Steve Pearce - First Base, Outfield Pirates Born: April 13, 1983 Lakeland, Florida 5'11 - 209 Bats Right Throws Right
Pirates are planning on using Pearce as a backup first baseman for Adam LaRoche in 2008. He also is getting work in spring camp in the outfield. Pearce was named Offensive Minor League Player of the Year in 2007 by milb.com. He started the season in A ball and by the end of the season had played in three minor league levels and hit .294 in 23 games for the Pirates after being called up.
His totals in 2007 while playing in three minor league levels were 31 home runs, 40 doubles and 113 RBI's while hitting .333. He started the season in A ball with Lynchburg where he hit 11 home runs in only 75 at bats and slugged .867. He then played 81 games for Altoona in Double A and hit 14 home runs and drove in 72 runs. He was promoted to Indianapolis in Triple A hitting 6 home runs and driving in 17 runs in 34 games.
Evan Longoria - Third Base Rays Born: October 7, 1985 Downey, California 6'2 - 180 Bats Right Throws Right
The Rays plan to start Longoria at third base in the 2008 season. He was the third player chosen in the 2006 amateur draft with only pitchers Luke Hochevar and Greg Reynolds picked ahead of him. He started his professional career with Hudson Valley in A ball but did so well hitting 4 home runs and driving in 11 runs while hitting .424 in only 8 games that he was promoted to the next higher A ball team Visalia where he also hit well.
In 28 games at Visalia he hit 8 home runs and drove in 28 runs and hit .327. He finished the 2006 season with Montgomery in Double A and in 26 games there he hit 6 home runs and drove in 19 runs while hitting .267. In 2006 he played a total of 62 games and hit 18 home runs and drove in 58 runs.
He returned to Montgomery to start the 2007 season and hit 21 home runs and drove in 76 runs in 105 games and then was promoted to Durham in Triple A where he hit 5 more home runs and drove in 19 runs and hit .269. He hit 26 home runs and drove in 95 runs in 2007.
Longoria was third in home runs in the Arizona Fall League in 2007 with 6 and hit .308. Baseball America lists Longoria as the second best prospect of the 2007 Arizona Fall League with Cameron Maybin getting the top spot but I think Longoria is more of a prospect than Maybin from what Maybin has shown so far in the majors.
Jay Bruce - Outfielder Reds Born: April 3, 1987 Beaumont, Texas 6' 3 - 195 Bats Left Throws Left
The Reds could have Jay Bruce in the outfield on opening day. It would be quite an accomplishment for Bruce to be playing major league baseball at the age of 20 since he won't turn 21 till early in April.
With new manager Dusty Baker probably relying more on veteran players Bruce will have to have a good spring to impress Baker enough to win a starting outfield position.
Bruce was chosen as the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year for 2007. Since this award was started in 1981 every winner of this award has played in the majors. He played in all three levels in the minor leagues last season hitting 26 home runs and drove in 89 runs. He hit 46 doubles and eight triples for a total of 80 extra base hits. He does not yet have very good plate discipline striking out 135 times last year while walking only 47 times.
Bruce was chosen 12th overall in the first round of the 2005 draft. Among some well known players chosen ahead of him were: No. 1 Justin Upton... No. 2. Alex Gordon... No. 5 Ryan Braun... No. 7 Troy Tulowitzki and No.10 Cameron Maybin.
Worst Draft Choice Decision Ever
The New York Mets made the worst decision ever in the amateur baseball draft in 1966. In that year they chose Steve Chilcott instead of picking Reggie Jackson with their first pick in the draft. Jackson went on to become a Hall of Famer while Chilcott never reached the major leagues in his career. Chilcott and Brien Taylor chosen by the Yankees in the 1991 amateur draft as their first pick are the only No.1 picks who never have played in the majors. Taylor didn't even advance past A ball.
Matt Bush drafted No.1 by the Padres in 2004 is in danger of joining Chilcott and Taylor on the list of No.1 picks never reaching the majors. Since signing with the Padres in 2004 Bush has not advanced past A ball. He was drafted as a shortstop but hit only 3 home runs and drove in 70 runs in his first four years in the minor leagues and has hit .219 in his minor league career.
Last year he pitched in 7 games and in 7 2/3 innings he gave up one run and five hits while striking out 16 and walking 2 batters. It will be interesting to see if he can make the majors as a pitcher. Time is on his side though since he will be 22 all season in 2008.