1. Andy LaRoche, 3b, Vero Beach
2. Justin Verlander, rhp, Lakeland
3. Lastings Milledge, of, St. Lucie
4. Jason Vargas, lhp, Jupiter
5. Matt Kemp, of, Vero Beach
6. Matt Moses, 3b, Fort Myers
7. Denard Span, of, Fort Myers
8. Justin Orenduff, rhp, Vero Beach
9. David Purcey, lhp, Dunedin
10. Jordan Tata, rhp, Lakeland
11. Tony Abreu, 2b, Vero Beach
12. Chin-Lung Hu, ss, Vero Beach
13. Adam Lind, of, Dunedin
14. Brent Clevlen, of, Lakeland
15. Scott Moore, 3b, Daytona
16. Adam Harben, rhp, Fort Myers
17. Chuck Tiffany, lhp, Vero Beach
18. Brian Dopirak, 1b, Daytona
19. Tim Moss, 2b, Clearwater
20. Philip Humber, rhp, St. Lucie
The Florida State League often leaves hitters gasping in the humid July air. Drives that would have been homers at Midwest and South Atlantic league parks turn into doubles, and doubles turn into outs, as hitters find the conditions nearly as tough as the high Class A pitching.
Compared to the California League, the FSL looks like 1968. It's a league with a .261 overall batting average and fewer than 100 home runs per team.
But while the FSL is still a pitcher's paradise, some top hitters did have their way in 2005. Vero Beach third baseman Andy LaRoche played his way out of the league before he could rewrite the record books. Instead, his departure allowed teammate Matt Kemp to break the Vero Beach single-season home run mark.
They were just a couple of the prospects on a stacked Vero Beach team that ran away with the first-half title. Lakeland also was bursting with prospects, including third baseman Kody Kirkland and outfielder Vince Blue, who just missed the Top 20.
While the pitching was a notch below last year, when the FSL boasted Chad Billingsley, Scott Kazmir, Scott Olsen, Francisco Liriano and Jon Papelbon among others, it still was impressive. Lakeland righthander Justin Verlander blew away hitters and managers with his electric stuff.