Prospect Profile: Jeff Baisley, 3B

With top prospect Brian Snyder missing virtually all of the season with leg ailments, the hot corner was anything but hot for the Oakland A's minor league system in 2005. Only Stockton's Vasili Spanos put up notable numbers, and he struggled after a mid-season promotion to AA-Midland. However, a 2005 draftee's performance at the A's instructional leagues has the team excited about the system's future at the hot corner. We take a look at prospect Jeff Baisley in this edition of Prospect Profile…

Jeff Baisley, 6'3'', 200 LB

Year

Team

Lg

Age

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

BB

K

XBH

2005

VAN

NWST

22

.252

.362

.413

218

55

15

1

6

27

27

22



Background

Baisley was taken by the Oakland A's in the 12th round of the 2005 amateur draft out of the University of South Florida, where he starred alongside his twin brother, catcher Brian Baisley. Jeff was one of South Florida's top hitters throughout his career, with the exception of a disastrous 2004 campaign which saw him hit a meager .264. Baisley rebounded to post an excellent senior season (.366/.424/.584), but his junior campaign scared off enough teams that he dropped out of the first ten rounds of the draft in 2005. Convinced that most of Baisley's struggles in 2004 were due to injury, the A's grabbed him in the 12th round. He may turn out to be an excellent value pick at that spot.

Baisley has a classic third baseman's build at 6'3'', 200 pounds. He has broad shoulders and room to fill out further, which should help his power production as he matures. Baisley has a good throwing arm and soft hands, although -- as with many minor league infielders -- Baisley struggles with his footwork. He is a right-handed hitter and has a solid understanding of the strike zone and the ability to hit to all fields, although his swing can get long at times when he tries to hit homeruns. He is similar to A's top third base prospect and fellow Floridian Brian Snyder, although Snyder was a bit more polished as a hitter coming out of college.

Behind the Numbers

On the surface, Baisley's 2005 professional debut with Vancouver doesn't raise a lot of eyebrows. However, upon closer inspection, there are some encouraging signs in Baisley's splits. For one, Baisley's home/road splits may indicate that Vancouver's home park had more to do with his mediocre numbers than any other factor. Nat Bailey Stadium, home park for the Canadians, is a notoriously difficult hitter's park and it especially seemed to affect Baisley. In 33 home games, Baisley managed to hit only .196 with one homer and 13 RBI in 112 at-bats. Conversely, on the road, Baisley hit .311 with five homers and 25 RBI in 106 at-bats. Baisley walked more at home than on the road, but otherwise was consistently better in all offensive categories away from home.

Baisley received the bulk of his at-bats against right-handed pitching and he hit .258 with four homers and 30 RBI in 159 at-bats. He also walked 22 times against 15 strike outs. Against lefties, Baisley struggled, batting only .237 with two homers and eight RBI in 59 at-bats. He also struck out 12 times and walked only five times against lefties. Baisley hit lefties well in college, however, so look for these numbers to improve next season.

The Vancouver Canadians were, to put it mildly, a horrible hitting team last season. At 775, Baisley had the highest OPS of any Canadian with more than 100 at-bats in 2005. He was also the team's leading run producer, as he tied for the team-lead in homers and was the leader in driving in runs. Baisley hit his best in the fourth spot in the order, hitting .364 with 18 RBI in 66 at-bats as the clean-up hitter. He struggled in the third spot, managing only a .191 BA with 14 RBI in 115 at-bats.

Outlook

Baisley, who just turned 23 in December, is coming off of an impressive stint in the A's Instructional Leagues, where he was named the Most Valuable Player from the camp. At the "Instructs", Baisley demonstrated good power, patience and the ability to go the opposite way. He also played solid defense.

That performance may have shown the A's enough to move Baisley up to high-A Stockton (as opposed to low-A Kane County), although he does have a few guys ahead of him at third in the system: Kane County's Myron Leslie, Snyder and Stockton/Midland's Vasili Spanos. Leslie had a good season for the Cougars in 2005 and should be due for a promotion. Leslie could be pushed all the way to AA if the A's decide to put Snyder in AAA and let Spanos split his time at AA between first and third base. However, it is more likely that both Snyder and Spanos will be at AA, Leslie will be in Stockton and Baisley will begin the year at Kane County.

Kane County's Elfstrom Stadium played as a pitcher's park in 2005, but it doesn't have the hitter's graveyard reputation that Vancouver's Nat Bailey Stadium does, so Baisley should be able to improve his home splits in 2006. Snyder had a break-out season for the Cougars in 2004 and if Baisley can produce a Snyder-like campaign in 2006, he could be well on his way to moving quickly through the A's system. Long-term, of course, Baisley will be blocked in Oakland at third by Eric Chavez, but that shouldn't block his path to the big leagues. Former A's farmhands Mark Teahen and Eric Hinske were both traded when they became major league-ready and have logged significant major league team at third with other teams. It is too early to say whether Baisley will have the same kind of success that Teahen and Hinske did, but he showed in 2005 that he could have a future in the big leagues.


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