Nov. 17, 2008

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Former Kentucky slugger John Shelby, a native of Lexington, Ky., has been tabbed the seventh-best prospect in the Chicago White Sox Organization, Baseball America announced Monday.

Shelby, who played at UK from 2004-06, has emerged as one of the top prospect in the game, utilizing a combination of speed, power and above-average defensive skills, while primarily playing centerfield.

“The son of former big leaguer John “T-Bone” Shelby, “Treybone” is one of the best athletes in the system,” Baseball America’s Phil Rogers said in his prospect breakdown. “A second baseman in college, he moved to the outfield in mid-2007. A Carolina League all-star in 2008, he led White Sox farmhands with 33 steals while playing through hamstring problems. He went on to finish with 80 RBIs, owned a league-best .515 slugging percentage and was second in the circuit with 37 doubles.”

A key cog in the 2006 UK Southeastern Conference Championship team, Shelby had a marvelous career in Lexington, including two All-Conference designations in his sophomore and junior campaigns. While playing second base everyday for the Wildcats in 2006, Shelby batted .291 with 18 homers. Shebly ranks eighth all-time in the UK career record books for triples (7), 10th in homers (33), and seventh in stolen bases (42).

“Shelby has the best combination of power and speed in the system,” Rogers continued. “Though he’s only 5-foot-10, he’s strong for his size. He adds to his plus speed with good baserunning instincts and could develop into an even bigger stolen-base threat. He’s improving in center field and has an average arm.

“Shelby will be tested in 2009 at (double A) Birmingham, a notoriously tough park for hitters with a lot of ground to cover in center. He and Jordan Danks will battle to be the long-term center fielder for a team that has tried 11 different players there since trading Aaron Rowand following the 2005 season.”

A year ago, Baseball America tabbed Shelby as the eighth-best prospect in the White Sox system.

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