Prospect Profile: Chris Shelton

Chris Shelton came to the Tigers via the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Rule 5 draft, and for the most part was just a spectator for the Tigers, riding the bench as he was required to stay on the big league roster all year long. But, when the Arizona Fall League rolled around, Shelton displayed why the Tigers used a roster spot to keep his bat in the organization. (FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT)

Chris Shelton
Position: First Base/Designated Hitter Height: 6-0 Weight: 200
Born: 6/26/1980 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Shelton was yet another Rule 5 find by General Manager Dave Dombrowski. The Pirates left Shelton off their 40-man roster, with hopes that he would not be selected because of his defensive struggles. Since coming out of the University of Utah in 2001, all Chris has done is hit a ton. With a career minor league line of .332/.429/.533, you would think Shelton was widely regarded as one of the top prospects in all of baseball. However, Chris has remained under the radar because of a poor defensive reputation, but hopes to make everyone eat their words in the coming years. The Tigers stuck with Shelton last year, stashing him at the end of their bench where he only received 46 Major League at-bats last year. Shelton reported to the Arizona Fall League to catch up on some of the playing time he missed during the 2004 season, and proceeded to win league MVP honors with an incredible .404/.470/.667 line in 114 at-bats.

Scouting Report
This section of the profile could be brief. Chris Shelton can flat out hit, end of story. In the batter's box, there is absolutely no doubting Chris' ability. Chris excels in nearly every offensive area, including hitting for average, hitting for reasonable power, and drawing walks. Shelton is a selective hitter who consistently drives his pitch to all fields, and can take any pitch out of the park. Despite appearing somewhat portly, Chris is a powerful player who will likely continue to increase his power as he learns to loft the ball more. A full season of at-bats with Toledo in 2005 will help take Shelton to the next level offensively; giving the Tigers some tough decisions next season. In the field, Chris has been tried at catcher, first base, and even the outfield, and none of them suit him particularly well. Shelton is on the slower side, leaving him without much range. He could probably man first base serviceably, with his offense compensating for his lack of skills in the field. The only thing keeping Shelton from being considered an elite prospect is his defense. If he can improve that facet of his game, he could become a much more highly touted commodity.



































Health Record
Shelton dealt with minor injuries last season, but nothing that should be of concern moving forward. There are some concerns that Shelton's body type will not age well, leaving him with a brief, but potentially impressive career.

The Future
As previously mentioned, Shelton will begin the 2005 season with AAA-Toledo, but will only be one injury away from a call to the big leagues. Chris proved during his brief minor league assignment in 2004 that he can hit AAA pitching, and he will be expected to do the same this season. With the Tigers holding the option on Dmitri Young's contract for the 2006 season, Shelton could force their hand with respect to that decision. If Shelton can continue his offensive display, while proving he can successfully navigate the infield, he could be in Detroit very soon.

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