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2003 Award Winners

By Josh Boyd
Last Updated November 13, 2003

While Baseball America has already selected our own postseason major league awards (rookie: Brandon Webb; player of the year: Barry Bonds), we also anxiously await the baseball writer's choices this time of year. And as Major League Baseball announces the 2003 winners this week, we'll follow along by digging into our archives to provide a glimpse at their respective scouting reports and how we ranked them as minor league prospects.

2003 National League Most Valuable Player
Barry Bonds, of, San Francisco Giants

Baseball America History
1986, No. 1 in Pirates Top 10

Here is an excerpt from Bonds' 1986 scouting report:

"The sixth player chosen in last June's draft, there's no question about his talent. On skills alone, he probably would have been the first player taken, but some teams were scared off by what one scout described as a "Mel Hall mentality--talk, talk, talk, me, me, me." The Pirates prefer to call it a healthy confidence.

"Bonds had no trouble adjusting to a wooden bat at Prince William (.299-13-37 with 15 steals) and he also showed more consistent power than he had at Arizona State. His announced goal of following in the footsteps of his father, Bobby, as a 30-30 player in the big leagues may not be out of the question, although he's more of a runner than a basestealer.

"He's instinctive in center field and can cover the alleys, but his arm may keep him in left. "The early reports on his play in Venezuela this winter were so good the Pirates were beginning to have ideas about him possibly jumping to the (big leagues) in the spring."

2003 American League Most Valuable Player
Alex Rodriguez, ss, Texas Rangers

Baseball America History
1994, No. 1 in Mariners Top 10
1995, No. 1 in Mariners Top 10

Here is an excerpt from Rodriguez' scouting report in January 1995:

"Drafted first overall in 1993, Rodriguez and agent Scott Boras waged a long, contentious and highly publicized battle with the Mariners during negotiations. The parties finally struck an 11th-hour deal where the Mariners gave Rodriguez a $1 million bonus and a major league contract.

"Despite missing his first year, Rodriguez adapted so well to the professional game that he spent only a half-season in the minors. By July he was in Seattle, where he became the first 18-year-old since Robin Young in 1974 to start at shortstop in the big leagues. But major league pitching soon exposed his inexperience, and he was sent back to Triple-A, his fourth stop, to finish the 1994 season.

"Rodriguez is a shortstop all the way. He glides instinctively to balls, especially to his left, and throws runners out with a strong, accurate arm. Defense is the most advanced part of his game. With experience, he'll become above-average in all other phases. He projects as a .280-.300 hitter with annual totals of 20-25 home runs and 20-25 stole bases. Scouts say Rodriguez needs to be more selective and relaxed at the plate, and refrain from lunging at pitches.

"If Seattle's development people have their way, Rodriguez will start 1995 in Triple-A, where they'd like to see him repeat what he did at the end of '94. He can use more time to work on his hitting and make routine defensive plays more consistently. But manager Lou Piniella will probably have the last word. If Rodriguez acquits himself well against major league pitching in spring training, he'll be in Seattle to stay."

2003 National League Cy Young Award Winner
Eric Gagne, rhp, Los Angeles Dodgers

Baseball America History
2000, No. 2 in Dodgers Top 10

Here is an excerpt from Gagne's scouting report in January 2000:

"Gagne, a member of the Canadian national junior team, was passed over in the 1995 draft and signed that summer. He missed the 1997 season after Tommy John surgery. He rebounded to lead all of Double-A in strikeouts and fewest hits per nine innings in 1999.

"Gagne has a long, fluid three-quarters arm action, lending heavy sink to his 90-92 mph fastball. His changeup, an outstanding pitch he uses to close out hitters, gets similar sinking action from the same release point. The Dodgers describe Gagne's demeanor as tough, though opponents lean towards mean.

"Gagne's curveball lags behind his fastball and change. He had eye surgery following the season to correct problems that forced him to wear heavy goggles on the mound.

"The previous regime didn't consider Gagne a prospect, but his performance in 1999 changed that. He is likely to start 2000 in the Dodgers rotation."

2003 American League Cy Young Award Winner
Roy Halladay, rhp, Toronto Blue Jays

Baseball America History
1996, No. 6 in Blue Jays Top 10
1997, No. 1 in Blue Jays Top 10
1998, No. 1 in Blue Jays Top 10
1999, No. 1 in Blue Jays Top 10

Here is an excerpt from our December 1998 cover boy's scouting report heading into the 1999 season for the Blue Jays:

"Halladay has a prototype pitcher's body. He's tall, lanky and flexible--and has plenty of stamina. He finished third in the Colorado state cross country finals as a senior at Arvada West High. Halladay puts minimal strain on his arm. His fastball is solidly in the mid-90s, and he has the endurance to maintain his velocity into the late innings. He has developed more downward movement on his fastball, which allows him to get more ground balls. The Blue Jays initially took away the knuckle-curve that (former Blue Jays scout) Bus Campbell taught him in high school, but in the middle of (the 1998) season allowed him to start throwing it again. It was the pitch he used for five of his eight strikeouts in the one-hitter against Detroit. He has developed a hard-biting slider that may be his best pitch.

"Halladay just needs a little refinement to be a legitimate big league, front-of-the-rotation pitcher. He has a tendency to open up and show the hitter his arm a little too soon. And he needs to throw his changeup more often."

2003 American League Rookie of the Year
Angel Berroa, ss, Kansas City Royals

Baseball America History
2001, No. 6 in A's Top 10
2002, No. 1 in Royals Top 10
2003, No. 2 in Royals Top 10

Here are some excerpts from Berroa's No. 1 scouting report heading into the 2002 season:

"Berroa has Gold Glove potential at shortstop, where there's nothing he can't do. He has plenty of range and arm, He can get outs by making the long throw from deep in the hole as well as charging slow rollers. He got steadier in 2001, cutting his errors to 33 after making 54 in 2000.Unlike most standout middle-infield defenders, he can hit. With his speed and pop, Berroa could be a 20-20 player. He led all minor league shortstops with 60 extra-base hits last season.

"In order to hit at the top of a lineup, Berroa will need to draw more walks. He consistently puts the ball in play early in the count rather than working pitchers. He has become much less nonchalant in the field, though some high Class A Carolina League managers thought he showed off his arm too often. He can become more proficient as a basestealer after getting caught 12 times in 39 attempts last year.

2003 National League Rookie of the Year
Dontrelle Willis, lhp, Florida Marlins

Baseball America History
2002, No. 21 in Cubs Top 30
2003, No. 4 in Marlins Top 10

Here is an excerpt from Willis' scouting report heading into the 2003 season for the Marlins:

"Willis creates excellent deception with an unorthodox delivery he says he learned from his mother as a child. Throwing from a low three-quarters arm slot, he induces lots of groundballs and awkward swings. His improved fastball tops out at 93 mph, and he can cut it and sink it. He added depth to his slurvy breaking ball and gets sink out of his changeup as well. His command is excellent and he rarely leaves balls up in the zone. Willis' slider tends to flatten out and his changeup is inconsistent. He must pitch inside to righthanders more effectively.

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