Dodger Prospect #8 - Andy LaRoche

We continue to count down among the top Dodger prospects.


Position- Third Base
Residence- Fort Scott, Kansas
DOB-Sept. 13, 1983
04 Club(s) - Columbus (low A), Vero Beach (high A)

Power always seems to be the last thing that a budding hitter acquires the knack of. Which makes what Andy LaRoche did in 2004 all the more remarkable.

He started the year at Columbus (South Atlantic) where he sent 13 drives out of the park, then spent the second half of the year at Vero Beach (Florida State), where he put 10 more into orbit. He also racked up 33 doubles in all, quite an output for a player in his first real year of pro ball.

LaRoche, the son of former All-Star pitcher Dave and the brother of Braves first baseman Adam, turned down a $200, 000 bonus from the Padres for whom he was a draft-and-follow in 2003 to re-enter the draft. Since he seemed bound for Rice from whom he had accepted a scholarship, the Dodgers were able to get him down in the 39th round.

He then went to the Cape Cod League where he had such an impressive showing that he seemed destined to be a first-rounder should he stay in school. Instead, L.A. collected his signature on a contract for a $1 million bonus and sent him to Ogden (Pioneer) where he played just six games.

He's an aggressive hitter, inclined to go up looking for fast balls and swinging early in the count. He's very strong, able to muscle pitches out at any time. He needs more work on staying back and taking the ball to all fields. His average suffered as he moved up, hitting .283 at Columbus but only .233 at Vero. More patience and pitch recognition could well cure that.

In the field, he was moved from shortstop which he played as an amateur to third and did it with style. He possesses a superior arm and quick reactions. He ranks about average as a base runner. He could start 2005 at Vero again but move up quickly.