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Quentin had a storied amateur career. As a three-sport star at University of San Diego High--also Mark Prior's alma mater--he set school records for homers and RBIs; was his league's defensive player of the year in football; and was a member of a state champion basketball team. He hit a three-run homer in his first career at-bat at Stanford, where he was the Pacific-10 Conference freshman of the year in 2001 and an all-league selection in each of his three seasons. He led the Cardinal to a final four appearance at the College World Series each year. Though they knew impending Tommy John surgery would delay his pro debut until the following season, the Diamondbacks grabbed Quentin with the second of their two first-round picks in 2003 and signed him for $1.1 million. He was initially rusty when he returned to the diamond, hitting just .150 in his first 10 games at high Class A Lancaster. He hit .350 the rest of the year, which included a midseason promotion to Double-A El Paso. Quentin finished fifth in the minors with a .435 on-base percentage and set what is believed to be a minor league record by getting hit by 43 pitches. Everything about Quentin's game screams prototypical right fielder, as his tools grade out average or above across the board. He's a strong yet graceful athlete with good bat speed and a smooth swing. He makes excellent contact with power to all fields, and projects as a .280-.300 hitter with 25-plus home run power. He has a mature approach at the plate and recognizes which pitches he can drive. An excellent defender, Quentin gets good jumps and has above-average range. His accurate arm already bounced back to a tick above average just 18 months removed from surgery. He displays tremendous baseball instincts, and Arizona loves his leadership and his bulldog mentality, which was made clear at Stanford when he played his entire junior season with the injured elbow. Quentin's biggest strength is his lack of any glaring weakness. He sets up on top of the plate and his swing brings much of his torso over the plate, which is why he gets plunked so often. Some scouts think this will make him susceptible to getting busted inside with good fastballs, but he has yet to have that problem. He could become more patient at the plate, but his aggressive approach has done wonders so far. He hit lefthanders well in his pro debut, but rarely for power, and can be susceptible to outside breaking balls. Both of his minor league stops were hitter-friendly environments, so his 2004 numbers may be inflated. The Diamondbacks believe Quentin could succeed in the majors right now, but they'll probably play it safe and start him at Triple-A Tucson in 2005. If Luis Gonzalez can't return from his own Tommy John surgery by Opening Day, Arizona fans might get an early preview of Quentin's skills. He's almost assured of making his major league debut in 2005 and assuming a starting job in 2006.
Jackson's power and patience made him one of the most desirable college hitters in the 2003 draft, and he has shown why so far in his brief pro career. He set a short-season Northwest League record with 35 doubles in just 68 games during his pro debut. He followed Carlos Quentin's path in 2004, splitting the season between high Class A and Double-A while producing every step of the way. Jackson is one of the best pure hitters in the minors. He has above-average bat speed and makes sharp contact to all fields. He rarely swings at bad pitches and rarely misses good ones. The Diamondbacks have worked on straightening his stance in order to produce more power, and he responded by tying for the Arizona Fall League lead with eight homers. Jackson's bat will be good enough for any position, good news considering his defensive skills. Primarily a third baseman in college, he has been disappointing as a pro left fielder. His below-average speed is only complicated by poor instincts and routes, and his arm is lacking. Like Quentin, Jackson will begin the season at Triple-A with the hope that he'll be ready for full-time duty in 2006. He eventually may have to move to first base.
Santos first popped up on scouts' radar as a high school sophomore, but a disappointing senior season seemingly dropped him out of the first round. The Diamondbacks bucked the consensus by taking him 27th overall based on his track record, and they've looked smart for doing so. He reached Double-A at age 20 and was having a solid season until it was ended by surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. Santos' profile is that of the new breed of shortstop--big, strong and athletic. His pure bat speed is among the best in the system, and he has shown some aptitude for driving the ball. He makes the plays he gets to at shortstop and has one of the better infield arms among Arizona farmhands. He's an average runner. While Santos seems certain to hit, his long-term position remains in question. He may outgrow shortstop and his range probably fits better at third base anyway. His power and arm still profile well for the hot corner. An aggressive hitter, he needs to draw more walks. Santos' shoulder has bothered him throughout his pro career and the Diamondbacks believe it has held him back offensively and defensively. They believe he's on the verge of a breakout and have no intention of moving him off shortstop at this time. He could be their big league starter at short in 2006.
The Diamondbacks targeted pitching for the second round of the 2004 draft, but with Zeringue still on the board they couldn't pass him up. After signing for $630,000, he obliterated high Class A pitching and kept mashing in the postseason, hitting .447 with 12 RBIs in nine games. Zeringue's quick, compact swing generates hard line drives and good power from gap to gap. Surprisingly athletic for his size, he has solid speed and baserunning aptitude. His arm is strong and accurate. Zeringue needs to become more disciplined at the plate. He's a mistake hitter and guesses on most pitches, leaving him behind fastballs or chasing breaking pitches. Despite his right-field arm, his routes and instincts may be better suited for left. His swing lacks loft, so his power upside is limited. Despite Arizona's depth on the outfield corners, Zeringue could move quickly. He'll begin his first full season at the organization's new Double-A Tennessee affiliate.
Originally signed as a shortstop, Aquino became a pitcher in 1999 after batting .156 in low Class A. His power arsenal led to a full-time move to the bullpen last year, and an emergency callup to Arizona despite struggling in Triple-A. He converted his first 10 save opportunities in the majors. When everything is clicking for Aquino, he's nearly unhittable. He throws a mid-90s fastball and has touched triple digits, but gets far better movement and location when he dials his heater down. His low-80s slider has gone from unreliable to a plus pitch featuring two-plane break. Aquino can still be inconsistent, particularly with his command. He needs to learn how to set hitters up, as opposed to simply trying to blow them away. The Diamondbacks were so bad last year that he has yet to close a meaningful big league game. Aquino's performance was one of Arizona's few pleasant developments in the majors last year. He enters 2005 as the team's closer.
Snyder was already on the fast track entering 2004, when his timetable was moved up quite a bit. Following the trade of Brent Mayne and an injury to Koyie Hill, Snyder became Arizona's starting catcher for the final part of the season. He hit five homers in his first 14 big league games. Snyder has value both at the plate and behind it. He's a big, strong catcher with plus power and an advanced understanding of the strike zone. He's also a solid receiver with good actions and a strong arm. He has good instincts and natural leadership tendencies, with Randy Johnson praising him for his ability to call a game. Whether Snyder develops into a frontline catcher depends on his ability to hit for average. His long swing leads to plenty of strikeouts. He's a well below-average runner. The Diamondbacks don't want to enter 2005 with a pair of rookie backstops. Snyder will battle Hill for the starting job in spring training, with the loser heading to Triple-A.
Kroeger turned down a football scholarship from NCAA Division II Truman State (Mo.) as a wide receiver to sign with the Diamondbacks, and he was raw as a baseball player. He started to figure the game out in 2003 and took another step forward last year, when he tied for the minor league lead with 51 doubles. Kroeger is a natural hitter with a smooth, level swing and good power. He's adept at driving the ball in the gaps. He has the arm for right field and the slightly above-average speed to play center in a pinch. His overly aggressive approach was exploited in his big league debut, as he struck out 21 times and drew just one walk in 55 plate appearances. He already has lost a step from his high school days and may continue to slow down. His effort has come into question at times. Kroeger proved in September that he's not ready to hit big league pitching. Set to return to Triple-A, he could get buried by Arizona's outfield depth.
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.
He began last year as Adriano Rosario, 18-year-old phenom. He ended it as Ramon Pena, a 23-year-old who had falsified his visa information. The Diamondbacks weren't blamed, and they also were cleared of any wrongdoing when it came to light that independent talent developer Ivan Noboa (whose brother Junior coordinates Arizona's scouting in Latin America) double-dipped, collecting $100,000 from the team as well. as $100,000 from Pena's $400,000 bonus. He may be much older than originally thought, but Pena still has the best pure stuff in the system. He effortlessly commands a 92-94 mph fastball that he can dial up to 97-98 to blow batters away or dial down to 88-91 to add movement. His slider has developed into a solid offering. The two-pitch combination is enough to make him a closer if he has to move to the bullpen. Pena needs to add deception to his changeup in order to remain a starter. He favors overpowering hitters as opposed to setting them up. With his true age revealed, he has gone from advanced to raw for his age. While he looked rusty in the Dominican League, his primary focus was on resolving his legal problems. Granted a visa in January, he'll begin the season by returning to Double-A.
Chico's entry into pro baseball had more that its share of detours. Selected by the Red Sox in the second round out of high school, Chico turned down nearly $700,000. By his sophomore year, he had flunked out of Southern California and junior college, reducing him to pitching in a San Diego semipro league in 2003. The Diamondbacks signed him for $365,000 that June. Chico blew away low Class A hitters last year, using a low-90s fastball with good movement. His curveball features late, sharp, downward break and his changeup should become an average offering. Arizona praises his work ethic and bulldog mentality. Chico is a little short, so his pitches lack downward plane. While he spins his curveball well, he has problems throwing strikes with it. He has little confidence in his secondary pitches and sometimes tries to rely solely on his heater. Chico's shortcomings were more evident in Double-A, but he finished strong. He'll return there in 2005, working toward reaching his ceiling as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
Mock was in line to be a first-round pick after a strong showing in the Cape Cod League before his junior year at Houston, but a broken ankle derailed him. He didn't allow a run in his first four professional outings, and more than held his own after a promotion to low Class A. Mock has a prototypical pitcher's body and unleashes a heavy 91-94 mph fastball with plenty of sink that can touch 97. He throws a big downward breaking ball and the Diamondbacks love his never say die attitude, as evidenced by the month he pitched at Houston with the broken ankle. Mock has trouble keeping his curveball in the strike zone, and his changeup is still well below his other offerings. Mock can be a bit of a perfectionist at times, trying too hard to make the perfect pitch as opposed to letting his stuff simply work for him. He'll begin the year on one of the two Arizona class A affiliates.
Hill looked like the Dodgers' catcher of the future after they dealt Paul Lo Duca to the Marlins, but that lasted less than 24 hours as he was shipped to Arizona in the deal that netted Steve Finley. Placed immediately into Arizona's starting lineup, Hill hit his first major league home run off Pittsburgh's Jose Mesa, but his stint lasted just 13 games when he broke his ankle in a home-plate collision. A switch-hitter with a contact-oriented approach, Hill's power took a major step forward in 2004, as he passed his previous career-high in home runs by mid-July. An infielder in high school and college, Hill was converted to catcher after being drafted and his defense still lags behind. He has a strong arm, but is easy to run on because it takes too long for him to get rid of the ball. He could use a more patient approach at the plate, especially as he begins to look for more pitches to drive. Hill's ankle is expected to be fine for spring training and he will battle Chris Snyder for the starting catcher's job.
Bruney had three stints with the Diamondback in 2004, with mixed results. While he was able to keep the ball off opposing hitters' bats, he also had trouble throwing strikes. He gained confidence as the season wore on, and allowed just four hits and one run in his final 10 appearances. Bruney is all about velocity. He gets a lot of leverage behind his 92-94 mph fastball, and can touch 96. An inability to find a second pitch has been Bruney's bugaboo throughout his career. At times he throws a curve, at times he throws a slider, and at times he throws a slurvy combination of the two. None of them have enough break to fool hitters, and he has problems commanding them as well. Bruney's motion is a little violent, and he tends to short-arm the ball. He has been passed by Greg Aquino for the major league closer job, but Bruney still projects as a major league set-up man, a role he'll ease into in 2005.
Nippert entered the 2004 season as the No. 3 prospect in the system. He began the year in Double-A, but wasn't nearly as dominant as many expected, which was explained when he went down with an elbow injury in June and underwent Tommy John surgery. When healthy, Nippert offers two plus-plus pitches. His long physique allows him to throw his low 90s fastball with an incredible downward plane, and his curveball is a hard 12-to-6 breaker. He has very good command and surprisingly consistent mechanics, considering his size. His changeup has made great strides since signing and projects as an average pitch. Nippert needs to gain more confidence in his offspeed pitches, and not try to get by solely on his heater. The track record for Tommy John surgery survivors gets better with each season, so Arizona feels he can come back strong. His rehab is going as scheduled, and he'll look to return to the mound at some point in the second half of 2005.
Gonzalez lingered in the system for five years and was seen as little more than an extra arm entering the 2004 season, which he begin in the high Class A bullpen. Pressed into a starting role in June, Gonzalez exploded, going 10-2, 2.46 in 17 starts. Gonzalez lives off his fastball, but it's a dominant pitch. He's a strike thrower who delivers easy 92-95 mph gas, and has touched 98. His stamina was one of the biggest surprises in his sudden success, as he hit 96 mph on his 104th pitch in one outing. He's a good athlete who fields his position well. He throws both a curve and a slider, but most feel the slider is the pitch he could stick with by increasing its tilt and velocity. His changeup is an average pitch, but he knows how to use it in the right situation. Gonzalez' short stature is a concern, and many still think he'll end up as a swingman or long reliever despite his success in the rotation. He'll begin the year in Double-A, looking to prove that his second half in 2004 was for real.
After a strong pro debut in 2002 and a miserable 2003, Gosling had mixed results in 2004. He got of to a slow start in Triple-A as he returned from offseason arthroscopic shoulder surgery, but his velocity slowly returned and he earned his first big league promotion after going 5-1 in his final six starts. He got his first major league win with five-plus strong innings against St. Louis, but was otherwise ordinary. Gosling has solid stuff and throws strikes with a low 90s fastball, as well as a cutter and curve. His plus change is his most consistent out pitch. He's been described as a 'tweener, without enough command or break on his pitches to be a finesse pitcher, or enough pure velocity to be a power pitcher. His delivery is a bit clumsy, leading to concerns about future injury problems. He'll enter spring training as the favorite to win the fifth starter job over recently acquired lefty Brad Halsey.
Bulger was primarily an infielder at Division II Valdosta State, but he doubled as the team's closer in his senior year and opened scouts' eyes when he pumped mid-90s heat. He was a surprise first-round pick in 2001, and looked like a bust after ineffectiveness as a starter and 2003 Tommy John surgery. He returned to the bullpen in 2004 and took off. Bulger worked hard in his rehab and came back throwing harder than ever. His sinking fastball features great life and sits at 94-96 mph, and he can reach back and dial it up to 98. He throws a power curve for strikes, and the changeup he learned as a starter serves him well as a show-me pitch in the pen. Bulger is still raw despite being 26. He's inconsistent with his release point, which leads to command problems and a tendency to overthrow. Bulger was added to the 40-man roster, and the Diamondbacks believe he'll move quickly now. He'll begin the year as the closer in Triple-A, but should see the majors by September at the latest.
While Murphy has yet to reach the major leagues himself, he has already been involved in three trades for major leaguers. Originally drafted by Oakland, Murphy was seen as one of the top lefthanders in their system before being traded to the Marlins for Mark Redman. At the 2004 trade deadline, he was the only minor leaguer in a six-player deal between the Dodgers and Marlins, and the Dodgers sent him to Arizona a day later in the Steve Finley deal. His 88-91 mph fastball has good life and his curveball is a big breaker, but he has problems controlling them. His changeup is solid-average. Murphy's overall game took a step back in 2004, particularly his command. He needs to trust his pitches more, and spend less time trying to paint the corners. For the third straight year, Murphy ran out of gas toward the end of the year, raising more questions about his stamina. He'll begin the year in the rotation at Triple-A, where he will need to take a step forward to earn a big league call.
The Diamondbacks felt Gonzalez was ready for a full-season league in 2004 despite being just 18, but he lasted just two weeks before a broken hand sidelined him for nearly two months. When he got healthy he reported to short-season Yakima, where he homered in five of his first 11 games. Gonzalez's raw package of tools gives plenty of reason for excitement. He's a good hitter with a natural uppercut who projects for power down the road. He's a solid runner with good range and easily has the best arm in the system. He threw 92 mph off the mound as an amateur and throws strikes from the outfield as well, having already amassed 20 outfield assists as a pro. Gonzalez, like most teenagers, is rough around the edges. He needs to develop patience at the plate, and refine his approach against lefthanded pitchers. The Diamondbacks believe Gonzalez has all-star potential, but he's far from reaching it. Arizona has no reason to rush him, and he'll get another shot at low Class A in 2005.
Ohlendorf raised his status before the draft by pitching into the ninth inning against Virginia in Princeton's first regional win since 2000. Huge and intimidating on the mound, Ohlendorf rears back and fires a 94-96 mph fastball that can touch 98 and features good sink and movement. He's aggressive in his approach and not afraid to pitch inside. Ohlendorf's secondary offerings are both well behind his heater. His slider lacks break and his change lacks deception, while his command is spotty. Highly intelligent, Ohlendorf can be his own worst enemy, analyzing everything he does on the mound and tinkering too often with his delivery, which is already violent. The Diamondbacks see Ohlendorf as a high risk/high reward pitcher who will take time to develop. His lack of a full arsenal leaves him most likely ending up as a power reliever, but he for the immediate future, he needs innings to develop. Ohlendorf will begin the year in the low Class A rotation.
Williams was better known for his exploits on the gridiron in high school, drawing attention from national powerhouses Florida and Florida State as a wide receiver. The Diamondbacks did their homework however, and signed him as a draft-and-follow in 2002. His game-breaking speed was once again on display in 2004 as he led the Double-A Texas League in triples while finishing second in stolen bases, but he made little progress in the other aspects of his game. Williams is not only the fastest player in the system, he's the fastest in the history of the organization, having run sub-6.3 60s in spring workouts. He knows how to use his speed in game situations, covering a remarkable amount of ground in centerfield while achieving at an 88 percent success rate as a base stealer. At the plate, Williams needs to learn how to be an effective leadoff man, including improving his patience at the plate. He has just enough power to make him dangerous, and needs to focus more on contact and putting the ball on the ground to beat out infield singles. Williams' 2005 assignment will depend on how much progress he makes in spring training playing the little man's game.
The signing of Troy Glaus and the move of Chad Tracy across the diamond to first base left arbitration-eligible Shea Hillenbrand the odd man out, and the Diamondbacks shipped him to Toronto for Peterson, the first draftee during the J.P. Ricciardi era to reach the big leagues. Peterson had a dominant first half for Double-A New Hampshire, but he got shelled in three games for Toronto and it seemed to sap Peterson's confidence, as he only regressed at Triple-A Syracuse when sent down. Peterson does have big-time stuff however. He uses a maximum-effort delivery, but he has a quick arm and generates upper-90s heat with good tailing action. He shows a nasty slider and a straight change with some sink. Improved command is his No. 1 priority for getting back on track. Peterson will compete for a job in a crowded Arizona bullpen, but an opening assignment to Triple-A Tuscon to find the stuff that got him to the big leagues in the first place is the most likely scenario.
Ball has made slow and steady progress through the system, and that continued in 2004 as he put up career-highs in numerous categories, with his 15 home runs more than tripling his previous best. Ball does many things well, hitting for a decent average with some power. An above average runner who can steal bases and play all three outfield positions, Ball is a gamer who consistently outplays his skills. Scouts have trouble warming up to Ball, as he lacks any single outstanding tool to project him as more that a fourth outfielder. He needs to be more selective at the plate and is prone to chasing breaking balls, which has led to lofty strikeout totals. His arm is average at best and his poor routes in the outfield leave some feeling he'll be relegated to a corner. The Diamondbacks have always seen Ball as a one-level-at-a-time player, and that will continue at Double-A in 2005.
When the Diamondbacks drafted Avlas in 2001, they intended to sign him as a draft-and-follow but he signed in late August and got a head start on his pro career. Seen as more of an organizational player entering the season, Avlas took a tremendous step forward with the bat in 2004 to establish him as a legitimate prospect. Avlas makes good contact and added power to his game in high Class A, slugging 13 home runs after entering the season with just one career home run as a pro. He's athletic behind the plate and while his arm has average strength, his remarkably quick release and accuracy make him effective against the running game. He has an excellent feel for the game and pitchers love throwing to him. Avlas doesn't offer much more in terms of power projection, and his slight build leaves doubts as to his ability to handle the every day grind of the position. He'll face a big test in Double-A in 2005.
Shappi was a true student-athlete at UC Riverside, serving as the team's ace while also being a Rhodes scholarship candidate as a chemistry major. His lack of velocity dropped him in the eyes of many scouts, but he was lights-out in his pro debut, finishing second in the Northwest League in ERA. Shappi's pitches are all evaluated at a full grade higher based on his exquisite control. His fastball sits at 86-89 mph and has plenty of sink. His best pitch is his slider, which features plenty of late break, and he's shown good aptitude with a circle changeup. Shappi's game offers little projection, and he needs to find an effective way to combat left-handed batters, who hit .309 against him. Shappi finally faced some adversity in the high Class A California League playoffs, where he gave up 12 runs in eight innings, including three home runs. He'll likely return there in 2005.
Carter was one of Stanford's top recruits in 2001 and was named the team's Most Valuable Freshman after hitting .375 in the NCAA postseason. A shoulder injury hampered him in 2002 and his poor sophomore showing and lack of defensive skills dropped him out of favor with the Cardinal, limiting him to DH duties as a junior. The Diamondbacks feel they got one of the best values of the draft in Carter, who led the Northwest League in slugging and RBIs in his pro debut. Carter has jaw-dropping power from the left side, eliciting gasps in batting practice while launching 500-plus foot shots when he turns on a ball. He has an advanced feel for the strike zone and draws a good number of walks. His bat will have to be his ticket to the majors as Carter has yet to show any aptitude defensively. He was a designated hitter in nearly half of his starts in his debut, an option unavailable to the Diamondbacks at Double-A and above. He has only one thought when he swings the bat-- he's either going to hit the ball very hard, or miss it entirely. Carter has already proved completely incapable of playing left, and will move to first base in 2005, where he also has struggled. He could put up some big numbers in high Class A, where he'll begin the year.
The Dodgers had two of the more athletic outfielders in the minors in Reggie Abercrombie and Milons, but both are Diamondbacks now, with Abercrombie coming over in the Steve Finley deal and Milons arriving in mid-August for righty Elmer Dessens. Milons comes from an athletic family, with all six siblings participating in college athletics, including older brother Freddie, who is Alabama football's all-time receptions leader. Milons is a wonderful athlete who would be the fastest runner in most organizations. He has a fluid swing with some power potential and made small strides in making more contact in 2004. He has good range in center and an average arm. Milons is still extremely raw offensively, and tries too hard to be a power hitter with some speed instead of his ideal slot as a leadoff man with some pop. His swing can get long when he gets pull conscious, and he needs to learn more patience at the plate. Milons still needs to learn the game, and the Diamondbacks will start him back in low A for 2005.
Halsey reached the majors less than two years after signing his first pro contract, and went over to the Diamondbacks in the Randy Johnson deal. The No. 1 starter for Texas' 2002 College World Series championship team and one of four Longhorns drafted by New York in 2002, Halsey has proven the best of the bunch. He made seven big league starts last season, beating the Dodgers in his debut and turning in solid outings against the Red Sox and Blue Jays. He's a strike-thrower with an 87-90 mph fastball, a slider (his best pitch) and a changeup. However, none of them is a knockout pitch and Halsey usually is around the plate too much. He lacks the stuff to challenge good big league hitters on a consistent basis. He'll compete with Mike Gosling for the final rotation slot in spring training, but is most likely destined for Triple-A . His slider is good enough that he could help as a situational lefty out of the bullpen, filling an organizational weakness.
Drafted as a senior after he declined to sign with the Astros following his junior season, Cormier was one of many emergency replacements who received a rough introduction to the majors in 2004. He earned his first big league win with six-plus solid innings against the Astros in late July, but was hammered for 12 runs in his next two starts and continued to get hit hard following a demotion to the bullpen. Cormier certainly doesn't project as a star, but he has enough stuff to be a serviceable major league pitcher. His fastball sits in the high 80s, but he has excellent command of it, as well as his curveball and plus changeup. He gave major league hitters too much credit when he reached Arizona, and lost his aggressiveness. Without a real out pitch, his future might be best as a swingman or long reliever. He'll begin 2005 looking to build back some confidence at Triple-A.
Abercrombie's tools have had scouts on him for years, but a lack of production and a 2003 knee injury have dimmed his star greatly. While he made an early return from ACL surgery in May, Abercrombie was completely lost against Double-A pitching and found himself back in the Florida State League before being shipped by the Dodgers to Arizona in the Steve Finley deal. The Diamondbacks shortened his swing in high Class A and elicited good results, but all of the other problems in his game remained. Abercrombie's athletic ability is without fault. He's a plus runner with an above-average arm and raw power. His approach at the plate is as unbridles as it gets, and it's actually gotten worse over the past two seasons, as he's struck out 287 times while drawing just 28 walks in 220 games. Abercrombie will turn 25 in June, and it's time for him to start turning his unquestioned potential into results. He'll get another shot at Double-A in what could be a make or break season.