2b-3B Willie Aybar -- Prospect #17

Latest in a series on the top Dodger prospects as we count down to the very best.

Position Third Base/ Second Base
Residence- Bani, D.R.
DOB- March 9, 1983
Ht.- 6-0
Wt.- 175
B/T- S/R
05 Clubs- Las Vegas (AAA), Los Angeles (National )

Willie Aybar got some redemption last season, particularly in the last half. Before, there were many who felt he would never live up to the potential that had caused the Dodgers to give him $1.5 million to sign in January 2000.

But as the year wore on, Willie bore down to take his game to a new level. He hit .297-5-60 for Las Vegas to earn a promotion to the Dodgers where he was even more impressive - .326 -1-10 in 26 September games.

This, however, did not cause the team to award him third base for 2006; rather, they signed Bill Mueller as a free agent to play the position for there's considerable doubt that Aybar can ever be an everyday regular in the big leagues. He's had a habit of chasing some questionable pitches, particularly early in the count.

When he bears down, he's a tough out at the plate with a good short stroke from the right side and some power from the left.

He hasn't ever produced enough pop, though, with 15 being his home run high in 2004 at Jacksonville. That's when he was switched from third to second because of the emergence of Andy LaRoche among other things.

He alternated between second and third in 2005 and there's arguments about which is his best slot. He certainly has the arm, range and quick reactions to play third and smoothed out quite a bit at second as well.

In all, he'll try for a reserve infield role in Los Angeles in 2006 but may well wind up back in Vegas. If the latter is the case, it'll probably be at second for there's that guy LaRoche again, who's expected to take third in AAA this year.

Previous Selections
#18 -- RHP Blake Johnson
#19 -- LHP Tim Hamulak

#20 -- RHP Frankelis Osoria
#21 -- RHP Jose Diaz
#22 -- 1B Cory Dunlap
#23 -- 2B Travis Denker
#24 -- LHP Derek Thompson

#25 -- SS Ivan DeJesus
#26 -- OF John Raglani
#27 -- LHP Ryan Ketchner
#28 -- OF Justin Ruggiano
#29 -- OF Jamie Hoffman

#30 -- RHP Chris Malone
#31 -- OF Cody Ross
#32 -- RHP Josh Wall
#33 -- SS Juan Rivera
#34 -- RHP Steve Johnson

#35 -- SS Scott Van Slyke
#36 -- OF John Melon
#37 -- LHP Brent Leach
#38 -- RHP Jesus Castillo
#39 -- LHP Eric Stults

#40 -- OF Xavier Paul
#41 -- LHP Miguel Sanfler
#42 -- 3B Josh Bell
#43 -- RHP Jordan Pratt
#44 -- OF Sergio Pedroza

#45 -- RHP Julio Pimentel
#46 -- 1b-1B Eduardo Perez
#47 -- RHP James McDonald
#48 -- OF Brian Myrow
#49 -- LHP Danny Muegge

#50 -- RHP Miguel Ramirez
#51 -- OF Ryan Carter
#52 -- RHP Casey Hoorelbeke
#53 -- OF Trayvon Robinson
#54 -- RHP Ramon Troncoso