- Full name Joseph Edward Borchard
- Born 11/25/1978 in Panorama City, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 230 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- School Stanford
- Debut 09/02/2002
Drafted in the 1st round (12th overall) by the Chicago White Sox in 2000 (signed for $5,300,000).
View Draft ReportScouts love the 6-foot-4, 195-pound Borchard's athletic ability, though his desire to continue playing football at Stanford affected his performance on the field this spring and could hurt him at draft time. Those in the know don't consider him a true NFL prospect, but he is the favorite to start at quarterback for the Cardinal in the fall and has been coy about his intentions. His tools are unmistakable. His power is impressive--he has hit several tape-measure shots this spring--and he is an outstanding right fielder with obvious arm strength. He has an excellent approach to the game. Of all the region's projected first-rounders, he may have the highest ceiling.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Borchard is under increasing pressure to justify the record $5.3 million bonus he was given to forsake a career as an NFL quarterback. He has gone backward the last two years, largely because he chases too many bad pitches. Somewhat limited by a broken foot in 2002, he had no excuses last season. Borchard's athleticism and leadership skills give him an edge over most ballplayers. He generates easy power and can hit monster home runs, especially from the left side. He has a strong arm, which he once showed by throwing five touchdown passes in a game against UCLA. Strikeouts are a concern, especially because his walk totals have diminished the last two years. Borchard's plate discipline has worsened even as the organization has emphasized its importance. He has become a particularly suspect hitter from the right side. He can play three outfield positions but is below-average in center, Chicago's original goal for him. After he played nonstop for 21⁄2 years, the White Sox gave Borchard the winter off. He used the time to get married. It's unlikely he'll hit his way to Chicago in spring training and is destined for a third season in Triple-A.
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. 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. 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 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.
There was no way Joe Borchard was going to be inconspicuous last season. The record $5.3 million bonus he got in 2000 blew his cover. But even if it hadn't, the switch-hitting Borchard would have stood out because of his tools and how well he used them in the first full season of baseball in his life. Despite being based in a pitcher's park, he led the Double-A Southern League in RBIs and finished second in homers and in the MVP voting. According to football scouting guru Mel Kiper, Borchard could have been one of the first players taken in the 2002 NFL draft had he continued to play quarterback at Stanford. His performance was immediate validation for White Sox senior scouting director Duane Shaffer, who says Borchard had the best power of any college hitter since Mark McGwire. He maintained a football player's flair for the big moment while avoiding the long funks associated with the baseball grind. He homered from both sides of the plate on April 10, his fifth game of the season and only his 32nd as a pro. He went 4-for-8 with two homers and a double in three all-star games. Borchard is a better hitter from the left side but didn't have pronounced platoon differences in 2002. He has a plus arm but still is making the transition from quarterback to outfield. Last year, he moved from right field to center, which could be his quickest route to the big leagues. Effort isn't an issue, as he comes early and stays late. The White Sox hope he will give away fewer at-bats as he gains experience. They're willing to accept strikeouts if he provides power, especially from center field. While Borchard is an excellent athlete, it takes him time to get his 6-foot-5 frame moving. His range is below-average in center, but some scouts believe it's his best position. He seemed tentative when used on the corners in the Arizona Fall League. Borchard should fit in well at the remodeled Comiskey Park, which turned into a launching pad after the fences were brought in. He's a good bet for 30-plus homers as a rookie, with the better question being whether it happens now or in 2003. Borchard's ability as a student will determine whether he can make better contact and get to more balls in the outfield, thus delivering on his all-star potential.
The White Sox committed a record $5.3 million bonus to keep Borchard from continuing his two-sport career at Stanford, where he had been expected to be the starting quarterback. Some scouts believe he's the best college power prospect since Mark McGwire. He can drive the ball to all fields from both sides of the plate. Borchard's father, an outfielder drafted by the Royals in 1969, had him switch-hitting by age 11. Borchard is a good outfielder with an excellent arm. Stanford coach Mark Marquess says he's the most competitive player he ever had. Borchard left the Arizona Fall League because of back pain. The White Sox blame the injury on football and say their conditioning program will prevent long-term problems. The Sox may be asking too much for Borchard to develop into a center fielder. He'll begin 2001 in Double-A and could be promoted at the end of the year. His situation is complicated by the White Sox' young corner outfielders, Carlos Lee and Magglio Ordonez.
Minor League Top Prospects
While managers were aware of the awesome power potential in Borchard's bat, they also knew how to find the holes in his swing to keep him from unleashing it. Borchard started his second full pro season on the DL after fouling a ball of his right foot and breaking it in spring training. He still can crush balls from both sides of the plate, but strikes out too much and realizes he must become a more disciplined hitter with a better grasp of the strike zone. "I'm still not sold on him, but he's definitely a prospect because of that power," one manager said. "Not enough average and too many strikeouts. He has a slow bat to me. But he'll make adjustments because he's a smart kid." Borchard also runs well and has a plus arm. A right fielder in college, Borchard has learned to play center the last two years but doesn't have great range there.
Borchard faced the most scrutiny of any Southern Leaguer after getting a record $5.3 million bonus as a 2000 first-round pick. Suffice it to say the former Stanford quarterback passed all tests by leading the loop in RBIs, placing second in hits and home runs, ranking third in runs and slugging percentage (.509), and finishing fifth in batting average. "He's had a real consistent season," Shoemaker said. "He came into the season with high expectations and I feel he lived up to that. He's a switch-hitter who moves fluidly in the outfield. He seems to be a hard worker and is able to make adjustments." Most managers rated Borchard as a solid four-tool player. Though his speed is not exceptional, he knows how to run the bases and gets good jumps on balls hit to center field. While he will be able to hit for average and power, a few skippers had concerns about the holes in his long swing.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Batting Prospect in the Southern League in 2001
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Chicago White Sox in 2001
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Chicago White Sox in 2001