Second in a Series on the Dodger Farm System

The ideal situation in every minor league system is to have genuine prospects backed up by genuine prospects. That would seem to be the case for he Dodgers -- at least, as far as second base is concerned.

Las Vegas-- Here once again is Joe Thurston, who had a first-rate spring training only to have the Dodgers elect to go with veteran Jose Hernandez to share second with Alex Cora. The 24-year-old Thurston may not be the wonderboy he looked to become after a spectacular 2001 season but he certainly appears like he could fit in the big leagues somewhere. He's a dependable hitter and plays his position very well.

Jacksonville-- Willie Aybar holds forth here, not because there's anything wrong with the way he played third in the past but because Brennan King has returned at that position for the Suns. So far, Willie's been adept at second as well and he's a coming hitter, seemingly getting better all the time. What's more, he's in his fifth pro season and he's still only 21.

Vero Beach-- Delwyn Young is off to a slow start but he's averaged .315 in his first two seasons. So confident are the Dodgers in his ability with a bat that they were willing to trade Victor Diaz, hitherto considered the heir-apparent at this position. He's a 21-year-old switch-hitter with good pop for a little guy (5-10, 180). With a glove -- well, he seems to be improving.

Columbus-- Estanislao "Tony" Abreau has the required skills for the infield -- quick, sure hands and feet and an arm strong enough to play short. As a leadoff man for the Gulf Coast Dodgers last year, he was not only the team's best get-on guy with a .294 average but also led in RBI. He's listed at 5-11, 160 but is only 20 and should grow bigger and stronger.

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