J.R. House: One of my favorite players in the minor's, this former
5th round selection in the 1999 draft has become one of the top catching
prospects in minors.
In 2000, House played the very talented
Single-A Hickory team and posted quite impressive numbers (.348, 23 HR, 90
RBI, 29 2B, 1 3B, 78 R, 46 BB, and 91 SO in 420 AB). In 110 games,
he committed eight errors. He also shared the South Atlantic League's MVP
award with Josh Hamilton. The only blemish to his season was that he
missed a month while suffering from mononucleosis.
had an interesting high school career. He played for Seabreeze High (FL)
in the spring, while also being a record-setting quarterback (had
opportunities to play Division 1-A at several schools including both
Georgia and West Virginia) at Nitro High (WV) in the fall. The reason for
this is that his father owned businesses in both states. In his senior
year, House guided the
football team to a state championship and then
went on to hit .600 during the baseball season.
At this point of
his career, his offense is ahead of his defense but the catching should
catch up as he gets more game experience. Remember, he didn't focus on
just one sport in high school. But at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds. House could
eventually be the replacement to Jason Kendall if the Pirates are unable
to afford him. House could develop into a middle-of-the-order type of
slugger capable of hitting 30+ homers while batting .300+. I think he
would be capable of handling a jump to Double-A to start 2000, but it
would probably be better if the Pirates are more conservative and just
advance him to High-A to start 2001.