Dodger Prospect # 5 Andy LaRoche

   LAinsider.com is currently taking a look at the top prospects in the organization. Here's another as we count down among the very best.

Name- ANDREW CHARLES LAROCHE
Position- Third Base
Residence- Fort Scott, Kansas.
DOB- Feb. 28, 1981
Ht- 6-0
Wt- 187
How Obtained- Drafted in 39th round  2003
06 Clubs- Jacksonville (Southern), Las Vegas (Pacific Coast) 

   When it comes to the top five prospects in the organization, an argument could be made for any one of them that he deserves to be ranked above the others. That's certainly true of LaRoche, son of former big league pitcher Dave and brother to the recently traded first baseman Adam.

  He has yet to have his first big league at-bat, that being denied him when he suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder late last season. Although he came back, he was obviously hurting so it was decided to have the injury repaired rather than bring him up in September. He should be ready to go from the start this spring.

   LaRoche is a very exciting hitting possibility. He generates tremendous power from a quick stroke that supplies natural lift and distance. Last season he began slowly at Jacksonville, adjusted, was promoted to Las Vegas and kept right on hitting before and even after his injury.

Earlier in his career, he was very much a hacker, swinging at every pitch that was even remotely close. Now he's adjusted and is more selective. He does have to watch a tendency to try to go long ball at times which causes him to widen the strike zone.

   He's an asset on defense as well. His arm is top of the line and he has both good hands and range. He's only an average runner.

   If given a true opportunity he has the ability to challenge Wilson Betemit for playing time at third for the Dodgers. Grady Little may be inclined to go with the proven player, send Andy to Vegas and see what develops. But it won't be long until he's in a big league lineup to stay for he has the potential to be a big run producer.

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