Is Jeff Malm the next David Ortiz?

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.

Malm vs. Ortiz

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.


Hits and misses from our past NEXT picks

HIT: Lastings Milledge to Sammy Sosa
Only 23, Milledge became an everyday player for the
Washington Nationals this year and showcased the
power and speed combo that made him a first-round
pick in 2003 out of Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton, Fla.).

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.

Next In Line

More high school baseball comparisons

The next Johan Santana: Matt Purke (Klein/Spring, Texas)
Purke, boasts the same fastball-slurve-changeup repertoire as the two-time Cy Young winner. The young lefty used it to fan 147 batters in just 76.2 IP last spring.

The next B.J. Upton: Donavan Tate (Cartersville, Ga.)
As an outfielder, Tate owns the same combination of power, speed and arm strength that made Upton a rising star during the Tampa Bay Rays' run to the World Series.

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.