In this day and age of Internet coverage, it is hard for a player like Julio Borbon to get under-hyped. But that is exactly what has happened… and the deep minor league system in Texas is no doubt partially to blame. This speedy outfielder was selected 35th overall by the Texas Rangers in the 2007 draft. The former University of Tennessee star had a very nice college career and he actually slid a bit in the draft because of his adviser, Mr. Scott Boras.
Borbon held out after being drafted – of course – and appeared in just eight minor league games in his draft year. As a result, he entered 2008 with little pro experience. Undeterred, the now-23-year-old prospect hit .306/.346/.395 in 291 high-A at-bats and moved up to double-A where his numbers improved to .337/.380/.459 in 255 at-bats. Overall, Borbon stole 53 bases, but was caught 18 times. Unfortunately, his walk rate sat right around 5%, which is not really acceptable for a speedy/leadoff-type hitter. He did, though, keep his strikeout rate down around 11%.
This season in triple-A, Borbon got the ol’ walk rate up to 7.5% and really trimmed the strikeout rate at just 9.8%. Whether that is sustainable or not remains to be seen. It is impressive, nonetheless, given that it was done over 96 games. Borbon also posted a line of .307/.367/.386 in 407 at-bats. He stole 25 bases in 32 attempts.
Upon hitting the big time in Texas, Borbon has been on fire. Through 10 games, he’s currently hitting .485/.528/.636 in 33 at-bats. He’s also shown better instincts on the base paths with eight steals in as many attempts. Borbon’s small-sample-size numbers at the plate are clearly aided by the .652 BABIP but at least he’s taking a few more walks.
Clearly, Borbon is not this good. However, he certainly has the potential to be an above-average contributor to the Texas Rangers for quite some time. With limited power, Borbon has shown the ability to hit .300 and he has the speed to steal 40-50 bases in the Majors, especially if he cuts down on the caught-stealing rate. On the downside, he probably needs to show a little more patience at the plate to take full advantage of the offensive package that he offers. The club will certainly benefit by giving him playing time, as Borbon offers skills that are lacking on the club (plus outfield defense, blazing speed). His base-running antics could be especially valuable in the playoffs.
Print This Post