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South Atlantic League Top 20 Prospects

By Bill Ballew
September 24, 2002

1. Gavin Floyd, rhp, Lakewood BlueClaws (Phillies)
The Phillies wanted Floyd, the fourth overall pick in the 2001 draft, to focus on throwing his fastball for strikes this season. He responded to the challenge, shown by his no-hitter against Lexington on July 24, when he threw 79 fastballs among his 97 pitches. He also showed his durability by ranking fourth in the league in innings.

Floyd, however, is more than a durable fastball pitcher. While his plus heater sits in the 94-96 mph range, his best pitch is a sharp-breaking curveball that buckles hitters' knees. His changeup is nothing less than an average major league offering and improving. Managers loved his smooth mechanics and effortless delivery, which allow him to work both sides of the plate with pinpoint control.

"His makeup for a teenager is the best I have ever seen," Manto said. "Most kids his age are just trying to fit in, but Gavin has a unique intangible that lets him to know what it takes to succeed. He knew how to budget his time with his workouts, studied hitters, did everything he could to understand why certain things were done the way they were. Then you add his ability to throw the ball, and he's as polished as any kid you'll see."

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