Matt Sweeney, because of his terrific rookie season at age 18, and his decent comeback, after a year and a half of injuries, at Rancho Cucamonga in 200+ ABs this season, seems like a prospect we might miss. rghan certainly believed in his projectability. But there was an emerging consensus that Sweeney's defensive profile wouldn't allow him to stick at third base, where we already have options in Figgins, Wood, and perhaps even Rodriguez for several years to come. So that leaves first base, where we've seen our Cuban Commando decisively raise a flag this season.
But deep in the minors, in a tiny desert outpost in Utah, another Crusher commeth...Meet the Angels' 11th pick of the 2009 draft: Dillon Baird.
On the same night that Kendry Morales went 5-for-5 in a resounding win in Angels Stadium, first baseman Baird was also on five times in five chances, with three hits, two walks, two runs and two RBIs. Over 178 ABs in the Pioneer League, he's put up the following line:
.382 avg, .454 obp, .562 ops, 1.015 ops
That BA and OBP lead all Pioneer League batters, and in fact all Rookie League hitters period. He still has upside where the longball is concerned, but his current doubles rate could project to 50+ overall in a full season's worth of ABs. This guy is a run producer and his Pac 10 numbers were no different.
This is a player who is roughly the same age as Sweeney, and since he is a college prepster, could've likely been playing effectively at Rancho right now alongside Sweeney and his fellow draftee Jake Rife, save for Tom Kotchman's appetite for team victories and an organizational desire to slow walk him in absence of any need to accelerate his progress.
But if anyone was wondering who is next in line after Kendry (long, long may he live!), this is the name to watch, not Trumbo, or Jacobo or any other bobo.
It's Baird. Dillon Baird. Keep an eye on this one.