Dodger Prospect #4 James Loney

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

Name- JAMES ANTHONY LONEY
Position- First Base
Residence- Missouri City, Tex.
DOB- May 7, 1984
Ht- 6-2
Wt- 235
B/ T- L/L
How Obtained- Drafted in first round 2002
06 Clubs- Las Vegas (Pacific Coast), Los Angeles (National)

   Loney was the first draft choice of the Logan White era of scouting and he certainly looks like one of the best. He broke in with gusto, had injury problems but still moved forward and last season conquered the minors with the ease of Ghenghis Khan as his .380 average topped them all.

   He has a sweet swing that travels through the zone quickly. He has the plate discipline and power to spray the ball to all fields. He pressed when first brought up but when he came back up again was much more confident and it showed with some strong efforts including that memorable nine RBI splurge at Colorado.

   The knock on him has always been that he lacked true power. Last season he racked up eight homers at Vegas which added to the skeptics' derision, then produced four more on the major league level.

He definitely has the size and strength to rip the ball out but his swing is not one that provides lift and he's gotten himself into slumps when he tried to alter it to silence the doubters. His admirers- and they are growing in number- say he'll eventually hit upwards of 25 or so in the bigs.

   He's also one of the slicker first basemen around, handling the glove as well as anyone. He's also learned the outfield in order to provide another area to get that bat into the lineup 

The question is where?

The re-signing of Nomar blocks him at first although given Garciaparra's increasing fragility, he could be used as a very capable replacement there. The signing of Luis Gonzalez seems to prevent his being taken seriously in right. Besides you're wasting that golden glove if you play him out there.

   He's done all he can in the minors so shouldn't be going back. He may have to bide his time on the bench until someone falters or is injured. If he gets into the lineup on a daily basis, he has the ability to stay there for a long time.

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