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Top Prospect Alert

Josh Beckett -- By Robert Sherry

Probably the most hyped high school pitching prospect to come along probably since Todd Van Poppel, this 19-year-old is already a legend in Texas.

Having been compared to other Lone-Star greats like Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan, Beckett was the number two overall selection in the 1999 draft, with only the question of his signability keeping him from being the number one pick. He eventually signed a four-year, $7 million major league contract with the Marlins just days before he was to start college.

At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, this right-hander uses an upper-90s fastball and a very good curve as his top two pitches while working on a changeup. Add in the confidence he shows on the mound and you have all the ingredients for someone who could wind up being one of the best pitchers in baseball eventually, and that may not be too far down the road.

He debuted at Class-A Kane County, where he was as dominant as advertised in his first two pro starts (0-0. 1.00 ERA, 9 IP, 6 H, 4 BB,and 12 SO) before tendinitis set in, which has him on the shelf for now. I don't think this is anything major, as it appears it was caused by his just getting used to the weightlifting, etc., which he is now doing that he has not done in the past.

Beckett is someone who should move quickly, I think you could see him at Double-A by season's end and possibly in Florida by late 2001. He has the look of a future all-star.


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