Saturday, October 09, 2004

Bonus Prospect Report

Jeff Baker, 3B, Colorado Rockies
Drafted 111th Overall (4th Round), 2002 Draft, Clemson
Bats R/Throws R
23 YO, 6'2", 210 lbs

Those who follow prospects closely probably know the story. For those who don't, here's the cliff's notes version. Baker was rated as a high draft prospect after his sophomore year, but had a mediocre junior season, was seen as a tough player to sign, and had mixed reviews in wood bat summer leagues. So instead of being a first round pick, he fell to the 4th round. He did get a major league contract from the Rockies. He then got pushed further down the prospect lists after he hit a relatively disappointing .289/.377/.479 in the Sally League, and had wrist problems.

Well, this was a new year, and Baker came through. He hit .325/.434/.539 with 47 walks, 73 K's, 23 doubles, and 11 home runs in 271 at bats for Visalia. Late in the season, he moved up to AA Tulsa and hit .297/.343/.505 with 8 walks, 22 K's, 5 doubles, and 4 home runs in 91 at bats.

He has power, patience, and makes contact. He even had patience and power in the season that was seen as a disappointment. He also has a good defensive reputation, as some have speculated that he could move to second base. That might be wishful thinking. It has worked out fairly well for Michael Cuddyer, but Jake Gattreau was a disaster. If he can handle it, it would be a big development, as Baker has superprospect Ian Stewart breathing down his neck.

If he avoids more injuries again, he'll quickly pass by Garrett Atkins on the big league club.

ETA: Late 2005
4 Stars

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