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Baseball America's Daily Dish
Complete Daily Dish Archive

Compiled by Kevin Goldstein, Chris Kline and Matt Meyers
July 6, 2005

Third basemen Andy LaRoche and Scott Moore have plenty in common--both played shortstop as amateurs, both are big-time power threats, and both will be playing the hot corner for the U.S. in Sunday's Futures Game in Detroit.

While on paper LaRoche is the obvious choice to start the hot corner for the Americans after having an unbelievable offensive year, Moore's season has been more about a rebirth.

The Tigers' first-round pick in 2002 out of Cypress High in Long Beach, Calif., Moore was falling off the prospect map after hitting just .240 over three seasons in the system. Detroit apparently grew tired of Moore's lack of production and packaged him with outfielder Bo Flowers and righthander Roberto Novoa for righthander Kyle Farnsworth in February.

All Moore's done since then is make it look like the Tigers gave up on him too soon.

The 21-year-old third baseman is having a career year at high Class A Daytona, hitting .286/.358/.519 with 15 homers and 55 RBIs in 283 at-bats. He's even showing some savvy on the basepaths, with 15 steals--he had only five in three seasons with the Tigers.

"I don't see anything different really in his approach from last year, except maybe he's more relaxed, more mature," a veteran American League scout said. "When he was in Lakeland (in 2004), he was a little overwhelmed. You have to take into account how young he is and him playing in a pitcher's league. He didn't hit for average--he wasn't consistent in his approach--but he still hit for power. There is nothing different in his swing, but he's getting into better counts and being more selective.

"He's still the highly-touted bat he was coming out of high school, it's just taken him more time to get adjusted. If there's one thing I've seen differently between last year and now, it's improved patience. He'll still swing and miss a lot, but there is more consistency from at-bat to at-bat. Some guys don't perform miracles right from the start--and you have to remember that this year he'd just be finishing up his sophomore year in college."

LaRoche, on the other hand, has been a miracle-worker of sorts since the Dodgers signed him out of Grayson (Texas) Community College for $1 million in the 39th round of the 2003 draft. The Kansas native hit 23 homers in his first full season last year, split between low Class A Columbus and high Class A Vero Beach.

In a return trip to Vero this season, LaRoche hit .333-21-51 in 249 at-bats. That power has carried over to Double-A Jacksonville, where he's hit five homers in 65 at-bats with the Suns.

"Awesome raw power," the scout said. "He's pulls off a little too much, but his wrists are just so quick and strong. I must have seen six or seven of those home runs where he just flipped his wrists and they were gone. He's going to be a guy with huge impact potential. He strikes out a little bit, but he's shown that he's not just a pull hitter like he more or less was last year. He's hitting for average--something a lot of people never expected him to do."

Defensively, they are both works in progress. Both were drafted as shortstops and LaRoche's development is ahead of Moore's, simply because he moved to third in his first year as a pro. Moore moved to the corner last season, and readily admits that the transition has been anything but easy.

"It's been one of the toughest things I've had to do," Moore said. "It's been a real challenge. Most of my errors come from poor footwork, but I'm getting to the point where I'm getting my feet moving under me and getting better jumps, better reactions on balls."

Both might not ever be more than average defenders, but there is little doubt that either bat will play at the higher levels.

"They both have more than enough power for the position," a National League scout said. "They can roll it, and that's what's going to get them to the big leagues regardless of where they play. I think LaRoche is already average (defensively) with above-average range. Moore will take more time just based on how long he's been there. But they're both 21. There's no reason to rush either of them."

--CHRIS KLINE

DISH PIECES

There have been five more changes to the Futures Game rosters--and hopefully these will be the last moves before Sunday's game in Detroit. Braves righthander Anthony Lerew, Pirates third baseman Jose Bautista, Athletics outfielder Javier Herrera, Indians righthander Fausto Carmona and Orioles righthander James Johnson were named to the team yesterday. The five players replace Pirates lefthander Zach Duke (promotion to big leagues), Blue Jays third baseman John Hattig (disabled list with a pulled hamstring), Cubs outfielder Felix Pie (disabled list with sprained ankle), Indians righthander Fernando Cabrera (promotion to big leagues) and White Sox righthander Bobby Jenks (promotion to big leagues).

Indians righthander Adam Miller continues his return tour from an elbow injury that held him back in extended spring training through mid June. Miller, the Tribe's No. 1 prospect, will make his first start at high Class A Kinston tonight against Wilmington. In three rehab starts at short-season Mahoning Valley, Miller was only a shadow of his former self--allowing six earned runs in 11 innings with a 6-4 strikeout-walk ratio. New York-Penn League opponents were hitting .405 against him.

After starting the season on fire, Matt Cain struggled for much of May and June, but the Giants righthander is recapturing his early season form. The 20-year-old struck out nine over seven innings last night while allowing two runs and has now allowed three runs over 13 innings in his last two starts while fanning 15 and walking four. On the season, he is 5-4, 3.84 for Triple-A Fresno with 106-to-49 strikeout-walk ratio in 94 innings.

Yankees outfielder Melky Cabrera has responded to his promotion to Triple-A Columbus. The 20-year-old Dominican has 11 hits in 32 at-bats (.344) with the Clippers after batting just .267-9-44 in 303 at-bats at Double-A Trenton. He went 3-for-6 with four RBIs in a 12-5 win against Richmond last night, and will be the lone representative of the Yankees in this week's Futures Game.

After spending a month in the majors, Orioles righthander Hayden Penn returned to Double-A Bowie last night. Penn, who went 2-2, 6.75 with a 14-19 strikeout walk ratio in 33 big league innings, allowed three earned runs on five hits in six innings of a 5-4 win against Harrisburg. On the season, Penn is 3-3, 3.27 with 63 strikeouts and 17 walks in 55 innings for the Bay Sox.

Double-A Portland lefthander Jon Lester was brilliant in a 5-0 win against Trenton yesterday. Lester, the Red Sox second-round pick in 2002, scattered five hits over seven shutout innings, striking out 12. On the season, Lester is now 6-2, 2.56 with 101 strikeouts in 91 innings.

Speaking of brilliant, Indians righthander Dan Denham put on a similar display in Double-A Akron's 8-0 shutout of Reading last night. Denham, a first-rounder in 2001 out of Deer Valley High in Antioch, Calif., allowed six hits over six shutout innings, struck out 10 and did not issue a walk. Denham is now 6-6, 3.63 in 104 innings.

Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew and Angels righthander Jered Weaver, the two high-profile holdouts from the 2004 draft, both enjoyed their best days as pros last night in the California League. Drew hit a pair of home runs and drove in four but it wasn't enough as high Class A Lancaster lost 5-4 in 11 innings to Lake Elsinore. Weaver meanwhile picked up his first pro win, allowing just two unearned runs on five innings, striking out seven in Rancho Cucamonga's 7-6 win over Bakersfield. In 51 at-bats, Drew is hitting .373/.467/.824 with five home runs, 18 runs scored and 16 RBIs, while Weaver is 1-1, 6.28 with 20 strikeouts in 14 innings.

Rockies catcher Chris Ianetta, a 2004 fourth-round pick out of North Carolina has been on a RBI binge of late, going 2-for-3 with two doubles and a pair of RBIs last night as high Class A Modesto topped Visalia 7-4. Ianetta, who has 13 RBIs in his last six games, is batting .298-9-51 on the season in 215 at-bats.

After making a run at the Midwest League home run record last year, Cubs first baseman Brian Dopirak has had problems repeating that success in the Florida State League. Dopirak hit his eighth home run of the year last night in high Class A Daytona's 8-1 win over Brevard County, but has just two home runs in his last 42 games. On the season, Dopirak is batting a disappointing .248/.297/.370 in 303 at-bats.

Devil Rays lefthander Jacob McGee, a 2004 fifth-round pick, fired six no-hit innings last night in the New York-Penn League, as short-season Hudson Valley dropped a 2-1 decision to Staten Island. McGee, 19, walked two and struck out nine.

Jeff Corsaletti has seamlessly gone from the College World Series to professional baseball. After helping Florida reach the CWS final, the Red Sox sixth-round pick has hit safely in each of his first four pro games for low Class A Greenville. The centerfielder was 2-for-4 last night with his first professional home run.

The Diamondbacks' Rookie-level Pioneer League affiliate lost 11 of its first 13 games, but got a pair of four-hit efforts in last night's 14-3 win over Billings. Missoula left fielder Osvaldo Diaz, 22, went 4-for-4 to raise his average to .357 (15-for-42). First baseman Will Crouch, 22, also went 4-for-4, including his first home run and five RBIs. Twenty-year-old righthander Ramon Sanchez struck out six and allowed an earned run off five hits over seven innings to earn the win. Righthander Sam LeCure made his professional debut for Billings, striking out two and surrendering a hit in 1 1/3 innings. LeCure was drafted in the fourth round by the Reds this year after missing all of his junior season because of an academic issue at Texas.

Nationals first baseman Larry Broadway doubled twice and had three hits in his third rehab game in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Broadway is recovering from a knee injury that has kept him out since late April. He was batting .193 (11-for-57) at Triple-A New Orleans prior to the injury.

Luis Gil's conversion from middle infielder to the mound took a positive step yesterday, as the 21-year-old righthander racked up nine strikeouts without a walk in six innings for the Tigers' GCL team. Gil batted .203-1-48 in three seasons between the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League and high Class A Lakeland before moving to the mound this year.

Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders signed for $237,500 as a draft-and-follow, and the Canadian is starting to come around for short-season Everett. Playing center field, Saunders went 2-for-3 with three RBIs Tuesday in a 7-1 win at Boise to improve to .261-1-8. He struck out at least once in his first 10 games but hasn't whiffed in two games (driving in six runs in the process); he's also built a five-game hitting streak.

Contributing: John Manuel, Alan Matthews.

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