- Full name James L. Boone
- Born 03/16/1983 in Clinton, OK
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 195 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- School Missouri
Drafted in the 3rd round (91st overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005 (signed for $420,000).
View Draft ReportClubs passed on OF James Boone when he was a draft-eligible sophomore in 2004, and now he has blossomed into the state's top position player. He's a switch-hitting center fielder with power, speed and arm strength. He may need time to hit with wood bats, however, as he swings and misses too much, especially as a righthanded hitter. A pinched nerve in his back sidelined him for a couple of weeks and slowed him down the stretch.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Pirates thought they drafted a potential star when they took Boone in 2005, but he hasn't seen the field much in his two seasons because of injuries. A cousin of former American League batting champion Carney Lansford, Boone had a pinched nerve in his final season at Missouri, and it affected him during his first year in pro ball as well when he spent time on the disabled list at Williamsport. A broken foot kept him on the DL at low Class A Hickory until May 24 in 2005, and he played just 28 games before shoulder problems sidelined him for the rest of the year. Boone has a multitude of tools, as he's a switch-hitter with the potential to hit for average and power. He's also an above-average center fielder with good range and a decent arm. He has good speed, though it hasn't translated into many stolen bases yet. Boone will go back to low Class A after his aborted 2006 season. While his future is intriguing and his work ethic is outstanding, he's at an age where he'll need to start moving up the organizational ladder quickly to have a chance to be a major league regular.
The Pirates loaded up on college hitters in the 2005 draft, taking five in the first eight rounds. Boone, who signed for $420,000 as a third-rounder, is the best prospect among that group to this point. Passed up by all 30 clubs as a draft-eligible sophomore in 2004, he batted .340-8-72 as a junior at Missouri and continued to hit in his pro debut. Boone is a solid hitter from both sides of the plate. He has more of a line-drive stroke at this stage of his career but his power, which comes primarily from the left side, should increase as he learns to turn on pitches and lift the ball more. He doesn' have blazing speed but shows smarts on the basepaths and is above average defensively in center field. Boone struck out too much in his first taste of pro ball, though the Pirates are confident he'll develop better plate discipline with more experience. If he doesn't make adjustments, he'll get exploited at higher levels. He'll begin his first full season in low Class A and could get to Pittsburgh by 2008 if he gets the strikeouts under control.