After being an eighth-round draft choice in 2002, ex-OSU center fielder Jeff Salazar has not only become one of the hottest prospects in the Colorado Rockies' organization, but in all of the minors.

Jeff Salazar, 23, was ranked No. 6 on Baseball America's June 15 Prospect Hot Sheet. At the midway point of the season, Salazar is among the high Single-A California League leaders in numerous offensive categories.

Salazar, Visalia's leadoff hitter, tops the CL with 72 runs and 96 hits. He's second with eight triples, third with 35 extra-base hits, fourth with a .591 slugging percentage and sixth with a .344 batting average. He has 13 homers, 41 RBIs and 16 steals in 18 attempts. Also, he's committed only one error in 64 games.

`Jeff is playing extremely well,' Rockies farm director Bill Geivett said. `He's a hard worker with tremendous potential.'

In 2003 at Asheville, Salazar led the low Single-A South Atlantic League with 29 homers and 98 RBIs in his first full pro season. He also had 28 stolen bases and was named as the league's top defensive outfielder by the SAL's managers.

Salazar was a standout in his lone season at OSU in 2002. He ended his Cowboys career with a 24-game hitting streak, which was fourth-best in school history. A highlight that season was a three-run walkoff homer that beat Kansas on March 29. He finished with a .329 batting average.

OSU fans should soon get a chance to get a close-up look at Salazar's blossoming pro career. He will likely be with the Double-A Texas League's Tulsa Drillers next season, if not sooner. Salazar might have skipped Visalia if the Rockies did not have another highly regarded center-field prospect, Tony Miller, with Tulsa.

`I believe Jeff could come up to Tulsa now and perform well if there was an opening,' Geivett said. `But we want Jeff to play center field

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