Prospect #16 Preston Mattingly

Dodgerinsider.com is currently taking a look at the top prospects in the system. Here's another as we count down to the very best.

   Name- PRESTON MATTINGLY
Position- Shortstop
Residence- Evansville, Ind.
DOB- Aug. 26, 1987
Ht- 6-3
Wt- 205
B/T- R/R
How Obtained- Drafted in first round (supplemental) 2006
2006 Club- Dodgers (Gulf Coast)

   You might surmise that the son of Don Mattingly would have spent his summers on a diamond but please remember that Preston's  from Indiana where basketball is king, Colts in the Super Bowl or no. And Pres was very good at that sport, All-State to be exact. He reached that status by spending his summers at hoops camps or in leagues  when he wasn't visting Dad in New York.

  So he wasn't one of those Showcase types who tend to top the charts but scout Marty Lamb spotted his potential early nonetheless and scouting director Logan White concurred. They fortunately had the initial selection in the supplemental portion of the 2006 draft and used it on Mattingly, thus beating three other teams that had planned on making the same move when their turn came. That included the Yankees where Don has been promoted to bench coach and is supposedly the heir apparent  to Joe Torre.

  With so little playing time, the Dodgers didn't expect all that much from Mattingly the younger but he surprised them with his offensive output. He was up among the league leaders for some time until a coach decided to make a pull hitter of him and fouled up his swing. He abandoned that in time to finish at .290 with one home run.

  By the end pitchers were throwing him nothing but curves low and away which he'll have to learn to lay off along with other bits of batting maturity that the notion is will come with steady playing time. At best he's a line drive hitter who sprays the ball around, not one who should be gunning for the fences. He's fairly quick on the bases paths as well.

  What he's not is a natural at short. He lacks smoothness at the position and his arm seems a tick below what is required. So , now that Joel Guzman has moved on, Mattingly can fill his role in the guessing game as to what position he's best suited for in the future. Second base? Left field ? First base ? Take your pick. Right now they're mainly trying to get him adjusted at the plate as an even more productiive hitter.

He 'll probably spend 2007 at Ogden.

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