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Anderson had a roller-coaster career at Arizona, where he earned Freshman All-America honors as a two-way star in 2001. But he tailed off as a sophomore, in part because of knee and wrist injuries. When he gave up pitching and was fully healthy in 2003, his stock soared and the White Sox made him the 15th overall pick in the draft. After signing for $1.6 million, he launched his pro career by hitting .388 at Rookie-level Great Falls, only to have his pro debut end after 13 games when a recurrence of the wrist injury required minor surgery. He bounced back so strongly in 2004 that the White Sox had enough confidence to include outfielder Jeremy Reed--who preceded Anderson as the No. 1 prospect in the organization a year ago--in a midseason trade for Freddy Garcia. Anderson played a strong center field at high Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham, hitting well at the lower level and holding his own while making adjustments following his promotion. He missed the last two weeks of the season with a groin strain. Anderson is a good athlete who knows how to use his tools. He uses the entire field, showing both the ability to launch balls to left field and the willingness to go to right. He came out of college with solid plate discipline and has had no difficulty making consistent contact as a pro. If he has to move to an outfield corner, he projects to hit with enough power to be an asset at that position. Anderson runs well and has enough speed to play center field. He has enough arm to play anywhere in the outfield, as he threw in the low-90s as a reliever at Arizona. He thrives on competition and was not intimidated by the stiffer competition when he moved up to Double-A. Minor injuries have continually bothered Anderson, who was limited at the end of the regular season and in the AFL by a groin strain. He appears to have a high-maintenance body. He needs to get more at-bats so he can continue to lock in the swing changes he started to incorporate as a junior under the guidance of Wildcats coach Andy Lopez. Anderson may not be more than adequate in center field, a position where adequate usually isn't good enough. Some scouts actually rate him as a below-average runner, and he needs to improve routes to balls. Anderson could get to the big leagues in the second half of 2005 if the White Sox have an outfield opening. But they'd prefer for him to spend a full season at Triple-A Charlotte and prepare to become a regular at U.S. Cellular Field in 2006. Having seen $5.3 million man Joe Borchard struggle to establish himself, Chicago might take it a little slower with Anderson in hopes that he can stick around when he gets his first taste of the big leagues. Whether he plays in center or right field likely will depend on whether Aaron Rowand can maintain the offensive and defensive productivity he showed in 2004.
The White Sox stole Sweeney in 2003's second round after a lackluster showcase performance on the eve of the draft hurt his stock. When injuries created a need for an outfielder in big league camp last spring, they summoned Sweeney--who responded by batting .367. Sox executive adviser Roland Hemond says he gets the same goosebumps watching Sweeney that he once did watching a young Harold Baines. Sweeney is athletic as well as a natural hitter with a textbook swing. He has few holes and uses the entire field. He has gap power and should add pop as he climbs toward Chicago. He also has a plus right-field arm. Some scouts in the high Class A Carolina League questioned Sweeney's bat speed. He opened the season slowly and made matters worse by pressing, causing concerns about his patience. He's still improving as a right fielder. Sweeney should advance to Double-A after holding his own as one of the youngest players in the Carolina League. He could get to Chicago quickly because manager Ozzie Guillen and hitting coach Greg Walker are absolutely in love with his potential.
Scouts John Kazanas and Joe Butler did an excellent job when they locked onto McCarthy after he had gone 12-0 and struck out 14 per nine innings in junior college in 2002. He led the Rookie-level Arizona and Pioneer leagues in strikeouts in his first two pro seasons, then topped the entire minors with 202 whiffs in 2004. McCarthy's best pitch is a twoseam fastball that generally parks around 90 mph, and he has a fourseamer that hits 92-93. He also has a plus curveball. His height allows him to deliver pitches on a steep downward plane, and he throws strikes at will with an easily repeatable delivery. McCarthy has sailed to Double-A without a hitch. He can get better with his changeup, and he has started to make progress and use it more often. Chicago couldn't find a fifth starter in 2004, and McCarthy could jump into consideration with a strong spring. He'll probably return to Double-A but won't stay long if he picks up where he left off.
A two-sport star at Oklahoma State, Fields set a school record for career passing touchdowns (55) and a Cotton Bowl mark for passing yards (307). He comes from athletic stock as his mother Rhonda was the first female athlete to earn a full scholarship to Oklahoma State. He gave up football to sign for $1.55 million as the 18th overall pick in the 2004 draft. He made a smooth transition to pro ball, helping Winston-Salem recover from a poor first half to reach the Carolina League playoffs. Fields is a potentially dynamic hitter, combining strength and bat speed to generate power. He drives the ball to all fields and should hit for average as well as extra bases. He has a hard-nosed approach and strong work ethic. He has a plus arm at third base. Fields spent just two seasons as a third baseman in college and needs work on his fielding, especially his footwork and his release. He can get impatient at the plate and pile up strikeouts. He's a below-average runner. He likely will spend 2005 in Double-A. The White Sox are growing increasingly disappointed with Joe Crede and are looking to Fields to provide an alternative--the sooner the better.
While serving as the cornerstone of manager Sadaharu Oh's Fukuoka powerhouse in Japan, Iguchi eyed the challenge of playing in America, coming close to deals as a posted free agent before saying sayanora as a true free agent this winter. He signed a two-year, $4.95 million deal that includes a $2.3 million salary for 2005 and a $3.25 million club option for 2007. A four-time all-star in eight Pacific League seasons, Iguchi won three Japanese Gold Gloves and two stolen-base titles. He consistently has hit for power and took a huge jump as a hitter in the last two seasons. Few second baseman are as athletic or as complete. He uses his power to drive in runs and his speed to score them. He killed lefthanders in Japan and became dangerous against righties as well. Iguchi is a surehanded fielder with average range. He totaled 22 errors in three seasons after moving from shortstop to second base. Iguchi's only liability is his arm, which hasn't been the same since a shoulder injury in 2002. That forced his move from shortstop and leaves him below-average turning the double play. Countryman Shingo Takatsu took over as their closer last season, and the White Sox think Iguchi could make a greater impact. He could be a rare 20-20 second baseman and a Rookie of the Year contender. Unlike Hideki Matsui and Kaz Matsui, he played in a pitcher's park in Japan and moves to a hitter's paradise. Willie Harris could take at-bats away against tough righthanders, but Iguchi should claim the bulk of Chicago's playing time at second base.
No one in the system has a better arm than Tracey, considered something of a project coming out of UC Irvine. He flashed his potential in his first two seasons but also had control problems. He turned a corner in 2004, thanks largely to his work with Winston-Salem pitching coach J.R. Perdew. Though Tracey can run his 93-94 mph fastball up to 97, his biggest asset may be his competitiveness. Winston-Salem manager Nick Leyva called him an animal, saying he'd pitch "every night if I let him." He has the basic Kevin Brown package: a hard sinker that gets grounders and a four-seam fastball that gets strikeouts up in the zone. He also uses a hard slider. Tracey smoothed out his mechanics and gained confidence as the 2004 season went on. Tracey led the Carolina League in walks and hit batters (23) but showed improvement over 2003. His mechanics require attention and make it difficult for him to throw a consistent slider or changeup. A better changeup would complement his power stuff. A full season at Double-A is the next step for Tracey. He has the arm strength to become an impact starter or power closer.
A star at national high school power Bellaire, Young lasted until the 16th round of the 2001 draft because he was rail-thin. He signed late that summer and spent two years in Rookie ball before making his full-season debut in 2004. He was inconsistent but his final numbers were proof he's worth the effort that will be required to smooth out his rough edges. While Young still hasn't bulked up, he's strong and has nearly as much raw power as anyone in the system. He uses his top-of-the-line speed to turn singles into doubles and to put pressure on pitchers. Some White Sox officials already consider him a major league-caliber center fielder. Young often gets overly aggressive at the plate, exacerbating his difficulties at making contact. He has struck out in 27 percent of his pro at-bats and must reduce that number to make better use of his speed and power. His arm strength is below average. Ticketed for high Class A in 2005, Young is somewhat reminiscent of former White Sox farmhand Mike Cameron. Chicago would love to see him reach the majors in 2007.
A top pitching prospect since he won Florida 6-A state title games at Miami's Hialeah High as a freshman and sophomore, Gonzalez transferred to private Monsignor Pace High for his senior season. The White Sox might not have been able to grab him with the No. 38 pick had he not been dismissed from the team following a dispute between his mother and the coach over his brother's lack of playing time. He signed for $850,000. Gonzalez has an advanced feel for pitching for someone so young, with good command of a nice collection of pitches. His 87-90 mph fastball peaks at 94, but his out pitch is a tight curveball he throws in any count. He also has a decent changeup. Because he does not have a powerful build, some scouts wonder about Gonzalez' durability. He carries himself with an air of cockiness that could get tiresome, especially if he struggles. Gonzalez handled low Class A in his pro debut but probably will begin 2005 back in Kannapolis. He should move faster than most high school pitchers.
After Hernandez batted .296 with six homers in his pro debut in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League in 2003, he was rewarded with a visa. He flashed tremendous potential in his first season in the United States, ranking second in the Rookie-level Appalachian League in batting and throwing out basestealers (33 percent). Though he's slightly built, Hernandez is a skilled switch-hitter with a strong arm. He's solid from both sides of the plate and has surprising power for his size. He has the ability to make adjustments, which should keep him out of slumps. His receiving, blocking and game-calling also earn praise. Hernandez needs polish behind the plate. Chicago is trying to get him to quicken his release. He sometimes chases bad pitches, something more advanced pitchers can exploit more easily. The White Sox believe Hernandez can be an allstar catcher, something they haven't had since 1991 (Carlton Fisk) and something they've never developed on their own. He's ready for a full season in low Class A.
Because he always played alongside Andy Gonzalez, Lopez spent much of his first three pro seasons as a second baseman. Farm director Dave Wilder decided it was time to separate the two in 2004, allowing them both to play shortstop. Lopez made the most of that chance, flashing plus fielding skills while continuing to show promise as a hitter. Lopez' advanced bat control had been his calling card, but now his fielding skills draw him more attention. He has plus range and reliable hands. He has shown the ability to hit for average, make contact and use the whole field, and he started to drive more pitches during instructional league. He won't impress anyone with his arm strength, but Lopez' quick release allows him to make plays. While he has decent speed, he doesn't have much basestealing aptitude. He rarely swings and misses, but his walks and extra-base hits are infrequent as well. Birmingham's leading hitter (.357) during the Southern League playoffs, Lopez will return to Double-A. He should get lots of big league attention in spring training, and possibly in September.
The organization's top pitching prospect a year ago, Honel took the mound just three more times after an Opening Day 2004 start in Double-A. Initially expected to miss about a week, he struggled with shoulder tendinitis all season. Honel's knuckle-curve made him the 16th overall pick in 2001, the earliest an Illinois high school pitcher was drafted since Bob Kipper went eighth 19 years earlier. It has a sharp break and he generally can throw it for strikes in any count. He has good command and challenges hitters. Velocity seems to be a constant struggle for Honel. He pitched in the high 80s in 2002 before climbing to the low 90s in 2003. Chicago thinks his shoulder problems stemmed from bulking up and overthrowing. He developed bad habits that put stress on his shoulder. His changeup is a clear third pitch. The White Sox are crossing their fingers that Honel comes to spring training healthy and ready to pitch in Double-A. They've lowered their expectations for him, counting on him being no more than an end-of-the-rotation starter, no earlier than mid-2006.
Unwilling to wait for the 2005 draft, Liotta transferred from Tulane to Gulf Coast (Fla.) CC for his sophomore season. The decision paid off when the White Sox selected him in the second round and signed him for $499,000. He responded with a strong debut, leading the Pioneer League in ERA and turning in more solid work in instructional league. Liotta has a strong body and has improved his conditioning, helping him to deliver low-90s fastballs. His curveball is his out pitch, and he showed more command of his bender--which has drawn comparisons to Barry Zito's--as a pro than he did in college. He has sound mechanics, though his motion lacks deception and his fastball sometimes straightens out. He spent the fall working to improve his changeup. He probably will move into the low Class A rotation in 2005, but he could get consideration for high Class A.
The White Sox can't wait to see what they can get from a rested Lumsden. A fifth-round pick by the Marlins out of high school, he went four rounds higher after three years at Clemson. Signed for $975,000, he spent most his first pro summer in the bullpen to give his arm a break. He draws comparisons to Andy Pettitte with his size and aggressiveness. Lumsden usually throw his fastball at 91-92 mph but can get up to 95-96. He even has been clocked at 80 mph throwing righthanded. Lumsden throws a sharp-breaking curveball, though it usually moves out of the strike zone and he has to rely on hitters to chase it. He also has a cut fastball with slider action that makes lefthanders look silly, as well as a decent changeup. Lumsden could move quickly if he throws strikes. He'll move back to the rotation this year, which he may begin by returning to high Class A.
Not many 18-year-old shortstops get a chance to play in a full-season league. Valido was assigned to the low Class A South Atlantic League in his first full year as a pro and held his own against college players and more experienced pros. He stood out in instructional league with his graceful fielding. Valido has a strong arm and soft hands but sometimes tries to force the action, resulting in errors. He makes good contact at the plate and is a skilled bunter. The challenge for him will be to get on base often enough to use his speed as a weapon. He's good enough in the field to project as a future big leaguer but his progress at the plate will determine if he can play every day. He won't ever hit for much power. The White Sox haven't had a homegrown regular as their primary shortstop since they traded Bucky Dent to the Yankees after 1976. Along with Pedro Lopez, Valido has a chance to end the drought. He'll spend this year in high Class A.
Rogowski was a top all-around athlete as a high school athlete in Michigan. He won the state's Mr. Baseball award, played on two football state championship teams and captured Michigan's heavyweight wrestling title. He has paid his dues in a slow climb up the ladder, showing promise at low Class A in 2001 before being slowed by a shoulder injury in 2002 and spending most of three years in high Class A. He finally put up big numbers again in 2004, showing both power and strong strike-zone judgment. Rogowski moves better than most players his size and has reached double figures in steals for five straight seasons. The White Sox have given him some time in left field, and he also played there in the Arizona Fall League. He never has hit for much of an average, and Rogowski will have to prove he can handle more advanced pitching and start to move more quickly toward Chicago. He'll get the chance to do that this season in Dobule-A. The White Sox haven't developed a quality lefthanded hitter since Robin Ventura, which increases the attention being paid Rogowski.
When Munoz struggled in 2003, the White Sox wrote it off because he had pitched too much while starring in the Dominican Winter League during the offseason. But they don't know what to think about his 2004 season, which turned into a major bust after a promising start. He returned to Double-A to get a trial as a starter and was lights out, earning a big league start on June 19. Munoz gave up 11 runs in three innings in his big league debut against the Expos and never recovered, combining for a 6.43 ERA between the big leagues and Triple-A. Munoz' dynamite curveball lacked its usual sharpness and he lost track of the strike zone at the upper levels. Scouts say he needs to regain confidence in his 90-mph fastball, and his slider and changeup still have plenty of room for improvement. Munoz still is just 22 but is at a crossroads. His long-term future figures to be in the bullpen.
A natural hitter with power, Whisler ranked as the top prospect in the Cape Cod League after his freshman season but regressed at the plate the next two seasons at UCLA. He pitched out of the Bruins rotation but never dominated. Despite his underwhelming college career, he still went in the second round of the 2004 draft because of the collection of tools that allowed him to play both ways. The White Sox were sold on his great build and durability, not to mention his low-90s fastball. During his pro debut, he threw four pitches for strikes, including a hard slider, and had no problem fitting in after a promotion to high Class A. He touched the mid-90s with his fastball and showed a willingness to work the inside half of the plate. Chicago allowed Whisler to get at-bats as a DH at Kannapolis, and the organization remains split on where his future lies. His light-tower power is so intriguing that he could remain a two-way player for a bit longer as the White Sox decide whether his ceiling is higher on the mound or at the plate. He could reach Double-A during his first full pro season.
Gray hit .449 at Southern in 2002, finishing fourth in the NCAA Division I race behind teammate Rickie Weeks, Khalil Greene and Curtis Granderson. Greene became BA's Rookie of the Year in 2004, while Weeks (Brewers) and Granderson (Tigers) are their organization's top prospects. Gray isn't nearly as polished as they are, but his upside is intriguing. He led Kannapolis in hitting last year, handling lefthanders and righthanders alike while showing surprising power for his size. He can get too obsessed with trying to drive pitches, rather than focusing on working counts and drawing walks. Gray's bat will have to carry him because he doesn't have another above-average tool. He's a decent runner and shows just ordinary range at second base. He has a below-average arm and makes too many mistakes. Gray will try to show more patience and more reliable defense in high Class A this year.
Some pitchers just know how to win, and Haigwood fits into that category. He didn't lose until his final game as an Arkansas high schooler, going 43-1, and has won 18 of his 26 decisions as a pro. He tied for the staff lead in victories at Kannapolis last year after missing 2003 following surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Because Haigwood was rusty, his trademark command was absent at first but got sharper as the 2004 season went along. Haigwood's best pitch is his curveball, which breaks sharply and makes him especially tough on lefthanders. His fastball is fringe average, topping out at 90 mph, but he has worked to develop a two-seamer with some sink. He's still refining his changeup but does a good job of throwing it for strikes. Following an impressive instructional league, Haigwood will pitch in the high Class A Winston-Salem rotation in 2005.
The White Sox remain intrigued by Schnurstein's bat, though his last two seasons haven't been nearly as productive as his 2002 debut, when he set an Arizona League record with 26 doubles. He still has the ability to drive the ball to both gaps, but he doesn't show it as often because he doesn't work himself into favorable counts enough. He should be able to hit .300 but gets himself out too often by chasing pitcher's pitches. Schnurstein has a solid work ethic and has made strides in many facets of his game, but his impatience will only become more of a handicap as he faces smarter pitches. Though his speed is slightly below average, he stole 14 bases in 18 attempts in 2004. He has good reactions at third base and should be at least an average defender. At this point, it's a stretch to call Schnurstein a serious threat to Joe Crede and Josh Fields. He has moved one level at a time, a pace that would take him to high Class A this season.
Jenks has become as famous for his personal trials and tribulations as for his 100 mph fastball, and he didn't escape controversy in 2004. He was shut down for the third time in two seasons because of a stress reaction in his right elbow and eventually had surgery in August. While he was rehabbing at the Angels' base in Mesa, Ariz., he was involved in an altercation with a teammate, suspended and sent home. When Anaheim needed to find room on its 40- man roster for Cuban defector Kendry Morales in December, it designated Jenks for assignment and lost him on waivers to the White Sox. He's expected to miss the start of the season while he completes his rehab. Jenks seems to take a step in the wrong direction every time he makes progress on the diamond, where he has shown one of the most tantalizing arms in baseball. When healthy, he regularly generated mid-90s heat and has a two-plane hammer curveball. In his four appearances at the beginning of last season, his velocity was down and his curve lacked its usual sharp break. Jenks' changeup, command and maturity still have a long ways to go. The Angels suspended him for violating team rules in 2002, and an ESPN The Magazine article in 2003 exposed several troubling incidents from his past. Jenks still has time to salvage his career and make an impact in the majors, but he can't continue to hinder his progress with his behavior. Unless he makes major strides throwing strikes and coming up with a third pitch, his future probably will be in the bullpen.
Francisco Hernandez made a strong transition from the Dominican Summer League in 2003 to the United States in 2004, and the White Sox say Sanchez can follow the same path this year. Given his size, some scouts say he resembles the second coming on Juan Gonzalez, though Chicago hasn't begun to tout his power potential that highly. Sanchez has terrific bat speed and makes good contact, finishing 10th in the DSL batting race last season. He's still raw on the bases and in the outfield, and while he can improve it's his offense that will be his ticket to the majors. He figures to spend the first half of 2005 in extended spring training and adapting to the United States before being turned loose at Rookie-level Bristol.
Acquired in a 2002 deadline deal from the Giants for Kenny Lofton, Diaz was a major disappointment for the White Sox last season. He dominated in Triple-A but failed to fill a need for a fifth starter in the big leagues. He went 2-4, 8.27 ERA in seven starts for Chicago, surrendering 10 homers (including four against the Orioles in his debut) in just 33 innings. The White Sox used him out of the bullpen for most of September, and he showed promise in that role. Diaz can reach 92-mph with his fastball but he doesn't get much movement on it. Though his slider and changeup were good pitches in the minors, he struggled to get them called for strikes in the majors. He went to winter ball looking to regain his confidence and will get a chance to win a spot in the bullpen in spring training.
Give Bajenaru credit for his persistence. A two-way star at Oklahoma who signed as a fifth-year senior draft-and-follow in 2000, he cracked this Top 30 list after his first pro season. But he missed all of 2002 following Tommy John surgery, and the White Sox didn't protect him on their 40-man roster following the 2003 season. Bajenaru pitched himself back into their good graces last year, saving 22 games with a 1.51 ERA in the minors and making his major league debut in September. He got hit hard with Chicago because he was too tentative with his pitches and also may have been tired. Bajenaru operates with two pitches, a low-90s sinker and a splitter. He keeps the ball down in the strike zone and didn't beat himself with walks or homers--until he got to the majors. He may need to develop an offspeed pitch to keep hitters off his sinker/splitter combination. The signing of free agent Dustin Hermanson probably means that Bajenaru will open 2005 in Triple-A.
If he can get to the big leagues, Spidale should be popular with White Sox fans. That's because he is one himself, having grown up in suburban Chicago as his father Mike has served as the club's manager of purchasing. Spidale is more baseball rat than tools guy, but he has logged some time in center field for playoff teams in high Class A and Double-A the last two years. He does have plus speed, averaging 31 stolen bases the past four seasons, and is a skilled defender. He did play more in left field than center at Birmingham, in deference to Brian Anderson. Spidale has very good strike-zone judgment and uses the whole field. He has made adjustments in his swing to drive the ball better, but he can get overpowered by good fastballs and doesn't have nearly as much pop as Anderson or Chris Young. While Spidale projects as more of an extra outfielder, he knows how to get on base and could benefit from big league manager Ozzie Guillen's emphasis on speed and defense. Spidale should spend this year in Triple-A.
After pitching sparingly in four seasons at Texas A&M, Pollok has been a huge surprise. Area scout Keith Staab had his work cut out for him in selling Pollok to his scouting superiors, but he kept pushing until they listened to him and took him in the 27th round of the 2003 draft. In his first full season, Pollok saved 38 games to tie for the minor league lead. Working with White Sox coaches, he has improved his slider to where it's the best in the system. He also has gained velocity on his sinker, which now reaches 90 on occasion. He forces hitters to beat him by throwing strikes. He's not overpowering, so he doesn't project as a closer at higher levels, but he could have a career as a set-up man. Chicago will test him in Double-A this year and could move him fast.
Few teenagers get regular work in the Dominican League, but Castro did during the offseason with the Cibao Giants. It was another step in a smooth progression that has seen him go 21-7 as a pro. He has worked mostly out of the bullpen, and continued to be tough to hit and show impressive poise after a late-August promotion to high Class A last year. Castro doesn't overpower hitters but knows how to maximize the effectiveness of his three pitches: a fastball that parks around 89-90 mph, a tight curveball and a changeup that shows signs of becoming an excellent pitch. The White Sox have been protective of Castro, worrying that his small frame couldn't handle a heavy workload, at least not while he's so young. He might not be far behind Gio Gonzalez if he does get a chance to start. Castro will start 2005 back in high Class A.
Another member of Chicago's deep stable of lefthanders, Rodriguez led Kannapolis in starts and innings last year after missing the entire 2003 season with inflammation in his elbow. Though he's young, he already exhibits a good feel for pitching and has command of three pitches, including a low-90s fastball. His curveball makes him especially tough against lefthanders, who batted .207 with one homer in 111 at-bats against him in 2004. His size allows him to drive the ball down in the strike zone, making it difficult for hitters to lift the ball in the air against him. He's still working on his changeup and his composure. Rodriguez will move to high Class A in 2005 and could earn a spot on the 40-man roster with a strong showing.
It never hurts a player's upward mobility to be acquired on the recommendation of the major league manager. That's the case with Valdez, who had stalled in the Marlins system before coming to the White Sox for Billy Koch last June. He became a pet project for Chicago skipper Ozzie Guillen in spring training two years ago, when Guillen was Florida's third-base coach. Valdez had been a good-field, no-hit shortstop known for his moodiness but came out of his shell after Guillen showered him with praise. Valdez' best tools are his range in the field and speed on the bases. His arm is average. He has become a better hitter by gaining some strength without losing the ability to use his speed to get on base. He's a good bunter and a decent hit-and-run man. His .311 average in Triple-A last season shows he's growing as a hitter but he doesn't collect enough extra-base hits or walks to be considered as a regular. Valdez does appear ready to be an extra infielder in the big leagues, especially for a White Sox team emphasizing speed and defense, and could be a pleasant surprise if he gets extended playing time.
Few minor leaguers put on better batting-practice displays than Collaro. One Pioneer League manager said last year that Collaro hits the ball as far as anyone he'd ever seen in the minors. He made tremendous strides at the plate overall in his third pro season, hitting a career-best .287 while finishing second in the league in homers, but it was his third straight year in Rookie ball. Collaro still has major holes in swing and poor plate discipline, chasing too many pitches out of the zone while taking too many strikes. He'll have to slug his way to the big leagues and the only way to do that is to strike out less often. He's no more than adequate on the bases and in the field, where he has played both outfield corners and first base. After a strong instructional league, Collaro could get consideration for high Class A, but he most likely will begin 2005 in low Class A.
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