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Top 100 Risk Factors: James Loney

In addition to ranking the Top 100 Prospects for 2007, we also wanted to take a look at some risk factors that the prospects will have to overcome in order to reach their full potential, as well as a look at a best case and worst case scenario for the future.

Minors | #2007#Rankings#Top 100 Prospects

Tulane-LSU Rivalry Renewed

Aaron Fitt -

Tuesday featured a veritable cornucopia of quality midweek games. Senior second baseman Tyler Mach had a huge day in Oklahoma State's 10-3 win over Dallas Baptist, going 4-for-5 with a pair of homers, a double and five RBIs. Vanderbilt third baseman Pedro Alvarez nearly matched Mach in the Commodores' 8-0 win over Austin Peay, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a triple in support of freshman lefthander Mike Minor, who picked up his first collegiate win with eight shutout innings, striking out eight and allowing just three hits. Out on the West Coast, Cal State Fullerton avenged last week's 8-7 loss to San Diego State with a 9-8 win over the Aztecs; Pepperdine pounded UC Irvine 13-2 behind a pair of homers and six RBIs by third baseman Chase d'Arnaud; Arizona State blasted Arizona 22-8, led by seven RBIs for first baseman Brett Wallace; UC Riverside got five strong innings and seven strikeouts from senior lefty Marc Rzepczynski in his return from elbow soreness, and the Highlanders beat San Diego 9-4. Elsewhere, Georgia Tech's pitching woes continued, as the Yellow Jackets fell 10-7 against Western Carolina despite a spirited comeback attempt.And oh, by the way, the year's first Tulane-Louisiana State game also happened yesterday.

College

Beware Of Anteaters

Aaron Fitt -

Nice day for California sophomore first baseman David Cooper yesterday, belting two home runs in Cal's 6-1 win against UC Santa Barbara. Cooper, a transfer from Cal State Fullerton, is off to a very hot start, batting .444 with four homers, 17 RBIs and a .759 slugging percentage. It might help that he's plenty familiar with the Big West, and the Golden Bears have now played three games against UC Irvine (winning two), two against Long Beach State (losing both) and two against the Gauchos (winning both). Going 4-3 against that group is pretty good, because the Big West is clearly an improved conference.Leading the way are Long Beach State and UC Riverside, who vaulted into the top 25 this week after getting off to 8-4 and 9-4 starts, respectively. But don't forget about the Anteaters, who are off to the best start in school history at 10-2-1. UCI hasn't lost a game since dropping that season-opening series up in Berkeley three weeks ago, having taken a series from Loyola Marymount (despite playing to a 15-15 tie in the series finale) and getting big sweeps at Houston and against Utah at home. The Anteaters have shown toughness during their current hot streak that has impressed Coach Dave Serrano.

College

Three Strikes: Feb. 26

Aaron Fitt -

This week's three strikes takes aim at Midwestern cold-weather schools that had successful weekends against powers from the South, and checks in on strong starts by preseason All-Americans such as Andrew Brackman, Kellen Kulbacki and David Price.

College | #Three Strikes

Going Deep: Cooper Brannan

Alan Schwarz -Premium Content

Cooper Brannan's career as an infantry rifleman in the Marines ended two years ago, when on his second tour of duty in Iraq, a grenade blew several fingers off his left hand. Yet that horrific moment ultimately led to a second career beginning right now: Padres minor league pitcher. Brannan, 22, still has only four fingers on his left hand but will carry 40 times the normal life experience inside his new uniform. I spoke with the righthander about getting signed by the Padres, his experience in Iraq, and playing Wiffle ball in the desert with buddies who never came home.

Majors | #2007#Column

Prospect Pulse: March 7

Chris Kline -Premium Content

While our annual Top 100 Prospects ranking is deep with righthanded pitching and outfielders—particularly center fielders—the lack of impact catchers is glaring. The void became even more prominent when the Pirates decided to move Neil Walker to third base this spring.

Minors | #2007#Prospect Pulse