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Goldberg one to keep an eye on for 2014

Mound prospect was 10th-round pick in 2013 First-Year Player Draft

CHICAGO -- The name of Brad Goldberg won't be found on MLB.com's list of Top 100 Prospects for the 2014 season.

In fact, he was not listed among the Top 20 for White Sox prospects at the end of last season.

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But depending on how this upcoming campaign plays out, there are those in the organization who believe Goldberg could make a big league contribution before the season is complete.

Goldberg, the club's 10th-round pick out of Ohio State University in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, posted a 1.54 ERA and 49 strikeouts over 35 innings covering 16 relief efforts during stops for Rookie league Great Falls, Class A Kannapolis and Class A Advanced Winston-Salem after his selection. The 6-foot-4 right-handed hurler will begin this season as a starter in the team's Minor League ranks, with a chance to develop his four-pitch repertoire, but his future appears to be in relief.

"He's a little older, so I think people shied away from him just because of his age, but we like his arm," said White Sox assistant general manager Buddy Bell of the soon-to-be 24-year-old Goldberg. "He's got some sink. Big, [Curt] Schilling-type looking body."

"It was a great time," said Goldberg during an offseason interview of his '13 start. "I enjoyed the challenge and it was just a whirlwind, moving a lot. I'm looking forward to what the future has."

Just to arrive at this point of success was quite a challenge for Goldberg. And that challenge dealt with more off-the-field issues than a lack of talent.

His college career began with Coastal Carolina in 2009, but Goldberg transferred to Ohio State following the 2010 season. After sitting out the 2011 campaign, Goldberg also missed 2012 because a portion of his academic credits did not transfer.

Every option was tried to reinstate his eligibility. But a change of majors from Sports Management at Coastal Carolina to Sociology at Ohio State sat at the root cause of the problem.

"I had credits from Sports Management but OSU is a little bit higher of an academic institution than Coastal. So it was a loophole that was kind of a crazy situation honestly," said Goldberg, who added that Coastal Carolina didn't have a Sociology major. "I wouldn't wish that upon anybody, but it's made me a better person.

"That was kind of tough not getting those real competitive games. I pitched summer ball and stuff, but I wanted to play for my school. That was my toughest thing. Putting in all the work and you couldn't put it out for everyone to see."

During his one season for Ohio State in 2013, Goldberg produced a 6-1 record with a 2.99 ERA over 15 starts. It was enough for the White Sox to take a chance.

"A big, strong power-arm guy, with a live fastball," said White Sox assistant scouting director Nick Hostetler, who watched Goldberg in college. "He's going to be a guy who can flash a breaking ball every now and then.

"He just battled. Just a hard-nosed, mature kid, with a really good, aggressive approach to everything he did. He needed the chance to refine his stuff. I loved the power arm, the big strong body and the competitiveness."

Since joining the White Sox, Goldberg's breaking ball has improved. He's also working on developing his changeup and consistency of delivery. If he shows the ability to start, then his rise toward the Majors probably will be a bit slower.

But wherever Goldberg ends up, he's thankful for the strong support from Ohio State that helped him arrive. They stuck with him even during his two-year absence from the mound.

"They hadn't seen me for two years. Who knows what can happen in two years?" said Goldberg of OSU's support. "What a blessing that they stood by me. I owe a lot to that school and the coaching staff there for being pretty loyal.

"Your stuff in college, you can get away with a lot of mistakes. Here you have to execute and it's real easy … one pitch can change the whole game here. Attack, attack and make your pitches."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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