|ESPN.com: Rise||[Print without images]|
Since joining the Boston Red Sox in 2003, no major leaguer has delivered in the clutch as often as David Ortiz. So it's no surprise the long-suffering franchise has emerged as the best in baseball with five playoff appearances and two World Series titles since his arrival. Big Papi put the Red Sox on his back in 2004 when they erased a 3-0 deficit to the rival Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
|Jeff Malm||David Ortiz|
|High School||Bishop Gorman (Nev.)||Estudia Espillat (D.R.)|
|Highlight||Three straight state titles||Two World Series titles|
But Ortiz's road to success was long and arduous. In 1992, he signed with the Seattle Mariners out of Estudia Espillat High School in the Dominican Republic. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins in 1996 and became a part-time player before getting released after the 2002 season. The Red Sox signed him, and he's been wreaking havoc on opposing pitchers ever since. Jeff Malm is equally imposing when he digs into the left-handed batter's box.
The power hitting first baseman from Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) has been a middle-of-the-order mainstay since his freshman season, leading the Gaels to three consecutive Class 4A state titles. In 129 high school games, he has batted .487 with 15 homers, 60 doubles and 186 RBI. While Ortiz is primarily a DH, Malm is an excellent defensive first baseman who can even handle himself on the mound, going 8-2 in each of the past two seasons.
He's also delivered on the international stage as one of the leading hitters for the USA Baseball 18U National Team the past two summers. A 2008 Under Armour All-American, Malm has committed to USC but is a likely early-round pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. Betting on this kid from Vegas is hardly a gamble.
MISS: Jay Sborz to Roger Clemens
Detroit's second-round pick in 2003, Sborz was a highly touted power right-hander out of Langley (McLean, Va.). But Sborz hasn't made it out of the minors despite being drafted ahead of Red Sox star closer Jonathan Papelbon.
The next Joe Mauer: Bryce Harper (Las Vegas)
Only a sophomore, Harper already has scouts calling him a sure-fire star. With a cannon for an arm and a lethal bat, he could be a power-hitting version of Mauer.