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2003 League Top 20s: Midwest League

by Jim Callis
September 25, 2003

2003 League Top 20s
Sept. 18Gulf Coast League
Sept. 19Arizona League
Sept. 20Appalachian League
Sept. 21Pioneer League
Sept. 22New York-Penn League
Sept. 23Northwest League
Sept. 24South Atlantic League
Sept. 25Midwest League
Sept. 26California League
Sept. 27Carolina League
Sept. 28Florida State League
Sept. 29Eastern League
Sept. 30Southern League
Oct. 1Texas League
Oct. 2International League
Oct. 3Pacific Coast League


For complete scouting reports on the Top 20 Prospects in the Midwest League, subscribers can access our expanded coverage.

That Beloit and Lansing met in the finals of the low Class A Midwest League playoffs was no surprise. The Snappers and Lugnuts dominated the postseason and monopolized the league's prospect list by occupying eight of the top 13 spots. The group didn't include second baseman Rickie Weeks, the No. 2 overall pick in the June draft who arrived in Beloit too late to qualify.

After blowing a seven-run, ninth-inning lead in the last game of the 2002 playoffs, Lansing atoned by sweeping all seven of its postseason games this year. Leading the way were lefthander Andy Sisco, who didn't allow an earned run in either of his starts, and 18-year-old outfielder Felix Pie, who batted .429 in the playoffs.

The Snappers might have put up more of a fight if two of their best pitching prospects weren't sidelined for the playoffs, though Dennis Sarfate lived up to his reputation by winning both of his starts. First baseman Prince Fielder continued his slugging ways, batting .394 with two homers in eight games.

The MWL wasn't as balanced as it was in 2002, when Joe Mauer headlined the position players and Dontrelle Willis was the cream of the pitching crop. Outside of Fielder, most of the top talent in the league was found on the mound.


1. Prince Fielder, 1b, Beloit Snappers (Brewers)

It isn't often that managers tab a 5-foot-11, 245-pounder as a league's most exciting player, but then again Fielder is an uncommon 19-year-old slugger with gifts beyond his considerable power. He also hits for average and controls the strike zone, which is how he led the MWL in RBIs and placed second in on-base percentage (.409) and slugging (.526) behind players four years older.

Managers and scouts consider him a better prospect than former Beloit star Brad Nelson, who led the minors in RBIs in 2002, because Fielder's power potential grades out at the top of the 20-80 scouting scale. He could emulate his father Cecil and win a big league home run crown, and he's a more advanced hitter than his dad was. Fielder won't be more than adequate at first base because of his limited range and lateral movement, but he needs to work harder during pregame infield.

"I haven't seen that kind of power since I've been here," said Don Money, Beloit's manager since 1998. "Last year he came here as a raw kid out of high school. This year he came back with a plan. He can hit the ball out of any ballpark to any field. The ball comes off his bat like a big leaguer."

TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Beloit 137 502 81 157 22 2 27 112 71 80 2 .313 .409 .526


For complete scouting reports on the Top 20 Prospects in the Midwest League, subscribers can access our expanded coverage.

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