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Mid-Season Prospect Rankings: The Corners

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on July 11, 2006

Thanks to more international additions, the corner of the outfield is in pretty good shape down the road and potential center fielder Greg Halman still may very well land in right field in the end, creating a pretty strong crop.

But most of the talent is light years from reaching the big leagues which is why the M’s could really use the services of Chris Snelling and/or a free agent or trade acquisition to bridge the gap.

The infield is quite weak, even with the addition of Matt Tuiasosopo sliding over from shortstop. Bryan LaHair and Thomas Hubbard are both fringe prospects, and though LaHair is handling himself in Triple-A right now, he’ll be forced to make an adjustment during the second half. If he can sustain his performance and add more power, he’ll have a shot at the big leagues – but that’s rather large if. He also needs to put together better at-bats versus left-handed pitching. Hubbard has yet to produce above A ball and he’s getting his chance in San Antonio right now.

Tuiasosopo could ultimately move to the outfield where his skillset fits best, but the M’s are likely to leave him at third for the remainder of his minor league career.

Corner Outfielders
1 Chris Snelling L/L 5-10 205 24 Best bat in system. Should be hitting 6th — in Seattle.
2 Shin-soo Choo L/L 5-11 210 24 Somewhere between a 7-hole bat and a 4th outfielder.
3 Wladimir Balentien R/R 6-2 210 22 Intriguing power is only plus tool – ’07 will tell tale.
4 Mike Wilson R/R 6-1 245 23 Mr. Helium in the first half is off to fast start in Double-A.
5 Kuo-hui Lo R/R 6-2 190 20 Athletic left field prospect with medium power.

Others: Carlos Peguero (19), Michael Saunders (19), Marquis Liverpool (20).

Corner Infielders
1 Matt Tuiasosopo R/R 6-2 210 20 Relieved of duties at SS to focus on potential plus power bat.
2 Bryan LaHair L/R 6-5 220 23 Can hit, but power must improve to continue ascent to bigs.
3 Thomas Hubbard L/R 6-2 215 24 Needs big second half to hold off teenagers below him.
4 Gerardo Avila L/L 6-2 190 19 Potential 30-HR power bat, but lots to prove in next few years.
5 Alex Liddi R/R 6-2 200 17 Lots of promise in 17-year-old’s game – with bat and glove.

Tomorrow: Rating all of the bats in one set of rankings and the arms in another.


8 Responses to “Mid-Season Prospect Rankings: The Corners”

  1. DIQ said

    Interesting JAC,

    Never heard of Gerardo Avila or Alex Liddi.

    Where are they from and what positions do they play? Are they in Arizona right now?

  2. Yeah, they are both in the rookie league right now. Avila is having a good year while Liddi is off to a slow start. But they both have very intriguing physical tools and are very young.

    Avila may turn out to be a legit first base prospect, something new to this organization since Tino came up in 1993-94.  Liddi is a third baseman that the club thinks has a good chance to stay there in the long run.
    Both guys are still pretty raw, but that tells ya how thin the system is at first and third.

  3. DIQ said

    Cool beans JAC.

    So after an international signing, about how long would you say is normal for a player to be in Arizona? What role plays whether they move up to A-ball or not?

  4. J said

    Hey Jason, you have Liddi’s age as 22 in the column.

    There as just a short column on him at MiLB.com. Not too much, but it seems as if he might be the first legit prospect to sign out of Italy. I can’t say I know of any others, though the M’s signed a few that washed out several years back.

    Liddi far from home during World Cup win

    I’m holding the same hope out for Avila. The VSL track record suggests he’s more raw than his current numbers indicate, but the potential was always there.

    And thanks for the kind words on the left sidebar.

  5. The answer to both of those questions is the same…

    Depends on how good he is.

    You see how Balentien has gone year to year and moved up each time. You see guys like Cabrera skip levels.

    If a player has not shown that he can handle the level he’s at, he won’t get the chance to move on.

    As far as the DSL and VSL go, it’s just as much about non-baseball issues as it is about the baseball stuff.

    Some players have visa problems and that hurts their chances… though the M’s seem to have a pretty good handle on that of late.

    After that, it depends on if there is room for that player’s position… for example, not many pitchers got the chance this year to come to the US because the club has drafted so many arms that are taking up spots.

    You can expect Eddy Fernandez to get the nod next summer, though. He’s kind of wasting away down in the DSL — 0.92 ERA and a 34-4 K/BB ratio.

    He’s a lefty, too.

  6. thanks for the typo notice, J. We all know he’s not 22. He won’t be 22 until… geez… 2010?

  7. And your welcome for the kind words. They are much deserved.

  8. Jerry said

    Nice work Jason,

    I hate to add one more Mike Wilson question to the glut of them that I have already seen here.

    However, Wilson is still hitting, and his numbers in AA (small sample as they are) are better than his stats in IE.

    I keep expecting him to hit a wall and at least struggle a bit. But he has been nothing but awesome since last year. His Ks are a bit of a concern, but everything else seems to be clicking for him. He is hitting for power and drawing walks at both levels.

    In AA, he is no longer too old for his level. Assuming he keeps this up, how much longer does he have to perform like this before being recognized as a legit prospect?

    Also, it seems like people who actually see him play in person have a much less favorable opinion of him than you would get from looking at his stats. Is he really unimpressive from a scouting perspective? I know that he is a big guy, and may not be the premium athlete that he used to be. But I am still suprised that he is not getting recognition.

    What are his main flaws? And what does he have to do to overcome them?

    To me, he seems like just as good of a prospect as other gaudy-stats/major-issue players like Balentien and LaHair.

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