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Prospect Update: Julio Borbon

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Julio Alberto Borbon was born February 20th, 1986, in Starkville, Mississippi. He attended college at the University of Tennesse, where he earned plaudits as a spectacular defensive outfielder with plus speed. Scouts also said he had some power, but poor strike zone judgment held back his college production at times. He still earned a slot in the supplemental first round last year, and he's played well so far in '08.

Borbon began '08 with Bakersfield in the California League, hitting .306/.346/.395 with 36 steals in 43 attempts. He also hit 20 doubles, but knocked just two homers. His BB/K/AB ratio was 15/30/291...a pleasantly low strikeout rate, but very few walks for a potential leadoff hitter. His speed let him get away with this in the California League.

The Rangers moved him up to Double-A a couple of weeks ago, and so far he's continued to play well, hitting .306/.333/.449 with seven steals in eight attempts. Gotta love the stolen base success ratio and the high batting average. However, I am still concerned about the lack of walks. He's drawn just one so far against six strikeouts in 49 at-bats.

It's not that he needs to become a walk machine. Not every player has the same style. But without even a few more walks, his OBP is going to be extremely dependent on his batting average. If he's hitting .300+ that's OK, but if his average drops down into the .280s or lower, he becomes a drag on the offense no matter how fast he is.

I gave Borbon a Grade C+ in the book this year. Some people see him as a future regular, maybe even a star. But I'm concerned that might still develop into more of a fourth outfielder, speed/defense type guy, if he can't develop even a little more patience. Grade-wise I have no problem rating him a Grade B- based on what he's done this year, but I won't go higher than that until we get a full set of second half Double-A numbers.