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2003 Draft:
Top Prospects by Position: Infielders

FIRST BASE

Michael Aubrey and Vince Sinisi rank as two of the three best college hitters in the draft, but after that the talent at the position drops off quickly. There's not even a guarantee that Aubrey and Sinisi will remain at first base in pro ball. Both lack the raw power desired for the position and each saw considerable time in the outfield in their first year in college--Sinisi at Texas as a red-shirt freshman before he transferred to Rice. That could lead to a position switch for both. The college first-base crop could be further weakened if Clemson is elimated in the regionals this weekend and Michael Johnson, a fifth-year senior, signs with San Diego before the draft. There isn't a high school first baseman who's guaranteed of going in the first three rounds. Andy D'Alessio and Mark Hamilton are the top rated prepsters, but D'Alessio missed most of the season with an injury and Hamilton has a high price and is considered nearly unsignable. Billy Becher led NCAA Division I in homers, while Ian Blaergroen led the junior college ranks.

Strength of Position (1-to-5 scale): 3.
Best hitters: 1. Michael Aubrey. 2. Vince Sinisi. 3. Mark Hamilton.
Best defensive players: 1. Michael Aubrey. 2. Scott Robinson. 3. Vince Sinisi.
Best athletes: 1. Michael Aubrey. 2. Michael Johnson. 3. Vince Sinisi.

 

Rank

Player

High School/College

Class

Age

B-T

Ht.

Wt.

1.

Michael Aubrey

Tulane U.

Jr.

21

L-L

6-0

175

2.

Vince Sinisi

Rice U.

So.

21

L-L

6-0

195

3.

Michael Johnson

Clemson U.

Sr.

22

L-R

6-4

220

4.

Andy D'Alessio

Barron Collier HS, Naples, Fla.

Sr.

18

L-R

6-4

195

5.

Mark Hamilton

Episcopal HS, Bellaire, Texas

Sr.

18

L-L

6-3

220

6.

Eddie Kim

James Madison U.

Sr.

22

L-R

6-4

265

7.

Jeremy Cleveland

U. of North Carolina

Jr.

21

R-R

6-2

197

8.

C.J. Smith

U. of Florida

So.

21

R-R

6-3

208

9.

Brandon Lowe

Vidalia HS, Mt. Vernon, Ga.

Sr.

18

L-R

6-3

205

10.

Brennan Boesch

Harvard-Westlake HS, Los Angeles

Sr.

18

L-L

6-4

195

11.

Josh Whitesell

Loyola Marymount

Jr.

21

L-L

6-2

210

12.

Scott Robinson

Palomar (Calif.) JC

Fr.

19

L-L

6-1

180

13.

Jordan Hafer

Deerfield Beach (Fla.) HS

Sr.

18

B-L

6-2

200

14.

Johnny Woodard

Cosumnes River (Calif.) JC

Fr.

19

L-R

6-3

220

15.

Chris Kelly

Pepperdine U.

Jr.

21

R-R

6-1

180

16.

Tim Dorn

East Los Angeles JC

So.

20

R-R

6-7

245

17.

Ian Bladergroen

Lamar (Colo.) JC

So.

20

L-L

6-3

205

18.

Billy Becher

New Mexico State U.

Jr.

21

L-R

6-4

230

19.

Matt Hopper

U. of Nebraska

Sr.

23

R-R

6-4

210

20.

*Beau Hearod

U. of Alabama

Sr.

22

R-R

5-10

195

*Played outfield this season

SECOND BASE

Most major league second baseman are former shortstops who couldn't cut it at the more defensively challenging position. Very few true players are drafted in the first round as second baseman, though Chase Utley (Phillies, 2000), Chris Burke (Astros, 2001) and Mike Fontenot (Orioles, 2001) are recent exceptions. This year is different, however, as the most feared college hitter is a second baseman, Southern's Rickie Weeks. He could go No. 1 overall to the Devil Rays and almost certainly will go in the first three picks. No second baseman ever has gone higher than Todd Walker, chosen eighth by the Twins in 1994. Another change from the usual is that most of the top second-base prospects are at that position now. Omar Quintanilla, a gifted line-drive hitter, plays shortstop for defending national champion Texas out of necessity rather than talent. Speedy Tim Moss, another early-round choice, plays second base for the Longhorns because he has less defensive aptitude than Quintanilla. Weeks and Quintanilla set the tone for a crop of second basemen with more offensive potential than in most years. Peter Stonard won the Cape Cod League batting title last summer, Luke Appert joined Barry Larkin as the only players to repeat as Big Ten Conference player of the year and Ryne Malone holds the Florida high school record for career hits.

Strength of Position (1-to-5 scale): 4.
Best hitters: 1. Rickie Weeks. 2. Omar Quintanilla 3. Peter Stonard. 4. Luke Appert. 5. Ryne Malone.
Best defensive players: 1. Matt Tolbert.  2. Luke Appert. 3. Marc Tugwell.
Best athletes: 1. Rickie Weeks. 2. Lance Zawadzki. 3. Tim Moss.

 

Rank

Player

High School/College

Class

Age

B-T

Ht.

Wt.

1.

Rickie Weeks

Southern U.

Jr.

20

R-R

5-11

195

2.

*Omar Quintanilla

U. of Texas

Jr.

21

L-R

5-9

185

3.

Peter Stonard

San Diego State U.

Jr.

21

L-R

6-0

195

4.

Tim Moss

U. of Texas

Jr.

21

R-R

5-11

180

5.

Luke Appert

U. of Minnesota

Sr.

22

L-R

5-11

180

6.

*Lance Zawadzki

St. John's HS, Ashland, Mass.

Sr.

21

B-R

5-11

180

7.

*Ryne Malone

P.K. Yonge HS, Gainesville, Fla.

Sr.

18

L-R

5-11

180

 8.

Marc Tugwell

Virginia Tech

Sr.

22

R-R

6-0

190

 9.

Eric Rodland

Gonzaga U.

Sr.

23

L-R

6-1

180

10.

Enrique Cruz

Rice U.

Jr.

21

R-R

5-10

185

11.

Lee Curtis

College of Charleston

Sr.

21

R-R

5-11

185

12.

Matt Tolbert

U. of Mississippi

Jr.

21

B-R

6-0

177

13.

Steve Garrabrants

Arizona State U.

Jr.

21

R-R

5-10

175

14.

*Anthony Lunetta

U. of Southern California

Sr.

22

R-R

5-10

185

15.

*Matt Rogelstad

Arkansas State U.

Jr.

20

L-R

6-3

175

*Played shortstop this season

THIRD BASE

The overall offensive potential at this position is so good that the first six players on this list could be drafted in the first round. Ian Stewart, Matt Moses and Eric Duncan are cut from the same cloth. They are 18 and powerful lefthanded hitters with questionable defensive skills. None is guaranteed of staying at third base in pro ball. It's possible that all three will end up at first base, where their bats would all be above-average. The defensive skills of the first 10 players on the list are all flawed to a degree, meaning possible position switches in pro ball. That scenario is likely in store for Conor Jackson, Jamie D'Antona and Miguel Vega, three powerful righthanded hitters who could end up at first base. Brian Snyder is a different kind of player from his peers. He doesn't merit going in the first round on the basis of his tools, but his plate discipline is more advanced than any player in the draft and it might tempt a team like the Red Sox, Athletics or Blue Jays--who all emphasize on-base percentage--to pop him early.

Strength of Position (1-to-5 scale): 4.
Best hitters: 1. Matt Moses. 2. Ian Stewart. 3. Eric Duncan. 4. Jeff Flaig. 5. Conor Jackson.
Best defensive players: 1. Craig Stansberry. 2. Steve Gendron. 3. Casey McGehee.
Best athletes: 1. Robert Lane. 2. Jeffries Tatford. 3. Jeff Flaig.

 

Rank

Player

High School/College

Class

Age

B-T

Ht.

Wt.

1.

Ian Stewart

La Qunita HS, Garden Grove, Calif.

Sr.

18

L-R

6-3

200

2.

*Matt Moses

Mills Godwin HS, Richmond, Va.

Sr.

18

L-R

6-0

210

3.

Eric Duncan

Seton Hall Prep, Florham Park, N.J.

Sr.

18

L-R

6-1

205

4.

Conor Jackson

U. of California

Jr.

21

R-R

6-3

210

5.

Miguel Vega

Carmen B. Huyke, Arroyo, P.R.

Sr.

17

R-R

6-3

205

6.

Brian Snyder

Stetson U.

Jr.

21

R-R

5-11

195

7.

Jamie D'Antona

Wake Forest U.

Jr.

21

R-R

6-2

215

8.

Jeff Flaig

El Dorado HS, Placentia, Calif.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-2

180

9.

Jeffries Tatford

St. Thomas More HS, Lafayette, La.

Sr.

18

L-R

6-3

215

10.

*Wes Hodges

Baylor School, Ooltewah, Tenn.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-2

180

11.

Steve Gendron

Mississippi State U.

Jr.

21

R-R

6-3

199

12.

*Myron Leslie

U. of South Florida

Jr.

21

B-R

6-3

210

13.

*Robert Lane

Neville HS, Monroe, La.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-3

215

14.

Christian Snavely

Ohio State U.

Jr.

21

L-R

6-2

200

15.

Jamie Romak

A.B. Lucas HS, London, Ontario

Sr.

17

R-R

6-1

220

16.

Lee Mitchell

U. of Georgia

Jr.

21

R-R

6-1

190

17.

Matt Pulley

Woodland (Calif.) HS

Sr.

18

L-R

6-3

200

18.

Craig Stansberry

Rice U.

Jr.

21

R-R

6-0

185

19.

Casey McGehee

Fresno State U.

Jr.

20

R-R

6-1

190

20.

Robbie Widlansky

Taravella HS, Coral Springs, Fla.

Sr.

18

B-R

6-1

185

21.

Chad Corona

San Diego State U.

Jr.

21

R-R

6-4

227

22.

Brian Buscher

U. of South Carolina

Sr.

22

R-R

6-0

200

23.

Adam Heether

Long Beach State U.

Jr.

21

R-R

6-0

200

24.

Brett Amyx

Coppell (Texas) HS

Sr.

18

R-R

6-5

205

25.

Patrick Dobson

U. of Nevada-Las Vegas

Jr.

22

R-R

6-3

210

*Played shortstop this season

SHORTSTOP

It's not a good year for shortstops. Where the 2002 draft featured B.J. Upton, a five-tool player who went No. 2 overall to the Devil Rays, the 2003 class lacks an all-around shortstop who hasn't raised questions about his offense or defense. The best is Aaron Hill, a very polished college player who compares favorably to Khalil Greene, who went 13th overall to the Padres last year. The Southeastern Conference player of the year, Hill provides has exceptional offensive potential for a middle infielder but his long-range ability to stay at shortstop is in doubt.  Hill is the only shortstop who's a lock to go in the first round, compared to seven a year ago. Brandon Wood has blossomed enough with the bat this spring to earn late first-round consideration. But uncertainty surrounds most of the rest of the shortstop prospects. Jonathan Fulton may outgrow the position, and Jason Donald and Sean Rodriguez may have to move as well. Roberto Valido is a pure shortstop but some scouts worry about his bat. The best athlete among the group is Adam Jones but he almost certainly will wind up on the mound. Originally spotted as a shortstop, Jones has drawn even more interest since he began pitching in the mid-90s this spring.

Strength of Position (1-to-5 scale): 2.
Best hitters: 1. Aaron Hill. 2. Brandon Wood. 3. Sean Rodriguez. 4. Andy LaRoche. 5. Jason Donald.
Best defensive players: 1. Jonathan Fulton. 2. Robert Valido. 3. Trey Webb. 4. Tony Giarratano. 5. Matthew Maniscalco.
Best athletes: 1. Adam Jones. 2. Matt Antonelli. 3. Jason Donald. 4. Philip Stringer. 5. Kevin Allen.

 

Rank

Player

High School/College

Class

Age

B-T

Ht.

Wt.

1.

Aaron Hill

Louisiana State U.

Jr.

21

R-R

5-11

195

2.

Brandon Wood

Horizon HS, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-2

180

3.

Jonathan Fulton

George Washington HS, Danville, Va.

Sr.

19

R-R

6-4

200

4.

Jason Donald

Buchanan HS, Clovis, Calif.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-1

180

5.

Sean Rodriguez

Braddock HS, Miami

Sr.

18

R-R

6-0

175

6.

Robert Valido

Coral Park HS, Miami

Sr.

18

R-R

6-1

175

7.

Tony Giarratano

Tulane U.

Jr.

20

B-R

6-0

180

8.

Matt Antonelli

St. John's Prep, Peabody, Mass.

Sr.

18

R-R

6-0

185

9.

Jose Ronda

Gabriela Mistral HS, San Juan, P.R.

Sr.

17

B-R

6-2

175

10.

Billy Hogan

Chandler-Gilbert (Ariz.) JC

Fr.

20

R-R

6-3

200

11.

Matthew Maniscalco

Mississippi State U.

Sr.

22

R-R

5-10

184

12.

Andy LaRoche

Grayson County (Texas) CC

So.

19

R-R

5-11

180

13.

*Adam Jones

Morse HS, San Diego

Sr.

17

R-R

6-2

185

14.

Philip Stringer

Klein Oak HS, Spring, Texas

Sr.

18

R-R

5-9

170

15.

*Travis Schlichting

Round Rock (Texas) HS

Sr.

18

R-R

6-4

190

16.

Brandon Jones

Tallahassee (Fla.) CC

Fr.

19

L-R

6-1

180

17.

Trey Webb

Baylor U.

Jr.

21

R-R

6-0

170

18.

Matt Macri

U. of Notre Dame

So.

21

R-R

6-2

175

19.

Ryan Coultas

UC Davis

Jr.

21

R-R

6-3

180

20.

Dom Laurin

Eastern Oklahoma State JC

So.

19

R-R

6-0

185

21.

Adam Pavkovich

U. of Alabama

Jr.

21

R-R

6-2

185

22.

Sean Henry

Armijo HS, Suisun City, Calif.

Sr.

17

R-R

6-0

160

23.

Tim Hutting

Long Beach State U.

Jr.

21

R-R

6-0

190

24.

Christian Colonel

Texas Tech

Jr.

21

R-R

6-2

210

25.

Ian Kinsler

U. of Missouri

Jr.

20

R-R

6-0

182

26.

Kevin Estrada

Pepperdine U.

Sr.

22

B-R

6-0

180

27.

David Reaver

U. of Richmond

Sr.

22

R-R

6-1

200

28.

Zack Borowiak

Southeast Missouri State U.

Sr.

22

R-R

6-1

185

29.

Tila Reynolds

U. of Washington

Sr.

22

R-R

5-11

185

30.

Kevin Allen

W Henderson HS, Hendersonville, N.C.

Sr.

R

6-0

188

*Also listed as a pitcher

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