Abreu's Definitely A Player to Watch

For one thing we writers have to thank Tony Abreu for abandoning his first name. It's actually "Estanislao" but he prefers to go by his middle name which, for the record, is actually spelled "Toni. " So, even that we're not getting quite right but it's a heck of a lot better than having to check to see if we got "Estanislao" correctly.

Whatever name he chooses to use, Abreu may o may not be the best second base prospect in the Dodger system, depending upon how much one believes in Blake DeWitt, the other prime candidate for that honor. But whether he's the best or not, he's certainly one to consider both from the offensive and defensive standpoint.

Right now, he's hitting .288 for Jacksonville with six home runs. Not at all shabby. Certainly not as good as the .330 with which he piled up enough at-bats to lead the Florida State League before moving up to Jacksonville last year but a lot better than the .250 mark he managed with the Suns after arriving in 2005.

Tony's got quick wrists which generates good bat speed. He doesn't walk all that much but he doesn't strike out a whole lot either, making good contact. In all, an ideal No. 2 hitter, which is where he usually hits in the order.

In the field, he features soft hands, good range and a more than adequate arm. He can play short if necessary; in fact, that's where Scott Little generally employed him when he was with the big club as a non-roster invitee this spring. That, though, was caused more by a temporary shortage at that position rather than any notion that his future was there.

No, second is his spot and for two seasons he and shortstop Chin-Lung Hu have been making magic around the middle of the infield, first at Vero Beach, now with the Suns. And Jacksonville fans, who are baseball knowledgeable in the main, have come to appreciate the plays the twosome deliver, either individually or in tandem.

In all, Abreu's had a steady rather than spectacular season. He's been pushing his way forward ever since coming into the system in 2003 when he was adjudged advanced enough to skip the usual indoctrination in the Dominican Summer League but, rather, started in the Gulf Coast League.

Tony, who's now just 21 years old, is a remnant of the days of Pablo Peguero's signings of Dominican hopefuls. Pablo's gone now but there's a few of his products still on the Dodger shelves. And Tony is one of the brightest.

If he doesn't get traded- and that's a possibility with the July 31 deadline for such deals looming- he seems certain to make the Dodger roster, either in September or when it's stocked after the season.

He's hardly a lock to take over second in L.A. someday but don't bet he can't. He's young, he's talented and he's improving. In other words, the kind of player you watch out for- whatever name he answers to or however you spell it.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories