Thursday, March 10, 2005

Justin Huber Report

Justin Huber, 1B, Kansas City Royals
Signed as an Undrafted Free Agent, 2000, Australia
Bats R/Throws R
22 YO, 6'2", 190 lbs

I don't know how managed to pull it off, but somehow Allard Baird managed to grab Huber while throwing only third base Rule 5'er Jose Bautista into the Kris Benson deal at the trade deadline last season. In his last game as Mets property, he tore the meniscus in his left knee, which probably puts an end to his career as a catcher. That was coming anyway though. He's a damned good hitter and lousy catcher. That's a path well traveled though, as Mike Sweeney, Eric Munson, Craig Wilson, Ryan Garko, and Matt LeCroy can give us a hint at what kind of company he's in.

2004 Binghamton: .271/.414/.487, 16 2B, 11 HR, 46 BB, 57 K, 12 HBP, 236 AB
2004 Norfolk: .312/.421/.438, 2 2B, 0 HR, 3 BB, 3 K, 16 AB
mL Career: .271/.364/.466, 83 2B, 5 3B, 49 HR, 163 BB, 301 K, 58 HBP, 1280 AB

Huber pretty much doubled his walk rate in 2005, which is a good sign. I expect that we'll see a small power spike in the next couple of seasons. He's a solid hitter whose bat is good enough that it will translate well to either a corner outfield spot or as is expected, to 1B/DH.

Expect Huber to develop into a kind of Mike Sweeney for the next generation of Royal fans, mediocre defense and all. He'll pound a mess of doubles, some home runs, and draw some walks. He'll be a cornerstone of the next good Royals team as long as management doesn't screw it up by sending him to Billy Beane before he becomes arbitration eligible. He'll likely spend the first part of the season learning how to play first base and possibly left field while KC tries to figure out its 1B/DH/LF/RF situation. The correct answer in my opinion probably involves sending Ken Harvey to Baltimore or Queens.

ETA: Mid/Late 2005
4 Stars

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