DOB: December 19, 1980
Scott Whitrock initially wanted to be a firefighter. In fact, after graduating from Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, he enrolled in a technical school. During his time at Madison Area Technical College he earned a degree, but he also set numerous records for their baseball team.
After setting records in home runs with 31, RBI with 101, batting average at .425, and stolen bases with 49, Whitrock caught the attention of the Minnesota Twins. In 2001, the Twins made him their 19th round selection, and the 20-year old was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Twins.
With his firefighting career on hold, Whitrock would hit only .170 in his first season of professional baseball, and strikeout 40 times in 36 games. He would turn it all around in 2002, becoming one of the best players on the Elizabethton Twins.
Whitrock hit .300 for the Twins in 2002, splitting his time between center and rightfield. 2002 was also the first season that Whitrock stole more than ten bases, a trend he has continued even in 2005. After proving his worth at the short-season level, Whitrock was promoted to Quad City of the Midwest League in 2003.
For Quad City, Whitrock hit only .230 in 91 games, and struck out 96 times. He hit only three home runs all season long, but still managed to steal 13 bases. It is understandable for his numbers to be on the downside, considering it was his first year of full-season ball.
In 2004, he again started the season in Quad City, this time faring much better against Midwest League pitching. He hit 13 home runs in 2004, stole 17 bases, and led the team with 12 triples. He showed the speed and power that the Twins saw from him in Junior College. That season warranted a promotion to High-A Fort Myers.
This past season, Whitrock was at the top of the Miracle leaderboard in many categories. He led the team with 15 home runs, 56 runs, and 22 doubles. He also led the entire Twins organization in stolen bases, swiping a career-high 25. However, his batting average was only .222, a number he definitely needs to work on in 2006.
Batting and Power. Whitrock has good power, blasting 28 home runs the past two seasons. He has the ability to hit the ball in the gap, and has great extra-base hit ability. One thing he definitely needs to work on his batting average, and most importantly, his strikeouts. For the second straight season, Whitrock has been at the top of the Twins' farm system in strikeouts, whiffing 158 times in 2005. He is only a lifetime .238 hitter, and will need to hit at least .275 in 2006 at Double-A New Britain. If he can work on his average, with his power numbers, he should be considered a dangerous bat in the Rock Cats' lineup.
Base running and Speed. This is the area in which Whitrock separates himself from other prospects within the Twins' organization. He is a tremendous base runner, and can swipe a bag at anytime. It is not because he has blazing speed, but it is because he is always hustling and trying to get the extra base. Former Twins legend Paul Molitor said that he reminds him of himself during his playing days. He is a gritty player, and will catch a pitcher napping and take the extra bag. He also has a history of hitting extra-base hits, a sign that he is putting the ball in the gap, putting his head down, and grabbing that extra base.
Defense. Whitrock struggled with the glove in 2004, but bounced back in 2005 to become a very reliable outfielder. In his 111 starts, Whitrock only committed six errors, and had a career-high 17 assists. Throughout his career, he has been used only as an outfielder, and as he has gotten experience, has gotten better with the glove. He is a fearless player, willing to dive to make the play at all times. This is what the coaches love about him, he sacrifices his body to make the big play.
ETA. 2008.Whitrock has the intangibles to make it to a Major League roster someday. He has good speed, sacrifices his body, and can hit for power. The one thing the Twins are looking for from him is the ability to be consistent at the plate. He needs to cut down on his strikeouts, and start hitting for average if he ever wants to be considered a legitimate Major League prospect. However, he should get a shot during the 2008 season, if he uses the next two years to work on his weaknesses. Players like Whitrock are hard to come by, and if it does not work out for him as a Twins prospect, he can always save lives as a firefighter.