The Comp: Scott Moore Vs. Jamie D'Antona
See also: Previous The Comp: Cameron Maybin vs. Dexter Fowler
The Double-A Southern League is the battleground for several solid third base prospects, with the Dodgers Andy LaRoche leading the way. But looking beyond that top tier--and looking beyond the Devil Rays apparently failed experiment with moving first baseman Wes Bankston to the hot corner after he put up 11 errors in 18 games before he landed on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle–the Cubs' Scott Moore and Diamondbacks third baseman Jamie D'Antona are the best the league has to offer.
Moore, the eighth overall pick in 2002 by the Tigers, experienced new life when he was dealt to Chicago in a three-prospect package last February. Moore batted .281/.385/.485 with 20 homers in 486 at-bats at high Class A Daytona last season, which was a far cry from the .223/.322/.384 numbers be put up at Lakeland in the same league just a year before.
After repeating the Florida State League, Moore has moved up to Double-A West Tenn, and while he might never live up to that $2.3 million bonus, he's having more success than ever.
Through 134 at-bats, the 22-year-old is hitting .299/.364/.537 with six homers and 26 RBIs.
D'Antona has been similarly stalled development-wise. After breaking out in the high Class A California League with .315/.353/.531 numbers in 273 at-bats at Lancaster in 2004, the second-round pick in 2003 out of Wake Forest faltered last season in Double-A.
The Demon Deacons' career home run leader originally was grouped with first baseman Conor Jackson and outfielder Carlos Quentin, but now he finds himself repeating at Tennessee, where he's hitting .226/.308/.528 in 106 at-bats. But the power is there: D'Antona has already equaled his home run total from last season, when it took him 410 at-bats to hit nine bombs.
We caught up with a veteran American League scout to get the lowdown on the ceiling of both third baseman, which grade out as lower than LaRoche, but are in that next tier of third baseman in the minors.
"Well, they're similar in that they strike out a bunch, and they don't really have much speed or agility at all. They're also similar in that they have power in each of their bats, but in terms of consistency in their approach--and I'm not talking on stats over the course of a season, but just in how they approach things over the course of a game--varies greatly from at-bat to at-bat.
"I think Moore is closer to getting to where he needs to be in terms of consistency each time he comes to the plate--he's not trying to hit home runs all the time like he did two years ago in the Florida State League or even last year. He's using the whole field a lot better than he ever has, and taking more pitches--you can see him progressing in game situations.
"I can't say the same thing about D'Antona. Sure, he has a bunch of home runs already, but he's all or nothing all the time. And we're talking about a guy who has fewer strikeouts than Moore and probably shows better plate discipline. He just gets under everything. He doesn't strike out a ton, but he has that long swing and can really uppercut it at times.
"Defensively, it's pretty much a wash. I like how much Moore has progressed around the bag and with his reactions, but they're both average or a tick below at best. D'Antona's arm probably grades out a little higher than Moore's, but he doesn't have the athleticism or the footwork and agility it takes to play the position. I see D'Antona moving to left field, and I give Moore a little more time. He's not a great athlete when you're talking about Andy LaRoche, Ian Stewart--other third baseman at the same level. But he's younger and seems to have more of an idea of how to move over there."Advantage: