Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Prospect Report Vol. II -- FIRST BASE

Today is the first basemen of the future, and the Padres seem to take the cake with half of the entries. Some of these guys are familiar names, as they've been seen in international bidding, but others may be new to some. Check for the second base update tomorrow.

AAA – Al Bonilla (22) San Diego Padres

$12.3 million seemed outrageous for the first true international GAP prospect, but spending has increased over the first couple seasons, and it looks like right about where he would have landed for today. Bonilla was immediately thrown into the fire at AAA, and has flourished since day one. Al has been a terror at the plate, holding a career OPS of 1.127 and smacking 88 homers in only 221 career games. Season 3 looks to really be his breakout year, as he has already compiled a .385 avg with 18 HR and 48 RBI thus far.

AA – Joey Norman (22) Chicago Cubs

Norman, a Season 1 first rounder out of Central City, IA, was one of Vancouver’s prized prospects for the first couple seasons, but ended up in Chicago during the Season 2 playoffs in a blockbuster deal. Norman has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the minors, and should be hitting the majors by next season. He holds a career OPS of 1.065 and is hitting .348 so far between High A and AA in Season 3.

HiA – Don Atkins (20) San Diego Padres

A steal as a 6th round pick in the Season 2 draft, Atkins has made the most of his time in the Padres system, blasting 37 HR and 145 RBI in only 109 career games. Atkins is still 2 or 3 years off from seeing the big club, but he should be an impressive cleanup hitter when his time comes.

LowA – Damaso Morales (20) St. Louis Cardinals

Admittedly, Cubs management didn’t quite know what they were giving up when they traded Morales during the 2nd GAP playoffs. An early international prospect who was paid only a $2.1 million bonus, Morales has been nothing short of spectacular when given the opportunity. Through the same amount of games as Atkins, Morales holds a career average of .365 with 38 HR and 146 RBI. Even more impressive is his career OBP of .459 and OPS of 1.211. Oh yeah, he’s only 20 years old...

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