Best of the Rest: Catchers and Middle Infielders

CATCHERS

Potential MLB Back-ups:  Bobby Wilson, Ben Johnson

Too Young To Tell:  Anel De Los Santos, Braulio Pardo

Bobby Wilson combines solid catch-and-throw skills with a decent bat - he'd be a great compliment to Napoli at the big league level. Just saying.  Ben Johnson is a switch-hitting power threat who's even got some wheels, but shows less promise on the defensive side. There's no clear promotion track for him this year in AAA, so he might have to return to Arkansas to caddy for Conger and DH. His bat would certainly make that team better.  Anel de Los Santos failed to touch a .500 OPS in the Midwest League after Baseball America ranked him our tenth best prospect last year. Nobody's defense is good enough to carry that. Braulio Pardo is a switch-hitter with a little power potential, but solid defense is the 22 year-old's calling card. He didn't do anything with the stick last year, but the Halos are thin on catchers at the lower levels, so he'll likely get a shot at Cedar Rapids.

 

MIDDLE INFIELDERS

Potential MLB Stars:  Eduardo Soto

Potential MLB Regulars:  Hanley Statia, Darwin Perez, Andrew Romine

Too Young To Tell:  Alexia Amarista, Rolando Gomez, Ivan Contreras, P.J. Phillips

Eduardo Soto schooled the DSL as a seventeen year old second baseman, hitting for both average and power - will the Halos bring him stateside this year?  Hanley Statia's got the glove, but didn't show any bat after a strong spring training last year. He'll be 23 next season, and last time I looked, the Halos' had one or two promising middle infielders blocking him. Darwin Perez had a good season for a 19 year old in the Pioneer League, combining decent pop and OBP - he'll be an important piece of what should be a very good Cedar Rapids Kernal's team in '09. Andrew Romine is a plus defender, and he brings plenty of speed to the table too, swiping 62 bags in '08.  Like Statia, he's no monster with the bat, but may make it all the way to AA this year if he can maintain the OBP/speed thing at the higher levels. Like Soto, Alexia Amarista schooled the DSL as a teenage second baseman (though he was a year older at the time), and so far those skills have translated to play in the states, where he flashed a lot of contact and OBP skills in the Arizona Summer League.  Even at 5'8", 150 lbs, he's not the smallest of our legit prospects.  That would be one of my new favorite players, Rolando Gomez, who was taken by the Angels in the 11th round of this year's draft. He hit for impressive power and average throughout his prep career, has a record of impressive power displays with wood bats in workouts, and it looks like he'll stick in the middle infield.  Oh, and the guy is 5'7", 145 - talk about someone to root for.  He didn't play much in Arizona last summer, but look for Gomez in Orem in '09. Twenty-one-year-old Ivan Contreras struggled in the Midwest League, so was bumped to Orem, where he hit for average and got on base. He'll be old for the midwest league when he returns.   P.J. Phillips still has the tools of his older brother, Brandon Phillips, but he didn't really take the long-awaited step forward last year at Rancho.  He's running out of time.

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