Rangers Prospect #8: Jason Botts

Power-hitting outfielder Jason Botts is looking to win a starting job with the Rangers after proving himself against Triple-A pitching the past two seasons. Rangers Insider takes an in-depth look at the #8 prospect in the organization.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Jason Botts
Position: Left Fielder
DOB: July 26, 1980
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 250
Bats: Both
Throws: Right

Many players selected in the 46th round are fortunate to reach Double-A. However, the Rangers' Jason Botts, who was picked in the 46th round of the 1999 draft, has already reached the Major Leagues while being regarded as one of the top offensive prospects in the organization.

Rangers officials and fans alike realized that Botts wasn't going to be the typical 46th round pick when he posted a .943 OPS in his professional debut with the Rookie League GCL Rangers.

For the next three seasons, Botts turned into a bit of a sleeper. The first baseman posted pedestrian numbers between Single-A and High-A, failing to live up to the power potential that his large frame promised.

All of that changed when Botts repeated Double-A Frisco in 2004. Botts hit .293 with 25 doubles, 24 home runs, and 77 walks in 133 games with the RoughRiders.

With Mark Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez in front of him, the Rangers decided to move the power hitter to the outfield for the 2005 season. Botts did not let a position change affect him at the plate, as he posted stellar numbers (.286, 31 2B, 7 3B, 25 HR) in 133 games with Triple-A Oklahoma.

Though Botts was bothered by injuries for much of the 2006 campaign, he once again proved that he had conquered Minor League pitching. Botts put up a .980 OPS in 63 games with Oklahoma. The 26-year-old spent some time on the big league roster, but was never able to crack the starting lineup.

Batting and Power: Botts' best asset is his plus power from both sides of the plate. Aside from his well-developed power, Botts possesses a solid eye at the plate that should keep his on base percentage acceptable, even if his average takes a dip. While Botts will earn his fair share of walks, he also strikes out quite a bit. The outfielder has whiffed 213 times in 196 games in two years with Triple-A Oklahoma.

Base Running and Speed: It is typically safe to assume that a 6-foot-5, 250-pound outfielder doesn't run well. However, that is far from the case with Botts. A well above-average runner for his frame, Botts is known to leg out doubles and triples while stealing the occasional base.

Defense: Since moving to the outfield full time in 2005, Botts has been working to learn the position. Though Botts appears to be athletic enough to play in left field, he has continued to struggle as a defender. There are doubts as to whether he could be a full-time left fielder in the Majors at this point. If he sees time with the Rangers in 2007, it would likely be as the team's designated hitter.

Projection: Botts should become a full-time, power-hitting starter in the near future. He has been compared to former Rangers prospect Travis Hafner, but Botts' ceiling is probably not quite as high. With that said, Botts has the potential to hit in the neighborhood of .280 with 25 home runs and 70 walks for a Major League ballclub.

2007 Outlook: The Rangers have little doubt that Botts could produce in the Major Leagues right now, but the problem will be finding a spot for the switch-hitter. With the signing of Sammy Sosa, it appears that Botts may begin another season with Oklahoma. But the 26-year-old will certainly get his chance with the Rangers at some point in 2007.

ETA: 2007.

Year Team AVG AB 2B HR RBI R SB BB SO OBP SLG
2000 GCL Rangers (RK) .319 163 12 6 34 36 4 26 29 .440 .503
2001 Savannah (A) .309 392 24 9 50 63 13 53 88 .416 .449
Charlotte (A+) .167 12 1 0 0 1 0 4 4 .375 .250
2002 Charlotte (A+) .254 401 22 9 54 67 7 75 99 .387 .401
2003 Stockton (A+) .314 283 14 9 61 58 12 45 59 .409 .473
Frisco (AA) .263 194 11 4 27 26 6 21 45 .341 .392
2004 Frisco (AA) .293 481 25 24 92 85 7 77 126 .399 .507
2005 Oklahoma (AAA) .286 510 31 25 102 93 2 67 152 .375 .522
Texas (MLB) .296 27 0 0 3 4 0 3 13 .367 .296
2006 AZL Rangers (RK) .250 12 2 0 1 1 0 2 1 .357 .417
Frisco (AA) .125 16 0 0 2 3 0 3 3 .250 .125
Oklahoma (AAA) .309 220 19 13 39 43 6 31 61 .398 .582
Texas (MLB) .220 50 4 1 6 8 0 8 18 .317 .360

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