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Chicago White Sox Top 10 Prospects
Index of Top 10 Prospects for all 30 Major League Teams

By Phil Rogers

1. Joe Borchard, of

Age: 23. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 220. Drafted: Stanford, 2000 (1st round). Signed by: Joe Butler/Ed Pebley.

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White Sox Top Prospects

1992 Roberto Hernandez, rhp
1993 Jason Bere, rhp
1994 James Baldwin, rhp
1995 Scott Ruffcorn, rhp
1996 Chris Snopek, 3b-ss
1997 Mike Cameron, of
1998 Mike Caruso, ss
1999 Carlos Lee, 3b
2000 Kip Wells, rhp
2001 Jon Rauch, rhp

Background: 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 playing in a pitchers’ park, he led the Southern League in RBIs and finished second in homers. 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.

Strengths: His performance was validation for White Sox scouting director Duane Shaffer, who says Borchard has 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 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.

Weaknesses: The White Sox hope Borchard 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 considered 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.

The Future: 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.

Birmingham (AA).295515951522712798671585

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