1. Chip Cannon
Cannon was not able to build off his successful Arizona Fall League campaign this past season, batting just .241 with seventeen home runs and fifty-three runs batted in for Double-A New Hampshire. Cannon missed the final three weeks of the season due to injury and he will likely begin 2008 at Double-A again. Scouts continue to point out the same things with the 25-year-old. The first is he possesses true power. The second is he swings and misses too many times for the minor league level.
Scouts Take: Scouts don't view Cannon as a full-time major league player because he's prone to striking out nearly half of his at bats. They all agree he does a good job taking pitches and drawing walks, and that his strike zone recognition has improved over the years, but he still fails to make contact with too many pitches.
2. Josh Kreuzer
There were a lot of people who wanted to see the right-handed slugger be promoted to New Hampshire after Cannon went down. That did not happen. Kreuzer batted .309 with twenty home runs with Dunedin and continued to show progress since coming into the Blue Jays organization. The 24-year-old should begin 2008 with New Hampshire and he needs to begin accelerating rapidly since his age is catching up to him.
Scouts Take: Professional hitter. Possesses power, and has a good eye at the plate. He doesn't strike out often, and has the patience to draw walks.
3. Manny Rodriguez
Rodriguez was signed as a free agent in February after playing for the Braves organization. He was named a NY-Penn league All-Star this season and batted .291 with ten home runs and forty-nine runs batted in. The one negative note scouts had on the 22-year-old was that he was too aggressive with his hitting approach, causing him to strike out at a high rate this year. He also is an aggressive free swinger, who doesn't look to work the count.
Matt Lane and Paul Franko round out the list of top first baseman in the Blue Jays system. Franko was progressed over the years after beginning his professional career in Pulaski and was a steady factor with Lansing this year. Lane also played in Lansing this past season and is a bat to watch in the next few years.
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