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White Sox Top 10 Prospects

By Phil Rogers
December 9, 2002

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Prospect Handbook
Does 10 prospects per team only whet your appetite? How does 30 sound? If you want the more of in-depth information you're finding here on three times as many players, Baseball America's 2003 Prospect Handbook is for you.

1. Joe Borchard

Age: 24. B-T: B-R.  Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 220. Drafted: Stanford, 2000 (1st round). Signed by: Joe Butler/Ed Pebley.

Background: In September, when Borchard could have been beginning his rookie season as an NFL quarterback taken early in the first round of the football draft, he was finishing up his second full season as a full-time baseball player with a cameo in the big leagues. The White Sox gave him a record $5.3 million bonus to earn that commitment. Borchard hasn't smoothed all the rough ends of his game as fast as Chicago had hoped but still shows tremendous potential. His 2002 season began late after he broke a bone in his right foot during spring training, but he recovered fast and played in 133 games. He looked at place in a big league clubhouse, both during spring training and at the end of the regular season. The Sox believe he will bring valuable leadership skills once he's there on a full-time basis.

Strengths: Borchard is a superior athlete who has serious power from both sides of the plate. He has an uncanny ability to come through in big situations. He has a strong arm, which he once showed by throwing five touchdown passes for Stanford against UCLA. He isn't a basestealer but runs well for a big man, circling the bases on an inside-the-park homer at Kauffman Stadium in September. The Sox appreciate how hard he has worked to improve.

Weaknesses: Strikeouts are a part of the package with Borchard, who struggled at times with breaking pitches in 2002. He'll almost certainly strike out 150-plus times if he's a regular and could lead the league in whiffs if he doesn't get a better idea of the strike zone. He has played center field for two seasons but is considered a marginal outfielder. He might benefit from a move to a corner spot, his eventual destination.

The Future: The Sox face a difficult decision with Borchard. He's ready to contribute in the big leagues but they must determine if he'd benefit from at least another half-season at Triple-A Charlotte. Many scouts believe he would, pointing to his ratio of almost three strikeouts for every walk in 2002. Borchard went to winter ball in the hopes of improving his chances to stick in the spring. With Magglio Ordonez in right, Borchard will play either left field or center once he becomes a permanent part of Chicago's lineup. He could get an immediate opportunity if center fielder Aaron Rowand comes back slowly from injuries suffered in an offseason dirt bike crash.

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