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2003 League Top 20s: New York-Penn League

by Michael Levesque
September 22, 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 New York-Penn League, subscribers can access our expanded coverage.

The New York-Penn League enjoyed its share of premium talent this year, with 10 first-round picks making their pro debuts in the league and four of them ranking among the 10 best prospects.

Aberdeen lefthander Adam Loewen, the fourth overall pick in 2002, would have been atop the list if he had pitched enough innings to qualify. Staten Island third baseman Eric Duncan, the 27th overall pick this June, would have cracked the top five had he accumulated enough plate appearances.

The Blue Jays stocked Auburn with a plethora of college talent, and the team went 56-18 to run away with the league's best record despite the promotions of first-round shortstop Aaron Hill and righthander Jamie Vermilyea. Hill ranked second in the top 20 on a list that included four of his teammates: righty Josh Banks, lefty Kurt Isenberg, shortstop Juan Paralta and first baseman Vito Chiaravalloti. Four other Doubledays -- Vermilyea, third baseman Ryan Roberts and righties Shaun Marcum and Bubbie Buzachero -- also received strong consideration.

Williamsport, which upset Auburn in the first round of the playoffs and swept Brooklyn for the championship, also was well represented. Four Crosscutters made it, led by speedy outfielder Nyjer Morgan. Lefties Tom Gorzelanny and Paul Maholm and shortstop Javier Guzman completed the Williamsport contingent.


1. Nick Markakis, of, Aberdeen IronBirds (Orioles)

Markakis, who is of Greek descent, missed more than two weeks of the NY-P season when he represented Greece at the European Championships in July. He batted cleanup and hit .323-0-7 with four stolen bases in eight games as Greece finished second. There is a strong likelihood he will play for Greece in next year's Athens Olympics.

Markakis was the top two-way player heading into this year's draft, but most teams projected the two-time Baseball America Junior College Player of the Year would be a first-round pick as a pitcher because he's a lefthander with a 92-94 mph fastball and plus breaking ball. The Orioles' decision to make him a full-time outfielder is looking good, though.

Starting from a slightly open stance with his hands high, Markakis has a smooth lefthanded stroke. He gets good leverage at the plate and projects to hit with above-average power as he fills out his lanky, athletic frame. He rounds out his five-tool ability with above-average speed.

"He's an exciting kid with huge upside," Hudson Valley manager Dave Howard said. "He throws well, he's a good defender for his age and he handled himself well at the plate. Against us he had trouble with really good fastballs, but that's understandable considering his age."

TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Aberdeen 59 205 22 58 14 3 1 28 30 33 13 .283 .372 .395


For complete scouting reports on the Top 20 Prospects in the New York-Penn League, subscribers can access our expanded coverage.

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