The Giants have been working out 17-year-old Angel Villalona at first base, and they are expected to keep him there when he opens the season at low Class A Augusta, according to Baseball America correspondent Andy Baggarly.
"I think I am better at first base," Villalona said through an interpreter. "I feel more comfortable at first base, and they put me there for a reason."
Signed as a third baseman for a team-record $2.1 million bonus out of the Dominican Republic in 2006, Villalona hit .285/.344/.450 in 200 at-bats in the Rookie-level Arizona League last year. Listed at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Villalona’s shift across the diamond seemed like only a matter of time for the No. 1 prospect in the Giants’ system.
He should be joined in a prospect-laden Augusta infield by 2007 supplemental first-rounders Nick Noonan and Charlie Culberson. Lefthander Madison Bumgarner and outfielder Wendell Fairley, both 2007 first-rounders, should also open at Augusta. Righthander Tim Alderson, the 22nd overall pick last year, could start the year at Augusta as well, although with his premium command the Giants may start the 19-year-old up at high Class A San Jose.