03 March 2005

Fishin' for Prospects

The best thing about living in a low-A minor league baseball town is the chance to see untapped potential in its purest form, so you can someday say, "I saw him play when he was only [insert age here]".

With that in mind, Columbus Catfish season is closing fast...and there's at least one choice catch at Golden Park in 2005 [for now].

I know it's a little early for concrete rosters, but comparing the Columbus Catfish's tentative roster for 2005 to John Sickels' top 20 Dodger prospects on his great site conjures up a few matches.

For the sake of time, here are your lucky pairing:

Julio Pimentel
18th on Sickels' list
Comment - "Watch Julio Pimentel, who has "2005 Breakthrough" tattooed on his forehead."

From the same list, last year's squad was a bit different:

Julio Pimentel
[see above]

Chuck Tiffany
6th on Sickels' list

Adam LaRoche
14th on Sickels' list
"[Wes] Bankston is three months younger than LaRoche and had a higher OBP. I also have to factor in the substantial deterioration in LaRoche's plate discipline after being promoted to the FSL. Of course, you can counter than Bankston didn't play in High A so we don't know if he would have dropped too.
It is possible that LaRoche is underrated at B-, and I'd entertain the idea of moving him up to B. But from where I'm standing, he's had an awful lot of hype for a guy with 65 games of good play and 68 games of poor play on his resume. "

Chad Billingsley
2nd on Sickels' list
"Billingsley is another prodigy. He needs sharper command, but again we're talking about a guy who acquitted himself well in Double-A at age 20. "

Delwyn Young
8th on Sickels' list
"Delwyn Young is a favorite of many statheads due to his booming bat. Defense remains a big questionmark, but if he keeps hitting like that they will find a place for him."

Willy Aybar
13th on Sickels' list
"I gave Willy Aybar a Grade C+ in the book. Some other analysts have started rating him as among the best prospects in the game. I went back and reviewed my reasoning for the Grade C+ grade. In retrospect I think that was too low. He did improve last year, and was young for Double-A, but I still don't see him as among the best prospects in the game, not yet. I'll move him to Grade B-."

A good comparision between former Waves Delwyn Young and Willy Aybar can be found at The Fourth Outfielder Baseball Blog.

Finally, in 2003, the man regarded in Sickels' prospect list as "a potential Miguel Cabrera":

Joel Guzman
1st on Sickels' list
Here's what Sickels had to say:
"Guzman looks like a potential Miguel Cabrera to me. There is some risk there due to his mediocre plate discipline, but the improvement in his overall numbers last year was marked, and he did extremely well in the Southern League for a 19-year-old."

More on Guzman from a man calling himself "CanuckDodger":
"If the Dodgers thought they could live with a shortstop in the majors with Derek Jeter range, they COULD keep Guzman at short. There is something to be said for getting premium offensive production from a premium defensive position. Of course, the Dodgers would be constantly worrying about the physical toll taken on a very tall man from playing short. I also think the Dodgers have felt spoiled by Cesar Izturis' defense at short (which includes plus range), and won't want to give that up. And even if Izturis leaves as a free agent after three more years, waiting in the wings to take over SS will be Chin-Lung Hu, a defensive whiz like Izturis with a bit more pop in his bat. Bottom line, I don't think Guzman will ever play short for the Dodgers."

Good Luck to the Catfish, and all their former and future stars.

I'm ready to see some new talent unfold on the banks of the Chattahoochee.
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