Does 10 prospects per team only whet your appetite? How does 30 sound? If you want the more of in-depth information you're finding here on three times as many players, Baseball America's 2003 Prospect Handbook is for you.
1. Xavier Nady, of
Age: 24. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 205. Drafted: California, 2000 (2nd round). Signed by: Don Lyle.
Background: Nady entered 2000 as the consensus top draft prospect, but he had a so-so .329-19-59 junior season at California, and signability was the overriding concern among major league clubs. He slid to the Padres, then signed a big league contract with a $1.1 million bonus. His deal mandated a September callup, but he hasnt been back to San Diego since, with injuries the main culprit. He had Tommy John surgery after the 2001 season. Last year, he couldnt play in the field until mid-June and strained a quadriceps muscle in the AFL. Nady has an impressive offensive résumé. He eclipsed Mark McGwires Pacific-10 Conference record with a .718 slugging percentage, and was the Class A California Leagues MVP and home run leader in 2001.
Strengths: The Padres envision Nady as an impact hitter who will produce for both power and average. He has the strength and stroke to hit 40 homers annually, and he has an advanced approach at the plate. After trying to do too much after his midseason promotion to Triple-A Portland, Nady adjusted and closed holes in his swing. He batted .316-4-19 in the final month, then hit .323 in the AFL before getting hurt. Nady drives the ball hard to all fields. Hes a determined competitor and has worked hard on his defense.
Weaknesses: Nadys injuries have hampered his defensive development. He was drafted as a third baseman, but Sean Burroughs has a claim there. The Padres talked about trying Nady at second base, but elbow problems ended that and limited him to first base in 2001. Left field is his position now, but he was only healthy enough to play 63 games (including the AFL) there in 2002. He can make the routine plays and has improved his jumps on fly balls. His arm isnt quite average now but should stretch out as he gets healthier. The only offensive concern with Nady is that he needs more plate discipline.
The Future: The Padres will give Nady a long look in spring training, though he probably needs more time in Triple-A before hes fully ready. San Diego got just 20 homers out of its left fielders last season, and Nady could exceed that total as a rookie.