02 May, 2003
Interesting to see Chris Reed's Prospect Report on OAK. After Rich
Harden, catcher Jeremy Brown has grabbed the #2 spot.
... Brown is a polished, college-proven, patient hitter. Is it any wonder
the A's selected him with one of their first round picks in the 2002 draft?
Brown ripped up the California League and there is no doubt that he can hit. The
question is whether his defense will be good enough to let him stay behind the
plate. Given his strengths and weaknesses he is in the best organization
possible to get an opportunity and the A's could certainly use a catcher who
wouldn't have to bring up the back of the batting order."
... 3. Bobby Crosby ... had a strong season in High A-Modesto
before seeing his production drop off with a move to AA-Midland. Defensively, he
is equipped to handle shortstop. With the possible departure of Miguel Tejada
following the 2003 season, Crosby could make the A's decision easier by
repeating his lower level success in Triple A. He has the potential to be an
above average shortstop."
Pouliot, RotoWorld, on Miguel Cabrera FLO & Guillermo Quiroz
... Cabrera ... starting to really excel in the minors. As a 20-year-old, heís
at .402/.447/.686 with 5 HR, 32 RBI, 11/9 K/BB and 7 SB in 102 AB for Double-A
Carolina ... Although he wonít maintain this pace for the entire season, itís
clear that Cabrera has taken a real step forward. Now in his second year at
third base after switching from shortstop, the product of Venezuela has been
able to focus on his offense. Thatís not to say he has third base mastered,
but he is going to be adequate. Offensively, Cabrera looks like a future star
... Like Brandon Phillips, Cabrera is so far away from his peak years that
he canít be counted on to be much of an asset as a rookie. Still, itís not a
good idea to bet against players with this kind of talent."
... Quiroz, who was signed out of Venezuela in 1998, appears to be blossoming as
a 21-year-old. The power is legit, and since Quiroz is a quality defensive
catcher, he has more long-term upside than Kevin Cash. Because of Cashís
presence, the Jays figure to give Quiroz full seasons in Double- and Triple-A.
In 2005, they could have an impressive tandem of young catchers."
Times-Union, on Miguel Cabrera :
... Cabrera is by far enjoying his best minor league season. He currently leads
the Southern League in batting (.418), RBI (32), hits (46) and runs scored (23).
He's also the league leader in slugging percentage, extra base hits, doubles and
highest slugging percentage.
never seen anyone like him, and because of that, I can't even compare him to
anyone," Mudcats manager Tracy Woodson said. "He's got everything, the
whole package. I've had a couple guys ask me if he could go up to the major
leagues now -- I think he could, right now. "I think he's capable of making
the double jump. I don't think he'll even go to Triple-A. There's no need to.
You send him to the big leagues and he'll hold his own. He's a man, a young
... He's got range, good hands and a strong arm indicating defense won't
hold him back. Woodson said there are no negatives to Cabrera's current game.
"What might hold him back?" Woodson asked and then answered. "I
don't think there's anything."
06 May, 2003
Keller, SportsTicker, Top 10 prospects after the 1st month of the minor
league season. Jose Reyes of the Mets captures the top spot :
... Already playing at Triple-A at the tender age of 19, Reyes is a five-tool
talent with all-star potential. Shortstop will be his before the season ends in
New York. The switch-hitter is still raw, and he's hitting .258 with an
International League-high 17 steals in 18 attempts and three errors in his first
24 games. Reyes hit .287 with 58 stolen bases between Class A and Class AA last
year, earning him SportsTicker's 2002 Teenager of the Year award."
07 May, 2003
Jim Callis, Baseball America, on Joel Zumaya DET :
... he signed as a Tigers 11th-round pick ... threw 94-97 mph in the
Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He dominated the GCL with a 1.93 ERA, a 46-11
strikeout-walk ratio in 37 innings and a .163 opponent average. He has been no
more hittable at low Class A West Michigan this year. He's 2-1, 1.69 after six
starts, with a 56-12 K-BB ratio and .153 opponent average in 32 innings. He
fanned 14 guys in seven shutout innings against Beloit last night ... one of his
points of emphasis upon rejoining the Tigers was raising his arm angle and
repeating his delivery. If he can learn to do that, he'll improve the
consistency of his curveball and changeup, both of which are still in the
developmental stages ... at 18 he's one of the youngest players in the Midwest
League. He's 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and still growing, so he could add more
velocity in time."
More on Zumaya from The Grand Rapids Press :
... Zumaya admitted feeling somewhat invincible on the mound. The 18-year-old
flame-throwing phenom for the West Michigan Whitecaps sent opposing hitters back
to the dugout muttering to themselves and shaking their heads in complete
frustration and humiliation Monday night. The scene was repeated 14 times
through seven masterful innings. "It was major-league stuff," Detroit
Tigers Minor League Field Coordinator Glenn Ezell said after witnessing Zumaya's
spectacular effort against the Beloit Snappers. "I'm not saying he's ready
for the major leagues, but what you're seeing is about as good as it gets. He
was good enough tonight to get out some major-league hitters."
... fans were treated to one of the most dominant pitching performances in the
10-year history of the Whitecaps franchise. Zumaya once more lived up to his
reputation as the "Kid K" of the Midwest League. He struck out a
season-high 14 batters, one shy of the franchise record, and added to his
remarkable league-leading strikeout total, which is now 56 through six starts
spanning only 32.0 innings ... "I just go out there and pitch,"
said Zumaya, who departed after throwing 91 pitches. "I had a real good
curveball going tonight and a pretty good slider. To hitters, (my fastball)
probably looked a lot faster." It's nearly impossible to hit right now.
Zumaya repeatedly threw 94-95 mph Monday on a cool, crisp night. He hit 97 mph
with a few of his fastballs against the overmatched Snappers, and he frequently
has popped the radar guns with a sizzling 98-mph fastball in the first two
months of the season. He had full command of four pitches Monday -- fastball,
slider, curve, changeup ... threw first-pitch strikes to 13 of 24 batters. He
scattered three hits, including a pair of singles to leadoff man Kennard Bibbs,
issued no walks and got six strikeouts on called third strikes."
Emerging Prospect -- LA's Franklin Gutierrez :
... Franklin was no secret when I got here in November of '01," Bill Bavasi, Director of Player Development said. "He was one of the first
players the organization told me about. Camilo Pascual (the scout who signed
Gutierrez) certainly should be excited about this young man." Gutierrez has
plenty of filling out to do on his slender, 6-2 frame, and he has a quick stroke
and power potential. His inexperience shows at the plate too, evidenced by 12
walks and 31 strikeouts in his first 109 at-bats. Defensively, Gutierrez has the
speed to play center field and the arm for right, and the Dodgers like his
approach to the game as well. "Franklin is a gifted player who has a good
head on his shoulders," said Bavasi. He projects optimistically to be a
five-tool player and there is nothing in his makeup to say he won't realize all
08 May, 2003
Reed, Prospect Report, has his PHI preview up. A big righty tops the
... Gavin Floyd is a younger version of Adam Wainwright of the Braves. At
6' 6", Floyd throws in the low-90's and features a tremendous curve. The
Phillies are working with Floyd to expand his repetoire which is why he isn't
striking out as many batters as one might expect. Floyd has an advanced feel for
pitching which is rare in a teenager and he should enjoy success at each level
of competition ... If Floyd is successful in improving his limited array of
pitches he could mature into a #1 starter."
Newberg, TEX Minor League Report, on Ryan Ludwick :
... I'd suggest to you that the most overlooked commodity in the upper levels of
the Ranger system right now is Ryan Ludwick, given the needs of the big club and
the tools he possesses. After homering twice in the opener of yesterday's
Oklahoma doubleheader, the 24-year-old has his numbers back up to .280/.368/.540
in 100 at-bats, sharing or owning the team lead with six home runs and 27 RBI in
30 games ... is the club's top internal hope in terms of finding someone
who can handle center ... But don't expect to see it soon: not only is he
playing more on the outfield corners than in center thus far for the RedHawks
this spring, he isn't even doing much of that lately. In eight of his last nine
games -- including both ends of yesterday's twinbill -- he has been Oklahoma's
designated hitter. You can safely assume that his hip is the reason for the lack
of defensive work, because when healthy, he projects as a player who can help
with the glove as well as the bat."
09 May, 2003
Pouliot, RotoWorld, on Dontrelle Willis FLO & Dan Haren
... Willis isnít overpowering, but he has good stuff for a lefty. His moving,
91-mph fastball is his best pitch, but he also has a strong curveball and an
improving changeup. Like Kevin Appier, he has a funky delivery that causes
hitters to have trouble picking up the ball. Although Willis isnít truly ready
for the majors, the delivery and the movement could allow him a month or two of
success initially. In an ideal situation, Willis would spend at least one more
season in the minors. Instead, he will be entrusted to the care of Jeff Torborg
starting tomorrow. If he stays healthy, Willis should someday settle in as a
quality No. 2 or No. 3 starter. My guess is that injuries will prevent that from
happening for at least a couple of years. Still, NL-only leaguers shouldnít be
afraid to take a chance on him this time around."
... While heís not quite the prospect that the Marlins left-hander is, Haren
is rock solid. The 22-year-old right-hander has excellent command of a low-90s
fastball. His changeup is more impressive than his breaking ball, but heíll
need to improve both in order to be something more than a third or fourth
starter. Haren began this year well behind Jim Journell on the Cardinalsí
depth chart, but that could be changing, as Journell has a 5.45 ERA at Triple-A
Memphis. Since a Chuck Finley signing doesnít appear likely, itís possible
that Haren will be brought up at some point. However, it is more likely is that
heíll have to wait until 2004 for his chance. Haren is not the type of pitcher
likely to experience immediate success in the majors, but he does project well
for the long term.
Boyd, Baseball America, on Kyle Davies ATL :
... Davies, 19, is holding opposing hitters to a minor league-low .102 average.
He improved to 3-0, 1.30 with five shutout innings for Class A Rome ... and has
allowed nine hits in 28 innings. He has 41 strikeouts and 17 walks allowed.
"His stuff has picked up a full grade," Moore (ATL director of player
personnel Dayton Moore) said. Davies was clocked between 89-93 and pitched at
90-91 last night. "He's very aggressive with his fastball to both sides of
the plate. He has an above-average changeup and above-average curveball and he's
not afraid to use all of his pitches anytime in a count."
Kevin Jepsen ANA 7.0 1 1 0 3
6 (W, 6-1, 1.63)
Jepsen among the under-hyped. 2nd round
pick in 2002 out of high school, Nevada. 18, listed at 6-3, 200. Poor pro
debut last season in rookie ball (1-3, 6.84 in 26 1/3 innings. 12 walks, 19 Ks).
Little on Jepsen going into last year's draft :
... Strong, lean build, solid arms and legs. Build similar to former Major
League Bret Saberhagen ... aggressive, comes at you. Easy arm action, good
extension, solid finish. Fastball explodes. Slider has snap and quick break.
Natural feel for pitching." (MLB.com)
... Climbing charts quickly touching 98 this spring & showing a 91 mph
slider. That devastating 1-2 strikeout combo could cause Jepsen to be an early
selection on draft day." (BrewerFan.com)
12 May, 2003
Jones, progressing nicely for the
... Having never pitched above low-A Beloit in his professional career,
Jones had to prove himself against Southern League hitters. After
Saturday night ... there are few questions left ... a star is definitely
in the making ... Milwaukee's 2001 first-round pick, Jones dazzled the
Smokies for eight shutout innings, allowing just two singles and three
walks while fanning six. Over his last three outings, Jones has thrown
20 consecutive scoreless innings. The last run he allowed was a
first-inning, leadoff homer by Ryan Langerhans on April 27 ... On
Friday, Jones was named Southern League Pitcher of the Week for May 2-8
after throwing seven scoreless, two-hit innings with eight strikeouts in
a 1-0 win over Chattanooga on May 2. Somehow, Jones topped that effort,
requiring just 92 pitches to navigate eight innings, the longest outing
for a Star this season. Jones celebrated his 20th birthday on April 23,
and he has allowed just one run since." (Huntsville Press Release)
Cameron, Strike Three, with a suggestion not to write off kids too quickly :
... Every year, we see players make leaps forward that no projection system
would deem reasonable. Hacks develop into patient sluggers, busts turn into
franchise center fielders, and defensive specialists figure out how to hit a
line drive ... .keep this in mind the next time someone tells you Drew Henson
can't hit a baseball, that Joel Guzman's walk rate is so terrible
that he can't develop into a star, or that Hector Gimenez's .676
OPS in the Carolina League proves he's a catch-and-throw guy. Those statements
may all be true today, but none of them may be true tomorrow. More often than we
realize, the light for a prospect turns on, and his physical tools turn into
baseball skills. Consider the cases of Alexis Rios, Guillermo
Quiroz, Jose Lopez, J.J. Hardy, Josh McKinley,
Rocco Baldelli, and the others who will surely follow in their
footsteps. Talent is talent, regardless of whether or not you're showing up on
the South Atlantic League leaderboard in on-base percentage. Let's stop writing
off 20-year-olds as non-prospect hacks and start realizing there is a lot more
to player development than dominating the lower minor leagues."
13 May, 2003
Boyd, Baseball America, on Alexis Rios TOR :
... Despite his lack of power production--six home runs in 1,450 at-bats
before this season--Rios' approach at the plate has prompted scouts to
project more pop. If his Eastern League-best .694 slugging percentage 22
games into this season is any indication, they were right on ... player
development officials believe it's due to his newfound approach in the
batter's box. "There's no question, he's matured as a hitter,"
New Haven hitting coach Ken Joyce said. "His approach is exactly
what the organization is looking for. He is getting deeper into counts
and seeing more pitches." ... The Blue Jays don't want to take any
of his natural aggressiveness away, but they are emphasizing plate
discipline ... his innate instincts for the game, and his tremendous
hand-eye coordination take over and has 12 walks and a league-leading
.511 on-base percentage. "They want me to take the most pitches you
can take in an at-bat," Rios said before Sunday's game. "It's
helped me a lot. Years before I've swung at the first pitch a lot and
got myself out. "I'm just trying to stay back at the plate and let
the ball get deeper to try to hit the other way." Joyce said Rios
has also improved his plate coverage, a result of staying back and
waiting for the pitch to travel a little deeper than he had in the
14 May, 2003
John Maine cited as an Emerging Prospect by SportsTicker's Amy K.
... He throws easy, really good delivery out of his hand," said
Orioles' Director of Minor League operations Doc Rodgers. "He
doesn't have to sit up there and grunt to get the ball 90-plus miles an
hour." Maine struck out seven over five scoreless innings in his
first outing this season in a no-decision. He dropped the next,
uncharacteristically walking four and allowing a run in three innings
before being pulled. Since then, however, he's gone 4-0 in five starts,
striking out a combined 39 batters over 29 2/3 frames ...Maine is 4-1
with a 1.43 ERA in eight appearances and is holding batters to a .154
average against, including a minuscule .106 vs. lefties. His 49
strikeouts are good for sixth best in all of Minor League Baseball.
Maine gets hitters to chase his fastball - which tops out around 93 - by
throwing it high in the zone. While that technique works in Class A, the
22-year-old will need to rely more on his breaking stuff as he advances
to the higher levels. "We asked him to work on a breaking ball and
once he has that mastered, maybe we can go back to another breaking
ball," said Rodgers. "And his changeup, at this point, has
been a tough pitch for him to throw, because his fastball's been good
15 May, 2003
Sickels, ESPN.com, on Adam Wainwright ATL :
... solid A-ball campaigns in '01 and '02, and handling Double-A with aplomb so
far this year. He offers a complete package on the mound, and is definitely one
of the top pitching prospects in the game ... fastball is promising but a bit
inconsistent, ranging from 90 to 96 mph. As he matures, the higher velocity
readings should become more common. His heater has very good sinking movement
and can overpower people even on its "less hot" days. Wainwright also
has a very good breaking ball, described as both a hard curve and a slider. It
is also an out-pitch, and he has confidence in it. A changeup rounds out his
arsenal ... has very good control, though he sometimes grooves pitches
unnecessarily when behind in the count."
... K/IP ratios have been terrific, and he's maintained a strikeout-per-inning
pace in Double-A, an excellent sign for his future ... Groundball pitchers who
also strike people out at high rates are not that common; Wainwright could
eventually produce Kevin Brown-like numbers with maturity ... has everything he
needs to become an outstanding pitcher."
Barbieri, SportsTicker, on Justin Morneau MIN :
... He's not intimidated by anybody's fastball or off-speed pitches," said
Phil Roof, manager of the Red Wings. "He makes our ballclub a whole lot
better. He takes pressure off pitching and helps the other hitters in the lineup
around him." Morneau, who has always hit for a high average, evidenced by a
.319 career mark entering 2003, has turned on the power this year. He could
surpass his previous career high of 16 home runs by the end of May ... Through
drafted as a catcher, Morneau has handled all of the defensive duties at first
base well. He has shown decent range to both his right and left and has the
timing down on throws to the pitcher covering. The 6-4, 220-pound Morneau's
power emergence has the Twins looking to have their first legitimate home run
threat at first base since the days of Kent Hrbek."
16 May, 2003
Pouliot, RotoWorld, on OAK's next SS, the Rangers' CF & PIT's future
... Bobby Crosby ... The 23-year-old has advanced quickly through the
Oakland system, beginning his career in the California League and batting .318
in 84 games there. After a midseason promotion to Double-A last year, he hit
.281 with 7 HR, 31 RBI, 41/19 K/BB and 9 SB in 228 AB. That was good enough for
the A's to send him to Triple-A to start this year, and Crosby is more than
holding his own, batting .273 with 7 HR, 23 RBI, 37/11 K/BB and 5 SB in 139 AB.
Crosby is a solid defensive shortstop ... Crosby may not ever go to an All-Star
Game, but he has the ability to hit .280-.300 with 15 homers per year."
... Laynce Nix ... Manager Buck Showalter was so impressed with
Nix this spring that he considered bringing him to the majors to begin the
season ... after a slow start at Double-A Frisco, Nix has put himself back in
position for a midseason callup by batting .340 with 7 HR, 27 RBI, 22/14 K/BB
and 4 SB in 141 AB. With Ryan Ludwick appearing limited to an outfield corner
after hip surgery, Nix is now considered the Rangers' center fielder of the
future ... isn't an especially fast runner, and he'll probably end up in
left someday. Fortunately, he should have the bat for it. Nix's upside has him
as a .300/.380/.470 hitter, making him strikingly similar to Rusty Greer."
... Ryan Doumit ... yet another intriguing catching prospect
produced by the Pittsburgh farm system. The 1999 second-round pick entered 2003
with just 211 games under his belt, the result of several injuries. Now healthy,
the switch-hitter is showing nice pop to go along with a .344 average. J.R.
House probably isn't going to make it as a catcher and Humberto Cota looks
like a backup, so it's Doumit who currently appears to be Pittsburgh's
catcher of the future."
16 May, 2003
Perkins TOR (a report in the local paper before his Wednesday start 3.0 6 4 4 3 6)
... He's a hard worker and he has great talent," Charleston Manager Mark
Meleski said of the Canadian prospect ... one of the top arms in the Toronto
system. "There's no reason Vince won't be in the big leagues within the
next three years." Meleski used a double negative, but Perkins, 21, has had
only one of those this season. "I still throw too many pitches," said
Perkins ... A strikeout pitcher like the 6-foot-5 Perkins is going to
throw more pitches anyway, but the Victoria, B.C., native wants to get deeper
into the game than the six innings he's worked six times. On a pitch count early
in the season, Meleski said Perkins can be stretched out now to the 90-pitch
... To find something wrong with Perkins' work this season is to quibble.
After two seasons with Auburn in the short-season New York-Penn League, the
18th-round draft pick has overmatched low-Class A hitters. He leads the SAL in
earned run average (1.09) and opponents are hitting .103 against him. He's
allowed only 13 hits and fanned 54 in 411/3 innings. He has what Meleski calls
"tremendous command" on his slider and changeup. "I don't think
there's a pitcher in this league with better stuff," Meleski said of the
well-armed SAL. "He's been 92-95 (mph) with his fastball. He's ready to go
to high A (Dunedin). Honestly, he could probably pitch in Double AA (New Haven)
right now. "I don't make those decisions, and I don't like to put pressure
on guys, but his stuff is definitely big-league stuff." That's from a
manager, who, from his playing days in the Boston farm system in the early Ž80,
can use Roger Clemens as a point of reference."
... Perkins' repertoire feeds from
his diving two-seam fastball, which Meleski says is the only pitch on which the
right-hander needs better command. Perkins mixes in the change and slider, and
on occasion a four-seam fastball if he wants "a pitch up in the zone."
"I've learned how to go after people and try to get ahead of the hitters
with a first-pitch strike," Perkins said. "Strikeouts are great, but
if you can keep a guy's at-bat to 6, 7, 8 pitches, you're going to be out there
longer. That saves your arm a lot." (Charleston Daily Mail)
20 May, 2003
hand of applause for Bruce Norlander. A very active manager and
researcher, he's on the lookout for a second baseman and in collecting all the
data he's been kind enough to share it with us. First up (second ranked on
Bruce's Top 12) is San Diego's Josh Barfield.
6-0, 185, R/R. 20 years old, 4th round pick in
2003 -- A+ (through last night) 45 games,
.344 .386 .529 (BA, OBA, SLG). 14 doubles, 3 triples, 5 homers, 14 walks,
40 Ks, 6 SBs, 8 errors. All this a huge leap from his numbers at a lower
level last season.
2002 -- A-Ball .306
.340 .403, 22-3-8 (doubles, triples, homers). 26 walks, 105 Ks, 26 SBs, 24
errors in 130 games in the field.
2002 - Was named San Diego's Co-Minor League Player of the Year after leading
the Midwest League with 164 hits and 536 at-bats, and ranking 6th with a .306
batting average...led Single-A Fort Wayne in average, total bases (216), runs
scored (73) and games (129)...started the season with hits in 11 of his first 12
games, going 20-for-51 (.392) April 4-16...named Northwest League Player of the
Week for June 17-23...was 4-for-4 with his first career grand slam and 5 RBI
June 23 vs. Peoria...that game highlighted a season-best 11-game hitting streak,
in which he went 25-for-48 (.521)...was hitless in his next 2 games, then hit
safely in 17 of his next 18 affairs June 29-July 17...went 5-for-5 August 25 vs.
Michigan before being promoted to Single-A Lake Elsinore the following
day...drove in 4 runs in just 6 games with the Storm.
2001 - Named the No. 3 prospect in the Pioneer
League and the 12th-best in the Padres chain by Baseball America following his
professional debut at Rookie-level Idaho Falls...led the Pioneer League Padres
in average (.310), hits (86), RBI (53), total bases (121), runs scored (51), sac
flies (4), at-bats (277) and games (66)...was tied for the team lead in steals
(12) while ranking 2nd in on-base percentage (.350) and slugging (.437)...hit
safely in 10 consecutive games (16-for-44) July 16-25 and went on to reach base
safely in 20 straight July 16-August 10...during that stretch, drove in 17 runs
in 19 games July 17-August 8...finished the season on a 15-game hitting streak
August 17-September 2, batting .343 (23-for-67) with 20 RBI.
Sickels, ESPN.com. Josh
Barfield, 2B: Son of Jesse Barfield, but nothing like his dad. Hit .306 with 26
steals at Class A Fort Wayne, but drew just 26 walks. Promising at second base,
but needs to learn the strike zone.
Kevin Goldstein, The Prospect Report. Josh
put up a fine season in Fort Wayne, hitting .373 in the season's final month,
leading the Midwest League in hits and sharing organizational Player of the Year
honors with outfielder Jon Knott. All this for a 19-year old. Barfield is an
excellent hitter with a very high ceiling. He already hits for average and most
feel that a power surge is imminent if he can correct some flaws in his swing.
He's still learning to control the strike zone, but made some progress there as
the season wore on as he stopped chasing outside pitches. He's an excellent
athlete with soft hands, but needs to work on his defensive fundamentals to stay
at second base. Many feel a move to third base or the outfield could be in his
future as his body fills out.
Cooperstown Confidential Spring Training
Edition / March 5, 2003 by Bruce Markusen (Cooperstown, NY) A member of the
Society for American Baseball Research. He's the son of Jesse Barfield,
the cannon-armed right fielder with 40-home run power, but a completely
different player than his father. An athletic second baseman with good hands,
the younger Barfield uses the entire field and has line-drive power, but needs
to be more patient (only 26 walks against 105 strikeouts in 2002). The Padres
fret that Barfield might grow too big to play second base, but feel that he has
enough hitting potential to be a productive right-handed hitting outfielder.
That decision won't have to be made for at least a couple of years, since
Barfield isn't anywhere close to making the major leagues, with no experience
beyond short-season A-ball.
2001 From angelfire.com Padres page. There
isn't one aspect of Barfield's game that overwhelms opponents. Instead, the son
of former major leaguer Jesse Barfield has a package in which the total is
greater than the individual parts. "He's a big leaguer, a guy who is going
to be a good offensive second baseman," Provo manager Tom Kotchman said.
"He's going to hit. He was only a puppy in this league but he more than
held his own. He's got the makeup and the bloodlines. He's a breath of fresh
air." Considered raw by most managers, Barfield is a solid second baseman
with great hands, above-average range and an arm that is plenty strong for the
position. He also has good bat speed, and understands what pitchers are trying
to accomplish against him. His greatest strengths, according to the managers,
are his unparalleled instincts and overall athleticism. "He doesn't seem to
get fooled by many pitches for such a young player," Ogden manager Eddie
Sedar said. "He's a mature kid who has great character and a great attitude
toward the game."
22 May, 2003
Reed, Prospect Report, has Khalil Greene at the top in his SD
prospect report :
... Greene is the type of polished college hitter that Billy Beane and J.P.
Ricciardi would have loved to get their hands on. However, Padres GM Kevin
Towers snapped him up early in the first round. There are questions about
whether Greene will be able to stay at shortstop or whether he'll be forced to
switch to second. He has the stick to be an above average offensive middle
infielder ... Early on in the 2003 season Greene has struggled at the plate but
he should bounce back."
23 May, 2003
Cameron, Strike Three, watching some Carolina games and comes away impressed
by a young HOU catcher :
... The saving grace of the Avalanche is catcher Hector Gimenez, who is
the only legitimate prospect in the lineup. Gimenez is starting everyday in the
Carolina League at age 20, which is impressive in and of itself. His performance
hasn't been overwhelming, but he's holding his own and making adjustments. He's
not a big kid, and really could pass for a middle infielder if he grabbed a
glove and trotted out to second base. There's little thickness anywhere on him,
and I'll be surprised if he ever hits the 200-pound mark. Despite his diminutive
frame, Gimenez has some juice in his bat. His swing is fundamentally sound,
though he's got a way to go in learning the fine art of hitting. He had problems
with breaking balls, but got around on most fastballs he saw. Defensively, he's
got a rocket, but there is room to improve his release. If he maximizes his
defensive tools, he can be a shutdown-type catcher no one will run on."
24 May, 2003
Pouliot, RotoWorld, on Scott Hairston ARZ (also see the 2B roundup
below), TOR pitching phenom Vince Perkins and a surprise catching
prospect, Josh Willingham :
... From the preseason Top 100: Hairston is the new Marcus Giles. Of
course, that probably doesn't excite many of you, but I'm still a big
believer in the Atlanta second baseman. Like Giles, Hairston has been a
tremendous hitter in the minors as a second baseman, albeit one with some
defensive deficiencies. Hairston might end up switching positions ... Moving up
to Double-A has slowed Hairston a bit, but the 22-year-old is still batting .314
with 4 HR, 22 RBI, 33/14 K/BB and 3 SB in 155 AB. Also, he's made only five
errors in 35 games at second base. He's still a strong candidate to be moved
off the position, but it's not so clear that it has to happen. Hairston might
be ready for the majors next year.""
... Perkins, an 18th-round pick in 2000, has blossomed as a 21-year-old.
The right-hander was promoted to the Florida State League this week after a
dominant stint at Charleston and pitched six scoreless innings in his first
start for Dunedin. Perkins throws in the mid-90s and has a hard slider. He'll
probably have a spot on the midseason Top 100."
... Willingham, formerly a corner infielder, was converted into a catcher
last fall and has adjusted well to the position. Offensively, he's been
tremendous, although it has to be remembered that he's a 24-year-old repeating
the Florida State League. Whether or not he'll be decent enough defensively to
make it to the majors as a catcher is something that probably won't be known
for at least another full year."
2B prospects with quite different talents -- speed vs power. Ruddy Yan
of the WSox and Scott Hairston of the D'Backs plus Delwyn Young of
the Dodgers :
Edwin Ruddy Yan CHA -- 6-0, 165, B/R, 22
years old, signed as a free agent, 1999 out of the Dominican Republic. Acquired
from PIT. 20-game hitting streak in the Carolina League through Thursday's
AVG OBA SLG G AB R 2B 3B HR
RBI BB SO SB CS
2003 Winston-Salem A+ .360 .417 .430 44 172 43 7 1 1
15 18 30 30 6
2002 Winston-Salem A+ .253 .312 .318 132 490 78 6 7 4 35
42 57 88 19
2001 Hickory A .283 .347 .332 128 446
58 8 4 2 24 42 62 56 21
2002 USA Today :
... Second baseman/shortstop Yan finished second in both the organization and
the South Atlantic League in stolen bases but was caught 21 times. He hit just
.184 in May but revved it up to a .324 mark in June. "He may be the most
intriguing tools prospect in the whole system," White said. "He has
talent that's not quite polished yet. (2002) will be a big year for him."
2002 Baseball America: Yan ranked as the
Pirates' No. 26 prospect after hitting .283-2-24 with 56 stolen bases in his
first full pro season.
2003, Josh Boyd BA, listed as one of the
"Other Notables" after listing the top 20 2B prospects.
Scott Hairston ARZ -- 6-1, 190, R/R, 23
years old on Sunday, 3rd round pick in 2001.
AVG OBA SLG G AB R 2B 3B HR
RBI BB SO SB CS
2003 El Paso AA .316 .379 .506 40 158 27 14
2 4 22 14 34 3 1
2002 Lancaster A+ .405 .442 .797 18 79 20 11 1 6
26 6 16 1 0
2002 South Bend A .332 .426 .563 109 394 79 35 4 16 72 58
74 9 3
2001 Missoula SS .347 .432 .588 74 291 81 16 6 14 65 38 50 2 2
#26 on the Top 100 Baseball America
Sickels, ESPN.com :
... Brother of Jerry Hairston, Jr., and obviously the son of Jerry Hairston, Sr.
Scott is a second baseman like his brother, but is otherwise quite different,
being a tremendous hitter (career .346/.430/.597) but an indifferent fielder.
May move to the outfield."
#1 ARZ prospect on TheProspectReport.com by
Kevin Goldstein :
... finished among the minor leagues' top five in batting average,
extra-base hits, total bases and slugging percentage. Offensively, Hairston is a
force to be reckoned with. He hits for high average with power to all fields,
shows excellent patience, and is a good baserunner. Defensively, he's a bit of a
mess. While he has the athleticism to play in the infield, he shows average
range at best and is sloppy around the bag. Scouts have complained about a
lackadaisical defensive effort from Hairston, and he may be ticketed for left
field. He certainly has the bat to play anywhere. 2003 Outlook: Hairston is one
of the top offensive players in the minors, and he'll most likely skip the Class
A California League and start the season at AA El Paso. Making his major league
debut by September is a distinct possibility."
#2 ARZ prospect, Chris Reed's Prospect Report
... Hairston can hit. But can Hairston play quality defense at second base?
Hairston can hit. But can Hairston keep his offensive personality in check and
avoid pissing off touchy Major League teammates? These are the questions
surrounding Hairston's future. Rumors abound that Hairston could be shifted to
the outfield (killing much of his value) with nearly as much talk devoted to his
poor attitude. The D-Backs would be unlikely to complain if he developed into
similarly "talented" Jeff Kent."
Top Prospect Alert, Schuyler Dombroske :
... . He is at his best on offense, where he is fairly close to being a complete
player. He won the JC triple crown in 2001, nearly followed that up with the
Pioneer League triple crown a few months later, and then led the minors in extra
base hits this year. His last four batting averages have been .503, .347, .332,
and .405, so it is safe to say that he has the ability to hit for a high
average. He is a bit more mature than many A-ball players, so he may not develop
a lot more power, but he should be above average in that category at the very
least ... will need to develop a bit more patience as he climbs the ladder, a
task at which I expect him to succeed. With the glove, it is another story
entirely. He made 30 errors between the two levels in 2002, and it is not a case
where you say, "well, most of them were mental mistakes or lapses of
concentration." Hairston is simply not a good fielder at this
Cooperstown Confidential Spring Training
Edition / March 5, 2003 by Bruce Markusen (Cooperstown, NY) A member of the
Society for American Baseball Research :
... While his brother has struggled to hit during his young major league career,
Scott Hairston projects as a much better offensive player. With his short stroke
and developing power from the right side, some scouts have compared him to Jeff
Kent, a comparison that helps make Hairston the top prospect in the
Diamondbacks' system. Defensively, Hairston has drawn some criticism for playing
a lackadaisical second base. Even with full effort, Hairston might be suited for
a move to left field."
Joe Barbieri - SportsTicker :
... While defense has generally been considered the most important aspect for a
middle infielder in the past, the wave of offensive-minded players up the middle
have all but eliminated the one-dimensional defensive whiz. The cream of this
year's second basemen crop further evidences the development of the offensive
middle infielder. Scott Hairston led the Midwest League with a .462 on-base
percentage and hit .345 with 22 homers and 98 RBI over two Class A
Jack Magruder - Arizona Daily Star
... To hear baseball people tell it, the Diamondbacks prospect's ascension is
only a matter of time. "If he keeps doing what he is doing now, I like his
chances to play in the majors," said Sidewinders manager Al Pedrique, who
is Hairston's manager at Scottsdale of the Arizona Fall League. Scottsdale plays
in today's Arizona Fall League title game against Peoria. "He's shown the
power. He's going to hit. I feel like he's going to be a power second
baseman." Baseball America agrees. The magazine named Hairston as the
second baseman on its 2002 minor-league all-star team ... after an overpowering
offensive display in his first full season in professional baseball ...
"When Scott moved to the Cal League, he over-matched the league,"
D'backs director of player development Tommy Jones said. "He had an
outstanding offensive year, and he showed great improvement defensively."
26 May, 2003
SIckels, ESPN.com, on Gavin Floyd PHI and Neal Cotts
... Last year, Floyd posted a 2.77 ERA and 140/64 K/BB in 166 innings in the
Sally League. His performance this year isn't quite as good, but it's still just
May, and a 3.44 ERA is nothing to sneeze at. His strikeout rate is actually a
bit better than last year. I don't think there is anything wrong with him; these
numbers are still well within the range of expectation. Floyd remains one of the
top pitching prospects in the game, no question."
... Cotts was originally in the Oakland system, drafted in the second round in
2001 out of Illinois State. He came to Chicago this past winter as part of the
Billy Koch/Keith Foulke trade. Cotts is 6-1, 1.58 through nine starts at
Double-A Birmingham. His strikeout rate is exceptional at 67 in 46 innings,
though he's also walked 29, and better control will certainly be necessary as he
moves up. He doesn't have Buehrle's precision on the mound, but his stuff is
certainly good enough to succeed at the major-league level. His fastball is
actually average, but he's got a great breaking ball that is basically
unhittable when used properly. We may see him in the Show later this year, but I
think improved command will be needed before he'll thrive in the majors."
29 May, 2003
Sickels, ESPN.com, features COL 3B Garrett Atkins in his Down on the
Farm column :
... Atkins is physically strong, but has a level swing tailored for the line
drive. He's learned to drive the ball to the opposite field, and will be a home
run threat in Coors Field, but his stroke is geared more for contact than huge
home run power ... strike zone judgment is sound: he doesn't strike out
much, will take a walk if offered, and doesn't get himself out by swinging at
bad pitches. The main question for Atkins is defense. A natural first baseman,
he has moved to third because of Todd Helton. The Rockies really want him to
succeed there, but there is work to do. He has a strong arm, but his hands and
footwork still need improvement, and it's likely he'll never be more than an
average defensive player at the hot corner. If he hits, that will be good enough
... His performance this past spring and so far in Triple-A has been excellent.
Although the thin air in Colorado Springs likely boosts his numbers, most people
think he is ready or nearly ready to hit in the major leagues."
Chris Reed, Prospect Report, has a
different look atop the SEA top 10 -- shortstop Jose Lopez :
... If Lopez is really 19-years old than his performance in High A-San
Bernardino was incredible. However, one can't help but be reminded of Antonio
Perez, another "teenage" prospect . Perez looked like a prodigy in the
California League only to have a few years tacked on his to age and his prospect
status fizzle. If Lopez can repeat his performance in AA-San Antonio he'll
likely avoid following the same path to mediocrity that Perez has endured. I am
operating under the assumption that Lopez is his listed in age when I say that
Lopez looks to become a top shortstop. His performance early on in San Antonio
proves he can handle upper level pitching."
At #5, Reed likes outfield Shin Soo Choo
... similar to Chris Snelling, just a few steps behind in
development. With Ichiro! in right and Snelling in left, Choo may end up
in center. He has more power potential than Snelling and may end up as the
better player. His bat cuts quickly through the zone and his wrists
generate good power. He has good speed - 37 SB's - but his baserunning
could certainly use work - 21 CS's. He ended 2002 in High A-San Bernardino
and and will likely spend the majority of the season there."
30 May, 2003
Pouliot, RotoWorld, on Luis Matos BAL :
" ... Even though he lost his rookie
eligibility three years ago, Matos is still just 24 years old. The Orioles have
decided to give him another crack at the center-field job, and he's off to a
pretty good start. Matos has the tools to be a productive player, but he's
probably not going to hit enough to be a quality regular. Although he certainly
has some fantasy value right now, my guess is that he won't remain a regular
for the rest of the season."
And, Sergio Santos ARZ :
" ... Santos was Arizona's first-round
pick last season. The 19-year-old probably won't stay at shortstop, but he has
a lot of offensive potential. He's displayed a surprising amount of patience
and power (520 SLG for Rookie Missoula last year) for someone so young and could
be a top prospect in a year or two."
31 May, 2003
for action. Chris Reed, Prospect Report, in his Giants' review, has nine
of the ten slots assigned to pitchers. Along with the 1-2-3 of Jesse
Foppert, Jerome Williams, Kurt Ainsworth, there's Ryan Hannaman, Matt Cain and
Francisco Liriano at 5-6-7 and Boof Bonser at #8. Even then there's a
couple of pretty good ones at the bottom :
... 9. Merkin Valdez ... Formerly known as Manuel Mateo, Valdez was yet
another prospect who had a year tacked onto his age following more scrutinizing
visa checks. Valdez was acquired from the Atlanta Braves after tearing up the
Gulf Coast League. The righthander has exciting stuff, reflected in his 65
strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings. His command has been good in Low A ball and all he
has to do is prove himself at higher levels of competition."
... 10. Noah Lowry ... another young lefty with four solid pitches
and a good feel for pitching. While Lowry lacks the exciting fastball of
Francisco Liriano, he makes up for it with great offspeed offerings. Like
Liriano, Lowry has had a hard time staying healthy in the past. However, this
year he's managed to stay on the mound and out of the trainer's room. The 2001
first round pick has pitched 50 2/3 innings for AA-Norwich this season, posting
a solid 3.73 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 24 walks. Lowry needs to work keeping
his variety of pitches over the plate, but he looks like a future #3-#5
03 June, 2003
Draft Day ! John Sickels, ESPN.com, on a few of the possibilities
at the top of the draft :
... Jeff Allison ... Rated as the best high school pitcher in the draft
by most experts, Allison combines a mid-90s fastball and good command into an
attractive package. He also doesn't have as much mileage on his arm as most top
high school prospects, but that also means he has a bit less polish. Risky as
all high school pitchers go, but has a very high upside."
... Kyle Sleeth ... Likely the best raw arm in the college
ranks, although not as polished as Tim Stauffer ... Sleeth will probably be the
first college hurler drafted. He is big, throws hard, and has pitched well in
college. Hard to go wrong with that package."
... Delmon Young ... a tool-laden masher who has grown up around
the game and has more polish than most players his age. Like his brother, he
doesn't have a lot of speed and won't be a Gold Glove player, but he has more
raw power than his sibling, and projects to be a better hitter."
... Rickie Weeks ... An electric power/speed player who has
threatened to hit .500 for two years ... hits the ball with authority to all
fields, and has a strong combination of tools and skills. Only question is his
defense at second base, but if that doesn't work out, he'd be fine in the
04 June, 2003
draft. A few surprises, but not among the top picks. TB selected OF Delmon
Young #1 overall :
... Young, 17, hit .544 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs and was intentionally
walked 26 times this season for Camarillo High School. Young, 6-foot-3 and 205
pounds, has starred at the high school level for several years and shown great
power potential and patience at the plate, an outstanding arm and good
speed." (Associated Press)
MIL followed with 2B Rickie Weeks :
... Weeks certainly made a case for himself with one of the best college careers
in Division I history. Weeks hit .483 with 17 homers and 73 RBI and will be the
second player to lead the nation in batting for two straight seasons. Undrafted
out of high school, Weeks has been praised for his speed and power."
05 June, 2003
K. Nelson, SportsTicker, on Brandon Claussen NYA back strong after
Tommy John surgery last June :
... He started the season with Class A Tampa, where he struck out 26 and walked
just three over 22 innings, finishing 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA. For his efforts,
Claussen was rewarded with a promotion to the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, the
team for which he last pitched before blowing out his arm. "His arm
strength was really surprisingly strong, much quicker than anybody had
anticipated," said Columbus pitching coach Neil Allen. "A young guy
who's gone through what he's gone through with all the rehab and the surgery, I
think he would be a little more timid than he is, but he's not."
... "The other night really lit up my eyes," Allen said. "I was
shocked. To pitch that well, in his second Triple A game back, I thought was
fantastic. "He threw well enough he could have competed at the major league
level with no problem the other night. He controlled both sides of the (strike)
zone, he had good sink on his fastball, he threw his slider for strikes and he
worked the count all night long."
... Like many who are groomed in George Steinbrenner's system, Claussen is as
professional as they come. Not only is his work ethic far superior than most,
but his quiet demeanor off the field veils his intensity on the mound.
"He's been breeded from the get-go to be a Yankee," Allen said
... With New York having an older rotation at the major league level,
Claussen's opportunity may come sooner than he could have anticipated. But Allen
knows the key for Claussen is to show consistency. "He'll pitch well, he'll
hit his spots. I'm not worried about that," Allen said. "The big thing
is he maintains his arm strength and he keeps answering the bell every fifth
day. Because that means he's getting closer and closer."
06 June, 2003
Newberg, Texas Rangers Minor League Report, on John Danks the Rangers' first
round pick :
... There are evidently no questions with Danks as far as his makeup is
concerned. Following the pick, Fuson told the media, "What set him apart
from the rest was his maturity in the way he pitches. He is from a great
environment. He has signed with the University of Texas and is a good student.
The intangibles he brings to the mound is everything we are looking for in a
first round pick." Danks is said to have mound presence, athleticism (he
has hit .381 and stolen 22 bases in 36 games for Round Rock this season), smooth
mechanics, an aggressive mindset, and plus command, locating his fastball well
and pitching inside. He adds a power curve that was deemed by BA as the
second-best breaking ball among all lefthanders -- high school or college --
eligible for the draft, coupled with the second-best velocity among all
07 June, 2003
Pouliot, RotoWorld, on Jonny Gomes TB :
... His average is down this year, but he's still putting up impressive
numbers, batting .228 with 11 HR, 27 RBI, 66/35 K/BB and 7 SB in 184 AB. He's
getting on base 38 percent of the time and slugging .478. Gomes is only 22, he
has pretty good speed (37 steals in 249 games) and draws walks. Why doesn't he
get more attention? Well, the Tampa Bay situation doesn't help, but the bigger
concern is the strikeouts. He fanned 173 times last year and is on a similar
pace this season. The Rays will probably try to shorten his swing before he
reaches the majors ... Since he could put up lines like .260-30-80-90-15,
he's a very intriguing fantasy prospect."
Pouliot on one of the top catching prospects :
... Jeff Mathis ... doing everything he can to move into Joe Mauer-Victor
Martinez territory ... started well in the California League this season and is
currently hitting .318 with 6 HR, 31 RBI, 34/18 K/BB and 3 SB in 201 AB for
Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. Mathis' skills behind the plate are very good. With
his strong arm, Gold Gloves aren't out of the realm of possibility. At the
very least, he should always be in the top half of catchers in his league. If he
continues to develop offensively, Mathis has star potential."
Simpson, Baseball America, with more on the draft ... Jeff Allison FLO
& Lasting Milledge NYN :
... Allison fell to the Marlins at 16 because his demands (reportedly $3
million) were too rich for the clubs in the first half of the round that showed
the most interest. There's no doubt he was the best high school pitcher in the
draft. He's got great stuff, with a fastball that has touched 97. His stats
(8-0, 0.00 with 128 K's and five hits in 56 innings) are borderline phenomenal.
The makeup issues aren't that serious. He's a little hard-headed and a bit
uncoachable at times."
... Lastings Milledge ... raw tools may be the best of any player in the draft.
He can fly, he's got an exceptionally quick bat and his throws from the outfield
are regularly clocked in excess of 90. He's got some holes in his swing and is
vulnerable to breaking balls at times, so he needs to refine his hitting ...
Just like last year when they got Scott Kazmir with the 15th pick, the Mets
lucked out again in signing a top-five talent with a later pick."
10 June, 2003
Hamels up with PHI ... well, just for an exhibition ... in Cooperstown
! Is this an omen ?
... Last year's first-round draft choice, lefthander Cole Hamels, will pitch for
the Phillies when they play the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in next Monday's exhibition
game at Cooperstown, N.Y. Currently with Lakewood, Hamels is 2-0 with an 0.83
ERA after yesterday's 3-0 win over Hagerstown. Hamels pitched a four-hitter and
struck out 13 in seven innings. "He is throwing really well," Bowa
said. "It will be good to see him."
11 June, 2003
Joe Barbieri salutes Steve Smitherman CIN as an Emerging Prospect :
... At 6-4 and 230 pounds, Smitherman's natural power has made pitchers pay for
their mistakes. Because of that power and of his ability to handle the
opposition's best stuff, Smitherman has emerged as an early contender for the
Southern League's Triple Crown. Through June 9, he was third in the league with
a .333 average and tied for third with 43 RBI for the Chattanooga Lookouts ...
also tied for second with 14 homers, putting him on pace to shatter his career
high of 20. The 24-year-old Smitherman has enjoyed success against all sorts of
pitching strategies and has passed the test at each level of the Reds system.
"What so far has impressed me the most is his ability to make the
adjustments at the plate that he needs to," Chattanooga manager Phillip
Wellman said. "We'll go into some series where it's quite obvious that the
plan of attack is to pound him in. In the next series, they'll build him up with
the breaking balls, and then we'll go somewhere else where the plan is to pound
him away. He's been able to make the adjustments to all three."
... If there is an improvement to be made with Smitherman's approach at the
plate, it's with his patience. Perhaps a little too aggressive at times, he has
racked up high strikeout totals. Last year he fanned 126 times while working
only 39 walks. Smitherman has taken a step in the right direction this season,
drawing 29 walks through his first 250 plate appearances. He still occasionally
chases pitches out of the strike zone but has learned to be a bit more
Connolly, 11-0, 0.84, but DET with no plans to promote the Midwest League
... Despite Connolly's success, Tigers officials said there are no immediate
plans to promote him. "We definitely consider him a prospect at this
point," said Tigers director of player development Steve Boros. "He's
pitching the way we want our pitchers to pitch. He's getting ahead of hitters
early, he's changing speeds, and he's holding runners. He's doing everything he
has to do to pitch in the major leagues. "But no one has said a word about
moving him from West Michigan. You can never say for sure, but I can say that
the subject hasn't come up as of now." Said Bennett (Ricky Bennett,
director of minor league operations): "In years past, we've moved guys
midseason, but in Jon's case it's important to have a solid year in one
location. This is his first year in full-season ball, and I don't think it would
hurt his development one bit if we decide to keep him in West Michigan all
... Connolly said he doesn't think much about whether or not he'll be called up.
"I'm just having a great time with the guys here right now," he said
... Boros has watched Connolly for three year ... "He's more aggressive
now, and he gets ahead of hitters much more quickly than in the past. It's to
the point that it's very unusual if his first pitch isn't a strike, and it's
rare that he lets the count get to three balls." Boros called Connolly's
composure outstanding." (Grand Rapids Press)
12 June, 2003
Pouliot, RotoWorld, in his weekly prospect report, features Chase Utley
PHI & Franklin Gutierrez LA :
... Shifting defensive positions hasn't hurt him offensively at all. Utley is
batting .340 with 7 HR, 39 RBI, 40/17 K/BB and 4 SB in 215 AB for Triple-A
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre ... For those of us who value results more than tools,
Utley's performance this year is very encouraging ... This year, Utley is
making more consistent contact, especially against offspeed pitches. Scouts have
always believed Utley would be a .300 hitter, and now there's every reason to
believe that they are right. Throw in 20 homers and a slightly below average
walk rate, and what one has is a solid, offensive-minded second baseman. Utley
likely will replace Placido Polanco as Philadelphia's second baseman next
... Pretty much an unknown before the season, Gutierrez started fast and hasn't
really slowed down. The 20-year-old product of Venezuela is currently leading
the Florida State League in homers, doubles and slugging percentage. Gutierrez
struggled in his pro debut two years ago, but he acquitted himself well for a
19-year-old in full-season ball last season, batting .283 with 12 HR, 45 RBI,
88/31 K/BB and 13 SB in 361 AB for South Georgia of the South Atlantic League.
This year, he's blowing away those numbers, hitting .314 with 15 HR, 49 RBI,
71/26 K/BB and 11 SB in 264 AB for Single-A Vero Beach. The batting average will
probably come down, but he has tremendous power and could be a 35-40 homer guy.
Gutierrez certainly will have a spot on the midseason Top 100, but he's not
truly an elite prospect just yet. As of right now, I'd put him in the 60s or
13 June, 2003
John Sickels, ESPN.com, on Joel Hanrahan LA :
... Hanrahan's ERAs in A-ball were decent but not terrific, but his K/BB and
K/IP marks have been strong. He is striking out almost a hitter per inning so
far this year in Double-A, a great sign, and is probably pitching the best ball
of his career right now ... command within the strike zone is
sharper this spring, and his performance so far at Jacksonville has few holes
... still needs to learn some of the finer points of pitching, and the Dodgers
don't seem in a hurry to rush him. Expect him to spend most of this season in
Double-A, with a Triple-A promotion possible sometime in August. He'll likely
spend 2004 in Triple-A, but should see Chavez Ravine at some point next year,
then have a chance for a rotation spot in '05. He profiles out as a solid No. 2
or 3 starter if he stays healthy and maintains his command."
14 June, 2003
Barbieri, SportsTicker, on John Maine BAL :
... Maine has continued his emergence as the top righthander in the Baltimore
Orioles system. The 22-year-old fanned a season-high 12 batters over six innings
on June 6 and rung up seven more on June 12 to take over the minor league lead
in strikeouts with 98. In his first full professional season, Maine has
dominated the Class A South Atlantic League for Delmarva to the tune of a 1.54
ERA and a .163 batting average against in 13 starts. The UNC Charlotte product
has issued just 18 walks in 70 1/3 innings."
And, SportsTicker on Grady Sizemore CLE :
... The 20-year-old Sizemore, a member of SportsTicker's All-Teen team last
year, has already set a career high with seven home runs through June 12 and his
42 RBI were tops on an Akron Aeros team that owned the National Association's
third-best record at 43-24. "What he's done through the first two and a
half months of the season has been outstanding," said John Farrell, the
Indians' Director of Player Development ... With the power dimension coming into
play as the Indians had anticipated, Sizemore is developing into one of the best
all-around center field prospects in the minors. "He's been a model of
consistency as far as the way he goes about his work day in and day out,"
Farrell said. "The one thing that we've seen is that he's a quiet, intense
competitor. His football background and mentality has really translated well to
baseball in his case." ... "If there was one player, a center field
type, that he would compare most likely to, it would be Darin Erstad," said
Cameron, Strike Three, on Ryan WIng CHA :
... I got my second look of the year at Ryan Wing, who is vaulting past more
hyped teammates ... in the race to Chicago. The first time I saw Wing, his
command was suspect, and he was falling behind a lot of hitters, but using his
cut fastball to get himself out of jams. The cutter was still unhittable, but he
mixed in pinpoint control and a nasty slider to carve up the Myrtle Beach
lineup. Wing was rolling, and, if not for some lousy defense and questionable
scoring decisions, could have made a real run at a no-hitter. His fastball
doesn't get above 91, but Wing gets good sink to it, and his cut fastball and
slider are unfair to lefties. His ability to mix three pitches and control the
strike zone made him untouchable, though his consistency hasn't been there
throughout the season. I'd like to see the Sox challenge him with a move to AA
soon and see how he handles the transition. He may not have the pure upside of
most top prospects, but he shows a greater feel for pitching than many of the
more highly publicized arms. Its not too hard to imagine Wing filling a spot at
the back of the White Sox rotation by the end of next year."
Newberg, TEX Minor League Report on a pair of upcoming Rangers -- Ramon
Nivar (who appears to be making a switch from SS to CF) & Jose
... The 23-year-old Nivar (nee Ramon Martinez) ...continues to lead the Texas
League in hitting and features exceptional bat control (just 20 strikeouts in
260 at-bats), top-of-the-order disruptiveness, and electricity in every facet of
the game. There have been frequent rumblings regarding possible moves of middle
infielders in the Ranger organization to center field, in an attempt to address
the dual big league void of defensive speed at that position and a leadoff
solution ...Nivar is a lock to be added to the 40-man roster this winter. If the
switch-hitting igniter does begin getting work in center, and takes to it, he
instantly goes from being a really interesting prospect to an extremely
... The 20-year-old Dominguez ... to call his first RoughRider start
a gem would be to shortchange it. Dominguez fired six scoreless innings last
night, holding San Antonio (who took a dazzling 46-21 record into the game,
leading the Texas League in hitting and in runs scored) to three singles and two
walks, punching out six and needing only 85 pitches to do it all ... Dominguez
came into 2003 with a three-season record of 7-11, 3.55 in 43 appearances,
covering 197.2 innings in which he allowed 179 hits and 72 walks, fanning 186.
With just five innings of High A ball under his belt, his rates have been even
better in 2003, as he allowed just 55 hits and 16 walks in 63.1 innings for
Stockton, punching out 72 and going 4-0, 2.84. Last night he demonstrated he
obviously has what it takes to be just as dominant against AA competition."
17 June, 2003
Sickels, ESPN.com, on Cole Hamels PHI :
... Hamels has a fastball clocked between 89 and 94 mph. His curveball is
excellent, and his changeup is certainly better than that featured by most
19-year-olds. His control is decent, and he is overpowering minor-league hitters
with ease thus far. If he continues doing that, he could be fast-tracked, yes.
But the Phillies are generally conservative with their pitching prospects, and
like to promote them one level at a time without rushing them or skipping
levels. I think that's a good philosophy. If Hamels continues with the sub-1.00
ERA, he could move up a notch to advanced A-ball, but I would be surprised if we
see him in Double-A before next spring, and even that may be pushing it. The
Phillies know they have a gem here, and I doubt they'll do anything reckless
Callis, Baseball America, with his Top 30 from the combined
2001-2002-2003 drafts :
1. Mark Prior, rhp 16. Jeff Mathis, c
2. Mark Teixeira, 3b 17. Zack Greinke, rhp
3. Joe Mauer, c 18. Bryan Bullington, rhp
4. Jesse Foppert, rhp 19. Bobby Brownlie, rhp
5. Scott Kazmir, lhp 20. Jeremy Guthrie, rhp
6. Jeremy Bonderman, rhp 21. Cole Hamels, lhp
7. B.J. Upton, ss 22. J.J. Hardy, ss
8. Gavin Floyd, rhp 23. Macay McBride, lhp
9. Adam Loewen, lhp 24. Prince Fielder, 1b
10. Casey Kotchman, 1b 25. Andy Sisco, lhp
11. Delmon Young, of 26. Kyle Sleeth, rhp
12. Rickie Weeks, 2b 27. Kris Honel, rhp
13. Scott Hairston, 2b 28. Mike Jones, rhp
14. John VanBenschoten, rhp 29. Dan Haren, rhp,
15. Brad Nelson, 1b 30. Tim Stauffer, rhp
18 June, 2003
Carchidi Philadelphia Inquirer on Cole Hamels :
... Nobody's saying Cole Hamels, a 19-year-old lefthander who was the Phillies'
No. 1 draft pick last year, is the next Steve Carlton, but ... Hamels, on the
same field where Carlton jump-started his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in
1966, was as good as advertised yesterday, pitching five eye-opening innings as
the Phillies outlasted the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 7-5, in the annual Hall of Fame
exhibition game at Abner Doubleday Field. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Hamels, who is
with the single-A Lakewood BlueClaws, struck out nine, walked one and allowed
three hits and three runs, two of them earned. He struck out the side twice
while displaying a crackling fastball and a nasty change-up, and was named the
game's MVP. "He's very impressive - delivery-wise and poise-wise,"
Phils pitching coach Joe Kerrigan said. "I liked his mound presence and he
has a great change-up." ... most of Hamels' strikeouts were against
big-leaguers. Hamels' tall, slender build conjured memories of Carlton. In 1966,
the St. Louis Cardinals called up the 21-year-old Carlton from their triple-A
affiliate to start the Hall of Fame game against Minnesota. Carlton struck out
10 while pitching a complete game. The lefthander allowed four unearned runs in
earning an 8-5 win. A few days later, he earned a promotion to St. Louis. Hamels
said he didn't approach yesterday's game any differently. "I just tried to
go out and stay focused and hit my spots, like I do every game," he said.
"I just tried to go out and be myself."
19 June, 2003
Valdez SF ... ace?
... Valdez mowed down the BlueClaws for the second straight time this season,
holding them to a lone bunt single in the Suns' 3-0 win in front of 6,129 fans
at FirstEnergy Park. "Valdez has a chance to be a No. 1 starter in the big
leagues," Lakewood manager Buddy Biancalana said. Hagerstown is an
affiliate of the San Francisco Giants ... Valdez's 95-mile-an-hour heater and a
curveball and changeup to go with it. He struck out five in six innings, and
Lakewood only hit two balls out of the infield the entire game." (Asbury
21 June, 2003
COL kid wows 'em :
pick Ian Stewart slacked jaws with his power display during batting
practice Thursday. Stewart, a 6-foot-3, 200-pounder, peppered the bleachers with
homers, including a blast that smashed off the facade in the upper deck. Said
pitcher Jason Jennings as he walked back into the clubhouse, "That's all I
need to see." Rockies players couldn't resist razzing first baseman Todd
Helton, suggesting that he had just seen his replacement. Stewart, who signed
for $1.95 million, will begin his Rockies' career in short-season Casper next
week as a third baseman. " (Denver Post)
24 June, 2003
Cameron, Strike Three, has his picks as the class of the first half of the
Guillermo Quiroz TOR beats out Joe
Mauer for the first team catching slot :
... After showing some life with the bat for the first time last year...
Quiroz's .303/.398/.576 line has put him in the running for Eastern League MVP.
Nearly half of his 50 hits have gone for extra bases and he's actually drawing
walks above the ten-percent threshold. The only concern that still holds is his
lack of contact, as he's struck out in one-quarter of his at bats. Considering
he was signed for his abilities behind the plate, the Blue Jays shouldn't have
to worry about moving this catching prospect to another position."
Reed, Prospect Report, on some shining, likely
underhyped, stars :
Bush TOR " ... a converted closer, has been lights-out for
Toronto. Don't be surprised if Bush is in the mix for a rotation spot next
spring. The Jays have done an excellent job of acquiring and managing talented
arms like Bush. He was very good in his debut for AA-New Haven."
Parra MIL " ... Parra is a strong lefty prospect with a live arm.
His strikeout numbers are fine for a southpaw and his control has been
Mathis ANA " ... Mathis just rakes. He projects to put up numbers
that are in the Lieberthal-Posada realm, which is a very nice place to be."
DeJesus KC " ... DeJesus is back in the lineup everyday now and he's
off to a tremendous start. He's showing great plate discipline and a good stick.
If Beltran is traded, he could get the call."
Sickels, ESPN.com, on David DeJesus :
... drafted out of Rutgers in the fourth round in 2000, but an elbow injury cost
him all of '00 and '01. He didn't make his pro debut until 2002, hit .288 (.390
OBP, .436 SLG) at Class A and Double-A, then got off to another hot start in
'03. He is currently playing at Triple-A Omaha and doing very well.
DeJesus is a left-handed hitter with surprising pop, good speed, sound
strike-zone judgment and fine defensive skills in center field. He's probably
first on the list to replace Beltran if he's traded."
on Sergio Santos ARZ :
... hitting .303 (.391 OBP, .433 SLG) right now in the California League, with
12 doubles, six homers, 36 walks and 45 strikeouts in 261 at-bats. His home-run
power is still developing, but he is controlling the strike zone well ...
A 19-year-old who holds his own against advanced Class A pitching, while drawing
walks and avoiding excessive strikeouts, is a top prospect -- especially if he
plays a key defensive position. Santos needs to cut down on careless errors, but
he has decent range at shortstop and a very strong arm. He may end up at third
base eventually, but right now he will stay at short. I like what he has done so
far. If he keeps playing like this, Santos will be one of the top infield
prospects in the game at the end of the season."
25 June, 2003
David Cameron, Strike Three, on JJ Hardy MIL :
... No one has taken as large a step forward as J.J. Hardy this year. His
numbers in high-A last year appear to be all right, but a .293 average with
little power in High Desert isn't anything to write home about. After being
overmatched in AA to end the year and showing no strike zone judgment to speak
of, some talked about Hardy being rushed and having his development stalled. You
can put those fears to rest. He's drawn more walks than he did all last year and
has posted a tremendous 29/20 BB/K as a 20-year-old in AA. He's matched his
professional career total with 9 home runs so far this year. He's hitting
.314/.410/.547, and all of his indicators point to the improvement being real.
Hardy is legitimately among the best prospects in the game right now."
26 June, 2003
Lerner, SportsTicker, cites SEA's Travis Blackley (AA) as an emerging
... The 20-year-old has gone 9-3 with a 2.51 ERA in his first 15 starts with his
nine wins leading the league and his ERA ranking second in the loop through June
23. "He's a polished pitcher for a 20-year-old man," San Antonio
manager Dave Brundage said. "He's very confident. He believes in himself. A
20-year-old pitching the way that he has pitched is well beyond his years."
The Melbourne native has been lights out after the fourth inning, allowing just
two runs all season over 29 2/3 innings. Blackley uses a fastball in the high
80s, a devastating changeup and is still perfecting his two breaking pitches.
His slider "kind of comes and goes" according to Brundage with his
curveball being "a hit and miss at times." Surprisingly, Blackley has
struggled against lefties, yielding a .306 batting average this season.
Righthanders, however, have been held to a .151 mark."
... Overall, Blackley has allowed two runs or less in 10 straight starts and in
12 of 15 outings this season, earning him a spot on the World Team for the
Futures Game this summer in Chicago. "He's been pretty consistent this
year," Looper said. "We like him as a prospect." Blackley is
quickly becoming one of the top lefthanded pitching prospects in baseball. His
incredible success at such a young age is opening eyes. "I don't believe
he's quite ready for the major leagues," Brundage said, "but at the
same time, he's better than what I expected."
on Sean Burnett's PIT heroics :
... Burnett gave up just one run on four hits in eight innings. The left-hander
reduced his ERA to 1.96, the lowest among active Eastern League pitchers. After
allowing his first home run of the season - a solo shot to Jim Deschaine in the
fifth - Burnett rebounded to retire the final 11 batters he faced. The Pirates'
No. 2 prospect saw his homerless string end at a club-record 88 innings. It was
also the first regular-season blast he has allowed in 18 starts, dating back to
last August when he was pitching for Class A Lynchburg. "You can't say
enough about Sean," Curve manager Dale Sveum said. "You won't find
better back-to-back outings than the ones he's just had." Burnett spun a
two-hit shutout against Trenton last Wednesday at Blair County Ballpark in a 3-0
win. Tuesday, he stymied a solid offensive lineup dominated by right-handed
batters. "To go out and do it against the best offense against left-handed
pitching in the league is even more impressive," Sveum said. "And he
did it on the road on a night when the ball was carrying, proving it's not just
(Blair County Ballpark) that's making him look good." (Indiana
on Ben Hendrickson's MIL superb outing in his return from the DL :
... Oh, sure, it was glorious Tuesday night for Ben Hendrickson. He looked like
an in-his-prime Roger Clemens in his return from an elbow injury ... Hendrickson
looked all nice and healed for six scoreless innings while allowing only one hit
... "It feels awesome," Hendrickson said ...It looked
awesome, too. Carolina, the Southern League's best-hitting team, never got a
runner beyond first base against Hendrickson (2-1). The only hit came on a line
drive to right by Matt Padgett with two outs in the fourth inning. Hendrickson
struck out two, walked two and faced just two over the minimum ... And to
think that Hendrickson hadn't pitched in a game since May 16. "That was Ben
Hendrickson out there tonight," Stars pitching coach Stan Kyles said.
"I don't know who was here earlier (this season)." ... He was the
organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2002 and is rated the
Brewers' No. 4-rated prospect ... .He explained that his body was "flying
open" during his delivery and that was "damaging my elbow, putting a
strain on the ligaments." Bad mechanics, in the jargon of baseball, put his
elbow through a "violent" trauma each time he pitched. The poor form
began in spring training and the elbow finally began to rebel when Hendrickson
made his first start of the season for the Stars. He made just four starts
before going on the disabled list May 18. "It was real scary when you're
not clear what it is," Hendrickson said. Kyles reported that Hendrickson's
curve ball wasn't particularly sharp - which was to be expected after the
layoff. But Hendrickson also hit 91 mph with his two-seam fastball - which,
Kyles said, was most satisfactory. The best part, however, was not the effective
pitching or even the end of the Stars' three-game losing streak. "I felt
more comfortable repeating my motion," Hendrickson said. No more flying
open. No more violent strain on the elbow." (Huntsville Times)
27 June, 2003
Pouliot, RotoWorld, in his weekly prospecting report includes a pair of
... Angel Guzman ... Considered by some to be the best of the Cubs'
outstanding group of minor league arms ... first season at Double-A, going
3-3 with a 2.81 ERA, 83 H and 87/26 K/BB in 89 2/3 IP. Despite his strong
strikeout rate this year, Guzman is actually known as a groundball pitcher. His
90-92 mph sinking fastball has generated additional missed swings this season,
but he's also giving up more homers than ever before. He's allowed eight
home runs this year after surrendering a total of seven in his first three pro
seasons. Guzman's changeup is a very effective offspeed pitch. His curveball
is just average, but he doesn't usually need it when he has his fastball
working. Guzman is talented, but right now, I prefer both Andy Sisco and Bobby
Brownlie among Cubs minor leaguers. I'd also rank Todd Wellemeyer ahead of
him. Major leaguers should make better contact with Guzman's sinker than minor
league hitters have, making him a No. 3 or a No. 4 starter. If the Cubs need to
part with Guzman to upgrade their offense, they shouldn't be afraid to do
so." (Also see below)
... John Maine ... he's been awesome ... now ranks as Baltimore's
best pitching prospect. The former UNC Charlotte ace had a 1.45 ERA and a 60/7
K/BB ratio between the Single-A Aberdeen and Single-A Delmarva last year.
Despite his dominance, the Orioles left him at Delmarva for the start of this
year. He's currently 7-3 with a 1.53 ERA, 43 H and 108/18 K/BB in 76 1/3 IP. A
promotion should come soon. The 22-year-old Maine already has fine command of a
93-mph fastball and a power slider. He hasn't really needed his changeup yet,
but he will as he climbs the ladder, and that could delay his arrival in the
majors. It's clear that the new Orioles management strongly believes in taking
things slowly with their prospects, but Maine still might reach Baltimore before
the end of next season if things break right."
McGowan TOR winning rave reviews :
... I think Dustin is going to set his own pace," New Haven Ravens
pitching coach Dane Johnson said. "He's got all the traits of becoming the
kind of pitcher we think he's going to be. Everything's there." McGowan's
fastball -- regularly clocked at 97 mph and occasionally higher -- is the best
in the Toronto Blue Jays' organization, according to Baseball America ... began
this season with Class A Dunedin of the Florida State League, where he went 5-6
with an ERA of 2.85 in 14 starts. He struck out 66 in 76 innings ... has been
impressive in his first two Class AA starts, striking out 13 and walking three
in 11 innings. But there have been reminders, however slight, of his
fallibility. In his start against Bowie on Tuesday, a misplaced fastball to
Ivanon Coffie resulted in a monster two-run home run. "I missed by only a
little bit, and he just absolutely crushed the ball," McGowan said
... "He's got a great mind," Johnson said. "When he makes a
mistake, he learns from it but forgets it. It doesn't carry over. But at the
same time, when he has a good start, he takes that with him. It's a lot of fun
coaching him." (Washington Post)
MacArthur, The Cub Reporter, on some possible trade bait from the rich Cubs'
... Andy Sisco ... a big time prospect. Low to mid-90's FB with movement,
solid secondary pitches getting better, control can improve but pretty good for
young, tall lefty, and numbers have been dominating. Lost fight with dugout wall
earlier this year (broken hand) that calls in to question his temperament.
Hopefully just a rookie mistake. Huge upside and rare commodity in baseball
(dominant LH starter), but needs another 1.5 to 2 years to develop secondary
pitches (assuming healthy) and learn the art. I consider him close to
untouchable in trades, or only included for a rare, premium major leaguer or
package of talent. (Anyone would be interested)."
... Nic Jackson, CF/LF ... Looks like best fit to take
Alou's spot. Will have appeal since he has speed, can play CF, and power rates
above average for that spot. Still some risk in trading him away, but talent
will look good to a team with needs in the OF who can start him as back-up and
let him play into the Line-up. LH bat of value as well. Some CF-needy teams
might come calling (Brewers, Padres, Mets, Boston KC)."
... Bobbie Brownlie ... so far, so good (4-2, 2.15 ERA, 50 IP, 32
H, 19 W, 45 K). I mention him as potential PTBNL, but can't be traded until
February or so of 2004, so not likely. I like him a lot, and see him getting to
majors by late 2004 or early 2005, unless road blocked by other arms."
... Angel Guzman ... flying up the
charts. Lacks the mid-90's fast ball most No. 1 Starters have, but spots
pitches well, good movement, shows a decent change, and found his power curve
again last year. Looked great in ML Spring Training, and settling in well
after couple tough outings early at AA. He is possibility to be in Chicago
this year, as some see him as where Prior was to start last season ... right behind/ahead of Sisco on Cubs charts, and nearly as
untouchable. Would take monster deal to pry him away in a trade."
... Felix Pie ... Very talented, young (18 yrs) athlete, who
has hit surprisingly well and seems to know the strike zone well for experience
level. This bodes well that he is no tools-only flash in the pan, and that he
will develop the power the Cubs predict. Already rates as best OF prospect in
system as defense and arm are solid already, very fast, and mature in approach.
Compared to Vlad Guerrerro at similar stage, but power may not reach 40 HR
range, his triples help make up for it. Too good and too young to consider
trading, I don't see him going anywhere in a trade, as he has All-star-type
talent, but lots to learn. He has followed breakout year last year in AZ with
very solid numbers in High A as an 18 year old. Needs to learn base running,
stealing, and to drive the ball, but best position prospect in system. (All
would be interested)."
Meyer, PIT Post-Gazette, with some thoughts on some of the Pirates' young
... Ryan Doumit, 22, who could be the heir apparent to Jason
Kendall as the Pirates' catcher. Doumit, a second-round pick in the 1999
draft, batted .322 for Hickory in an injury-shortened 2002 season. At
the Carolina League All-Star break this year, he had a .291 batting
average, 20 doubles (which ranked second in the league), six home runs
and 44 RBIs. "As a hitter, he hasn't been swinging the bat too well
lately," Clark (Dave Clark Lynchburg manager) said several days
ago. "But he was the league player of the month for April. Heck,
everything he hit was hit hard and it fell in for a hit. It looked like
he was swinging a magic wand. But as of late, it looks like he's got six
holes in his bat." ... "But he's going to be a good player.
He's going to be a good hitter. He's a switch-hitting catcher. You don't
see that very often. From what I've seen he's a better hitter from the
left side. The right side is more of a 'feel.' You know, the ball has to
hit his bat. I think he's going to get better as he matures."
... When Doumit doesn't catch for the Hillcats, Chris Shelton does.
Shelton, 23, was the Pirates' 33rd-round pick out of the University of Utah in
2001. He also plays first base. At the All-Star break this year, Shelton's .330
batting average was third in the Carolina League. As were his 45 RBIs. He led
the league in slugging percentage (.607) and home runs (14) and was second in
on-base percentage (.448). "Some kind of hitter," said Jeff Livesey,
Lynchburg's hitting instructor. "He's definitely a bat guy, but he's a
solid first baseman and getting better behind the plate. With the way he swings
the bat, you try to find a place for him."
phenom Ervin Santana ANA, getting better & better (and, this written
before his last start -- 7.0 1 0 0 2 7) :
... The California League Pitcher of the Week, for an unusual third time in one
season, is ... right-hander Ervin (Magic) Santana ... 7-1, 2.54 record
with 106 SO, 29 BB and a .217 opponents' batting average in 102 2/3 IP. He leads
the league in ERA, SO and IP ... In his 16 starts this season, Santana has given
up more than one ER only 7 times, 2 ER once, 3 ER three times and 4 ER three
times. His only loss, at home to High Desert May 16, came in his only complete
game, 2-1 in 7 innings with the deciding run being unearned. He has issued more
than 3 walks only once, giving up 5 BB in 6 IP to High Desert May 22, but still
winning the game."
... Baseball America rates the 20-year-old Dominican the Angels' number four
prospect now in the minors, second among right-handers only to Boby Jenks. They
consider his slider to be the best in the organization. Quakes pitching coach
Zeke Zimmerman told The Press-Eneterprise, "He's locating it pretty well
for the Cal League. He is making a few mistakes, but he is getting away with it.
It's a good pitch for him. He is electric. He has a lightning fastball. The
slider is a pitch in development. The changeup is a big league pitch."
Anaheim roving pitching instructor and former big leaguer Mike Butcher said,
"He could be a number 1 type guy in the big leagues. He is at the top of
his game. He has major league stuff, period." After his win at Stockton,
Ports' manager Arnie Beyeler told the Stockton Record, "Santana's the best
pitcher in the league. He throws first-pitch strikes and those are big league
pitches." His fastball was clocked at 97 mph that day. How long will Rancho
Cucamonga enjoy the services of Ervin Santana? Angels' director of player
development Tony Reagins told The Press-Enterprise, "He's an advanced
pitcher at this point in his development. We want to be careful that he's ready
to move up. He'll tell us when he's ready to go to a higher level." (CAL
Rookies 2003 Page Five