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Lots Of Upside

KANSAS CITY–It is easy to ignore Ruben Gotay’s tools. He is 5-foot-11, 160 pounds and is not fast.

It is not easy, however, to discount Gotay’s offense. He was hitting .297-2-24 with a .392 on-base percentage in his first 138 at-bats with high Class A Wilmington. He was among the Carolina League leaders with 11 doubles and 13 extra-base hits.

"He has a lot of upside with his bat," Wilmington manager Billy Gardner said. "He’s a guy with a nice compact swing and is able to turn a fastball around. He’s done a good job offensively for us. We have him hitting in the middle of the lineup, hitting third."

Gotay, a 20-year-old from Puerto Rico, was a 31st-round pick in 2001 who signed as a draft-and-follow after his sophomore year at Indian Hills (Iowa) Junior College.

In his first pro season, his .315 average ranked sixth in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Last season, Gotay hit .285-9-83 with low Class A Burlington and was named to the Midwest League all-star team. He led the league with 60 extra-base hits and 42 doubles, which set a Burlington record. He also led Burlington with 87 runs, 73 walks and 83 RBIs. Gotay, a switch-hitter, did most of his damage lefthanded last season, batting .313 with eight home runs from the left against .222 and one home run from the right.

"I just step up to the plate and don’t try to chase bad pitches," Gotay said. "I try to wait on the pitches I like. I’m a line-drive hitter. I can hit home runs, but I’m not a home run hitter."

Gotay played winter ball in Puerto Rico and hit .180-2-8 with a .316 on-base percentage in 28 games with Carolina. While facing higher-level pitchers for the first time, Gotay demonstrated his patience with a 13-to-11 walk-to-strikeout ratio.

Gotay has improved significantly at second base since signing, but he’s still not as smooth as Carlos Febles, the big league second baseman he may someday replace.


• Lefthander Mike Stodolka, the fourth overall pick in the 2000 draft, was placed on the Wilmington disabled list with a left forearm strain. Blue Rocks outfielder James Shanks broke his left ring finger sliding into a base and likely is out until June.

• The Royals signed Jed Hansen, their 1994 second-round pick, to a Triple-A Omaha contract after the Cardinals released him.

• Previous organization report: Kyle Snyder

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