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2007 Top 20 Rookies

John Manuel -Premium Content

The last two seasons have produced two of the best rookie classes in a generation—meaning it won't be easy for the Class of 2007 to produce an encore. It's hard to imagine its players having as much of an impact as the last two classes have had on pennant races or in the minds of fans, and it makes the always volatile business of projecting rookie performance even harder this year.

Majors | #2007#Season Preview

So Long, Soler

Matt Eddy -

Though he provided the club with 45 occasionally-acceptable big league innings last season--including a two-hit shutout of Arizona in June--the Mets have released burly Cuban righthander Alay Soler after three spring outings.

Minors | #Daily Dish

Los Rockies

Matt Meyers -

TUCSON—No team has increased their presence in Latin America over the last few years more than the Colorado Rockies. General manager Dan O’Dowd has given Rolando Fernandez and his international scouting department more discretion on the Latin American market, and the Rockies system is seeing the results.The Rockies are flush with young talent at the big league level, but most of their newfound depth courtesy of the Dominican Republic and Venezuela is not there yet. A visit to their minor league spring training complex makes it obvious that this influx of foreign talent is not far away.One of the fruits of the international scouting department’s labor that is generating buzz in camp is shortstop Hector Gomez.

Minors | #Daily Dish

Miller Optioned; Holdzkom Returned

Chris Kline -

Tigers lefthander Andrew Miller was among the roster cuts from major league camp yesterday, as the club optioned him to high Class A Lakeland.Detroit manager Jim Leyland told BA correspondent Jon Paul Morosi (Detroit Free Press) that Miller was "definitely not going to be on the team," but there was "a strong possibility the lefthander would join the club at some point during the season.

Minors | #Daily Dish

Non-Prospect Diary: Dirk Hayhurst

Dirk Hayhurst -

Padres righthander Dirk Hayhurst will be one of our featured diary scribes for the 2007 season. The 2003 eighth-round pick went a combined 6-14, 4.73 in 131 innings at three different levels last season—getting to Triple-A (Portland) for the first time in his career. But never mind the numbers.

Minors | #2007#Prospect Diary

Three Strikes: March 12

Aaron Fitt -

Three Strikes checks in on struggling Miami, which fell out of the Top 25 rankings, as well as Cal State Fullerton's lost weekend at East Carolina and the crowded group of qualified teams sitting just outside the Top 25.

College | #Three Strikes

College Top 25: March 12

The top three teams remain the same in Baseball America's Top 25 rankings, as both No. 1 North Carolina and No. 2 Vanderbilt went 4-0 last week, and No. 3 South Carolina swept its weekend series.

College | #2007#Top 25

Culture Shock For Jung

Matt Meyers -

TEMPE, Ariz.—For those who follow prospects, no player offers more mystery than the big money international free agent. Obviously the club that signs them believes in their ability or they would not give them big dollars, but we have no context to compare their previous level of competition to.The Angels gave Korean righthander Young-Il Jung a cool million last August based on the recommendation of part-time scout Charlie Kim and international scouting supervisor Clay Daniel. The size of the investment is a clear indication of the Angels belief in his ability and Jung did enough in instructional league last fall that he was rated as the Angels’ No. 4 prospect in our Prospect Handbook. Now in his first spring training, the 18-year-old is doing his best to acclimate himself to American culture. While most big money amateur free agents are from Latin America and have a number of Spanish speaking teammates to communicate with, Jung does not have that luxury. Fortunately, he has Hank Conger.

Minors | #Daily Dish

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

Matt Meyers -

SURPRISE, Ariz.—Believe or not, Royals fans have hope. At least they are acting like it in Arizona. Though it is unlikely they can compete in 2007 in the vicious American League Central, the Dayton Moore regime has fans dreaming of the franchises glory years. In turn, the franchise is trying to make sure their young players are aware of those years.“One of our themes this spring is to educate our players on the history of the Royals,” farm director J.J. Picollo said. “They need to know there is a tradition here.”

Minors | #Daily Dish

More Surprises

Matt Meyers -

SURPRISE, Ariz.--Though Surprise is a pain to get to, at least you get two teams to for the price of one drive on as the Royals share the complex with the Rangers. Texas ranked No. 28 in our recent organizational rankings, but farm director Scott Servais is confident that a lot of players who seemed overmatched last year will emerge in 2007.Servais explained that the Rangers purposely tested their players with aggressive assignments at Class A, with many of them young for their levels. It showed in their records as high Class A Bakersfield and low Class A Clinton combined to go 103-176.“We had the youngest team in (low Class A) ball,” Servais said. “This year we are going to have a lot of those guys repeat those levels and put a much greater emphasis on winning.”

Minors | #Daily Dish

Derailed On His Way To Stardom

Marc Topkin -Premium Content

By now, B.J. Upton was supposed to be a star. Maybe he wasn't going to be the next Derek Jeter, as he so boasted innocently on the June 4, 2002, afternoon the Devil Rays made him the No. 2 pick in the nation. But he certainly didn't expect to be spending the spring of his fifth pro season shuffling around the back fields working at a handful of different positions, still seeking the chance to spend his first full season in the majors, and in a role similar to that of Angels' super utilityman Chone Figgins.

Majors | #2007#Season Preview