As we lead up to both the start of the 2008 season and our “Diamond Cutter” top 100 prospects list, I will be taking a look at the top five prospects from every single Major League team. Each team will have its top five prospects along with a brief scouting report on each player that I have pulled from my scouting notes. Today we move on to the AL Central with the depleted Chicago White Sox farm system. As always, let me know how you feel about the rankings in the comments section below or via email.
1.) Aaron Poreda, LHP: Poreda’s success seemed to just pop up over night. He gained a miraculous 6-7 mph on his fastball over the course of last season brining it up to the mid-90’s. He does a great job of throwing it for strikes and has a nice sink to it and can run in on hitters. While he has a nice fastball, his slider and change-up need a lot of work in order for him to be successful. He’s a big strong lefty with a solid frame. Since his success happened seemingly out of nowhere, he hasn’t yet gained the poise he needs on the mound. This will improve as he gains experiences and begins to throw his secondary pitches more effectively.
2.) Jack Egbert, RHP: Egbert certainly hasn’t dazzled anyone with his stuff during his pro career but he keeps getting the job done on the mound. While he is extremely old for AA ball (25 years old) he does have some characteristics that pro coaches like to see. His fastball sits around 90 mph, he has a good sinker and he has a change-up that usually keeps hitters off guard. But the thing coaches love the most is how he keeps the ball on the ground. In fact, over the last 342.2 innings he’s only given up five home runs. What coach wouldn’t love that?
3.) Nevin Griffith, RHP: Griffith is very mature and has excellent demeanor on the mound for someone his age. His fastball has a nice tailing action and sits around 91-93 mph. He also has a curve that sits 86-88 mph and a change-up around 80 mph that he is still working on becoming comfortable with. His sharp slider is his strikeout pitch and it sits in the low-80’s with great control when he’s on. He already has the mentality, body and arm to be an above-average pitcher so if he can harness his curve and change he might be a nice low pick for the Sox down the road.
4.) Lance Broadway, RHP: It’s difficult to get a good read on how Lance Broadway will turn out. He’s got ho-hum stuff and has limited upside despite success in his only MLB start. He has been working feverishly on improving the location of his fastballs as well as the effectiveness of his change-up in order to make an impact for the White Sox. Looking at his stuff and potential, I see him as a number five starter at best in his career and may even end up in the bullpen if he lasts in the Majors.
5.) John Shelby, OF: Shelby’s name isn’t mentioned often in the talks of big baseball prospects but some scouts are very high on him. Thus far in his pro career he hasn’t done too much to impress me to say he can be anything more than a reserve player at the Major League level. He finished off 2007 strong after a lethargic beginning to the year. When Shelby makes contact with the ball (which is more often now since cutting back on his strikeouts) he does hit the ball hard and has shown some power potential despite his small stature. He’s a little old for the level he’s been playing at in the Minors so he will need to make some vast improvements in order to make it up the ladder.
Catch my column “Twins Killings” every day only on the Most Valuable Network.