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Pacific Coast League Top 20 Prospects

By Jim Callis
September 27, 2002

1. Jesse Foppert, rhp, Fresno Grizzlies (Giants)
The question isn't how Foppert became the minors' best mound prospect two years after becoming a full-time pitcher. That answer is apparent to everyone who saw him pitch this year. But how did this guy last 74 picks in the 2000 draft?

Foppert reached Triple-A 12 months after signing and led the minors with 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings in his first full season. He got whiffs with three pitches: a mid-90s fastball that can reach 97 mph, a quick slider that runs down and in on righthanders, and a splitter that hitters couldn't help but chase out of the strike zone.

"He misses bats," an American League scout said. "Guys swing through his fastball and don't touch it."

Extremely athletic, Foppert has smooth mechanics to go with outstanding mound presence. He sharpened his slider in Fresno but still can improve his secondary pitches, which also include a changeup. He'll also need to refine his command and get stronger after averaging less than six innings per start and fading in August.

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