- Full name James Joseph D'Antona
- Born 05/12/1982 in Greenwich, CT
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 220 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Wake Forest
- Debut 07/22/2008
Drafted in the 2nd round (66th overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2003 (signed for $560,000).
View Draft ReportD'Antona had the opposite experience as Morton on the Cape last summer. He came in with a much bigger reputation and bombed, looking sloppy at the plate and at third base. Worse, he looked like he didn't care, turning off managers and scouts. He has rebounded this spring, setting Wake Forest's career home run record and winning Atlantic Coast Conference player-of-the-year honors. His power is legitimate, though his swing is a little long and he's a bit of a mistake hitter. He threw 94 mph off a mound during the Deacons' scouts day in the fall, but has such limited range that he might have to move from third to first base as a pro. A better use of his arm would be to put him behind the plate, but D'Antona has expressed no interest in catching.
Organization Prospect Rankings
D'Antona was the system's biggest disappointment in 2005. Wake Forest's career home run leader with 58, D'Antona had been grouped with Conor Jackson and Carlos Quentin as part of the "Three Amigos."Arizona's first three picks in the 2003 draft, they all produced in high Class A and were promoted together to Double-A in mid-2004. While Jackson and Quentin now are pushing for big league jobs, D'Antona has severely regressed. He has tremendous raw power and doesn't strike out much, but his overly long swing and pull-conscious approach left him behind most fastballs and exploitable on the inner half of the plate in 2005. Drafted as a third baseman, he has a plus-plus arm but is slow and clumsy in the field. He moved to first base in the final month of the season. D'Antona needs to makes adjustments in his approach, and will return to Double-A in an attempt to rediscover his power.
D'Antona broke Wake Forest's career home run record (58) and was the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year in 2003. He teamed with Carlos Quentin and Conor Jackson at Lancaster, but unlike his cohorts he didn't thrive after a promotion to Double-A, mainly because of an ailing shoulder. D'Antona has massive power and doesn't need to perfectly center the ball to hit it out of the park. Scouts still talk about the home run he hit into the restaurant above the left-field bleachers at Bank One Ballpark in a pre-draft workout. He has a plus-plus arm at third base, but projects as a first baseman because he has limited range and sloppy footwork. He's pull-happy and has holes in his swing, which can get a bit long. He needs to learn how to work counts better. He's a below-average runner. D'Antona's injury has put him a step behind Jackson and Quentin for now. He'll be separated from them when he begins 2005 by returning to Double-A.
D'Antona packs the best raw power in the system, and scouts don't have a problem projecting him as a 40-homer guy. He set Wake Forest's career home run mark (58) and was named Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year in 2003. The Diamondbacks thought he had more raw power than any player in the draft, and he tied for the Northwest League homer crown in his pro debut while ranking second to teammate Conor Jackson in RBIs. D'Antona's strength and bat speed are such that he doesn't need to hit the ball squarely to send it over the fence, and he shows that power to all fields. He sometimes gets into trouble by taking monstrous slow-pitch softball cuts. A shorter stroke could help bring up his average a bit, though D'Antona draws a decent number of walks and made adjustments after a slow start at the plate for Yakima. He also throws with great power, having hit 94 mph off the mound at a workout for scouts in college. His other third-base tools aren't as impressive, as he has limited range and his hands are just workable. There aren't any immediate plans to move D'Antona from third base, as he'll be adequate there if he can streamline his body, but first base could be his future destination. He will join 2003 first-rounders Jackson and Carlos Quentin in the heart of the high Class A batting order this year.
Minor League Top Prospects
The third of the "Three Amigos" on this list, D'Antona was in the running for the Cal League triple crown before the trio was promoted to Double-A, where shoulder problems limited him to just 19 more games. D'Antona has more power than either Quentin or Jackson, generating long-distance shots from gap to gap thanks to above-average bat speed. He lacks their patience, however, and his long swing leaves him susceptible to good fastballs. D'Antona makes the routine plays well and shows a plus arm at third base, but his poor footwork and below-average range have some predicting an eventual move to first base. He is a below-average runner.
D'Antona, the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, teamed with Jackson for a potent one-two punch in the Yakima lineup. He tied for the league lead with 15 home runs, showing the power to hit the ball out to all fields. He hit .226 through his first 40 games, leading some managers who saw him then to question his swing. But he made adjustments and batted .353 down the stretch to finish at .277. D'Antona projects to hit for more power but less average than Jackson. "D'Antona is a very strong kid who hits the ball out of the park easily no matter where he's playing," Kennedy said. "Those two are a shot in the arm for any lineup." He has the power to play first base if he has to move off third, where he's still raw. D'Antona shows the tools to become average at third base, especially with his arm, but must improve his hands and footwork.