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2005 Top 20 Prospects: Florida State LeagueComplete Index of League Top 20s
By J.J. Cooper
Subscribers can access scouting reports on all twenty players. (How to subscribe)
Chat Wrap: J.J. Cooper took your Florida State League questions
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.Subscribers can access scouting reports on all twenty players. (How to subscribe)