04 March 2008

The Real Futures Team, Part II

First basemen

The common assumption is that first base is where the lumbering hulks with the big bats go so they don't make fools of themselves defensively. That's true for some of these guys, but others of them can seriously pick it and could play somewhere else next season or further down the road. As far as excellence at the plate, these guys have it covered. Our boys have hit .401, hit 74 home runs, and driven in more than 200 RBI in individual seasons during their short careers with even more to come.

1. Carlos Pulido, Jacksonville AAA, 4th year pro, 21 years old.

Pulido is a masher in the purest form, cracking 32, then 59, then 62 home runs as he moved up a level each season. He seems to be getting better as his competition improves and his RBI totals have been sick. Expect a .320/.390/.650 line when he goes pro with 50+ homers on his good years.

2. Tex Jordan, Boston High A, 2nd year pro, 22 years old.

Jordan is a home run machine like some of his counterparts, but he also hits for average and gets on base at a pretty good clip. At the A levels in season 7, he picked up 219 RBI with 74 HR and still hit .329. Also important was that he played in every game and nearly had 200 hits and 50 doubles. He's relatively fast but not the ideal baserunner.

3. Tony Mendoza, Atlanta AA, 2nd year pro, 19 years old.

Mendoza got a cup of coffee at AA this year where his numbers were pretty good, but he plied his trade at high A almost the whole season. Still a kid, he hit 35 doubles and 22 home runs in season 7. His true talent will be in making contact and getting on base, and he can be one of the best in the business doing those two things.

4. Bruce Piatt, Honolulu AAA, 5th year pro, 24 years old.

Piatt made AAA in his second season and has stuck there since, collecting at least 170 hits each season with either 40 doubles or 30 home runs (or both). He's good for 100 RBI and 100 runs and probably will hit .300 given his track record. He is an obvious commodity because he has been traded twice since Montgomery made him a third-round pick.

5. Morgan Simpson, El Paso Rookie, 1st year pro, 18 years old.

Simpson's range and arm could improve enough to play right field, but among first basemen he still looks really good. His speed and baserunning stand to improve quite a bit as he gets older, along with everything else. Consider that he already stole 23 bases in a rookie season and his OBP was 143 points above his average and you can figure out where his career could be headed.

6. Michael Richard, Little Rock High A, 4th year pro, 21 years old.

Although not fast, Richard is quickly becoming a better baserunner. Richard was brought along slowly, spending full two seasons in rookie, but he collected 200 hits in season 6, and he almost hit 100 doubles in his last two seasons. He may have some news stories on him when he turns pro because of his sound-alike name.

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