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Casey Kotchman, 1b
Seminole (Fla.) HS

Kotchman missed all of 2000 because of a stress fracture in his back that came from pitching. He still rated as the top high school position player entering the 2001 season, and while he didn't have a huge senior season, Minnesota catcher/quarterback Joe Mauer is the only hitter who has surpassed him. The son of Angels scout/minor league manager Tom Kotchman, Casey is as advanced as a high school hitter can be. His 40-2 walk-strikeout ratio (both whiffs were looking) speaks for itself. Scouts expect he'll have little trouble making the transition to wood and envision him as a Rafael Palmeiro type, capable of batting better than .300 with 40 homers while contending for Gold Gloves. With the loss of projected first-round picks Bryan Bass (ineligibility) and Dixon, Kotchman struggled early with the pressure of carrying the nation's No. 1 high school team before surging later in the spring. Having spent his summers with his father in pro ball, he's prepared for what awaits him. Kotchman never committed to a college

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