock of fans who were angry about the departure of Burger and his blue-collar style, the Sox’ front office has been very deliberate in its handling of Eder.

The front office sent Eder, ranked eighth among the organization’s prospects by Baseball America, to Glendale for a thorough examination. In addition to participating in the pitcher/catcher camp, Eder was sent to the Sox’ non-ballyhooed pitch lab to have his delivery scrutinized and to identify mechanical flaws that could be corrected and allow him to throw his mid-90s fastball with more consistency.

‘‘I’ve been here for a couple of months now and got a good relationship with all the pitching coaches and coordinators,’’ the 6-4, 215-pound Eder said. ‘‘So it’s been productive.’’

The strikeout of Manzardo was reminiscent of what Eder did after being selected as a fourth-round pick of the Marlins in the pandemic-shortened 2000 draft out of Vanderbilt.

Eder responded to the challenge of starting the 2021 season at Double-A Pensacola, striking out 99 in 7113 innings with a 1.77 ERA before undergoing Tommy John surgery in August that sidelined him for all of 2022.

Eder struck out 70 but walked 36 in 5623 innings in 2023, including 15 in 1713 innings at Double-A Birmingham after being dealt for Burger.

Eder is two years removed from surgery, so he believes the most urgent concern has been alleviated.

‘‘I feel like I still got some stuff to work on, but my arm feels good,’’ Eder said. ‘‘We’ve been working hard since we got here, so we’re just progressing start to start.”

The AFL serves as a way for Eder to get on-the-job training and make up innings lost during the first two months because of a fractured left foot.

‘‘It’s given me some extra time to work on some things and get everything dialed in for spring training,’’ he said. ‘‘Essentially, it’s getting everything right, from my delivery to getting my pitches refined to how I want them, so I feel really good going into spring training.’’

A veteran major-league scout who saw Eder’s start against Peoria observed that he needed to refine his delivery and said his control struggles mirror those of former major-league left-hander Shawn Estes, who won 19 games but walked a National League-high 100 in 201 innings in 1997 and was saddled with control issues throughout most of his 13 major-league seasons.

The scout added that Eder might be better-suited as a middle-inning reliever unless he curbs his wildness soon.

Getz, however, wasn’t as concerned because of Eder’s acumen and thorough preparation.

‘‘He’s finishing his first full [professional season],’’ Getz said. ‘‘He’s very intelligent. He’s going to find it. It’s a matter of time.’’

The development of a changeup would serve as a ‘‘separator’’ for Eder, Getz acknowledged, but regaining command of his two primary pitches remains a priority. Eder’s slider is more effective when he can throw his fastball to all quadrants of the strike zone.

Besides, the Sox will give Eder as many resources and time as needed. The deadline trades for Nick Nastrini (from the Dodgers’ organization), Ky Bush (Angels) and Eder could represent the fulcrum of the Sox’ future rotation, pending the futures of ace Dylan Cease (who can become a free agent in 2026), mercurial Michael Kopech and Garrett Crochet (who was nagged by soreness in his left shoulder after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2022).

‘‘The goal for me is to be in the starting rotation in 2024,’’ Eder said. ‘‘That was my goal all along, and it will continue to be. And it’s kind of nice to be part of — I wouldn’t say a new regime, but a new wave of guys in our universe. It’s neat to be part of that group that hopefully ascends and is up here.’’

Eder knows Burger was a fan favorite and did well for the Marlins during their playoff push. But Eder, who grew up in South Florida, has a special perk in terms of getting a fresh start with the Sox’ organization.

‘‘I’ve got a lot of family in Chicago on my mom’s side,’’ Eder said. ‘‘So that’s cool. They were excited when the trade happened. It’s a fresh start, new place, and I couldn’t be more excited to go to the White Sox.’’

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