Grizzlies Land Former White Sox ProspectApril 9, 2012 - Frontier League (FL) Gateway Grizzlies
Shelby, 26, comes to Gateway after five years in affiliated ball, four with the White Sox and one with the Tampa Bay Rays. Regarded as a can't miss prospect, Shelby was drafted by the White Sox in the 5th round of the 2006 draft out of the University of Kentucky.
"I'm excited to come to Gateway and grateful for the chance the Grizzlies have given me," Shelby said. "I'm going to come in and help the team win some games."
"John's a big-time talent," Grizzlies sixth-year manager Phil Warren said. "This is a huge singing for us. Not many people can do what he does on the baseball field and he makes our team better."
Shelby, a 5-10 200-pound infielder/outfielder, spent the 2011 season in the Rays organization, batting .248 with 16 homers and 52 RBI in 117 games at Double-A Montgomery. A native of Lexington, KY, he also appeared in one game at Triple-A Durham, going 0-for-3.
"I enjoyed my time in the Ray's organization and thought I would be heading to Triple-A out of Spring Training, but it didn't work out and now God has a different plan," Shelby said.
Prior to his one year with the Tampa Bay organization, Shelby spent 2006-2010 in the White Sox Organization at four different levels.
Shelby hit .301 with 16 homers and 79 RBI at Single-A Kannapolis in 2007 and .295 with 15 homers and 33 stolen bases at High-A Winston-Salem in 2008 before spending the 2009 and 2010 seasons at Double-A Birmingham.
"The White Sox were great to me and treated me well," Shelby said. "They drafted me and gave me my first shot in pro baseball, which I'll always be grateful for."
In 2009 and 2010 at Birmingham, he combined to hit 21 homers, drive in 92 runs and steal 45 bases in 226 games.
Used in college as a second baseman, Shelby has seen time at second base and in the outfield during his professional career, with the majority of his action coming in center and left field.
"I wish I would've had more time at second base in the Sox organization, but I feel like I adjusted well to the outfield," Shelby remarked. "I'm hoping I get the chance to play both second and the outfield here and show my versatility."
Shelby played college baseball at Kentucky and helped lead the Wildcats to the 2006 SEC Championship. He left college after his junior season. Shelby played at Kentucky with Grizzlies outfielder Antone DeJesus and hitting coach Mike Breyman.
"I'm excited about being around these familiar faces," Shelby said. "We are going to have fun and win games while doing it."
Shelby is the son of 11-year MLB veteran and current Milwaukee Brewers coach, John Shelby III. The younger Shelby's cousin, Josh Harrison, plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Grizzlies open their season on May 18th against the reigning Frontier League Champion, Joliet Slammers. Single game, season and group tickets are on sale now. For more information call 618.337.3000.
Frontier League Stories from April 9, 2012
- Evansville Otters Sign Pitch Kyle Ocampo - Evansville Otters
- RiverHawks' Kevin Smith Retires - Rockford RiverHawks
- Grizzlies Land Former White Sox Prospect - Gateway Grizzlies
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