Dodger Prospect #7 - 2B Tony Abreu

It seems as if Tony Abreu has been around for a long time, and that he must be approaching the magic age of 30, but the truth is, the will be only 23 when the 2008 season opens and he must be wondering if this is the year he sticks on the Los Angeles roster.

The days when middle infielders make their way to the big leagues with their gloves only went out with the buggy whip. Now they must carry a big bat as well and Abreu fits that description. He led the Florida State League in hitting in 2005 and scorched the Pacific Coast League last year for a .355 average.

   He may look smallish but he's a husky, 5-11 and 200, strong enough to turn on fast balls. He probably won't produce home runs in double figures when he makes the bigtime but he can spray the ball to all fields consistently.

Like most kids from the islands he comes to the plate to hit, although his on-base percentage is getting better and topped out with Las Vegas last year at .399. He reads pitchers well, has a good level swing and is okay on the bases without being a burner.

In the field he has good hands and excellent reactions. He's teamed with Chin-Lung Hu to form a smooth double play combination for four seasons now and the pair may well be the Dodgers double play combo of the future. His arm is good enough to play short and he had no problem at third when called upon.

In his first shot at The Show, he hit a creditable .271 in 59 games while playing third (28 games), second (25) and short (7). Overall he made five errors in 168 chances, four of them at third base.

Abreu was named the winner of the 2007 Jim and Dearie Mulvey Award, which goes to the top rookie in camp during spring training. The youngster hit .340 with three homers and 13 runs batted in over 23 games while playing second and a good deal at shortstop in the absence of injured Rafael Furcal.

Good enough to skip the Dominican Summer League, he started his professional career in 2003 with the Gulf Coast Dodgers at the tender age of 18. A smallish 5-9 and 165, he led the team with a .294 average and demonstrated his speed with five doubles and seven triples, earning a trip to Vero Beach for the final games of the season but he was overpowered and went 0-for-10.

Moved up to Columbus in 2004, he hit .301 and demonstrated a little power, collecting 21 doubles, eight triples and eight home runs, his high-water mark in round trippers. He knocked in 54 and stole 16 bases but was nailed 12 times. Again given a shot at Vero Beach in the final weeks, he nailed it this time, hitting .419 and hitting in 10 of 11 games.

He started in Vero in 2005 and had the best season of his young career, leading the Florida State League with a .327 average, whacking 23 doubles and knocking in 43 and was selected a FSL All-Star. He even got a taste of AA baseball, hitting .250 at Jacksonville over 24 games.

Grady Little employed him at shortstop when he was with the big club as a non-roster invitee in the spring of 2006. That, though, was caused more by a temporary shortage at that position rather than any notion that his future was there.

He added a solid year at Jacksonville in 2006, leading the Suns in hitting (.287) and hits (131), hit 24 doubles and had 56 runs batted in over 118 games. He worked his usual magic with Hu at short and delighted the appreciative Suns fans with their acrobatic double plays.

He opened the season with Las Vegas last year and was recalled on May 22 when Hong-Chic Kuo went on the disabled list. When Kuo came off the DL, it was Marlon Anderson who was designated for assignment, not Abreu.

Abreu was injured in July and ugly questions arose concerning the injury, or perceived injury, when he was optioned back to Las Vegas. Some suggested he was only pouting about being sent back to the minor leagues.

Abreu rested at Las Vegas, was placed on the inactive list as a result of the dispute, then resumed playing in August and was a September call-up. He said he was never fully recovered and was reinjured Sept. 23 in Arizona while lunging for a ground ball after making a spectacular play behind second base, ending his season.

After the season, an examination discovered a significant strain in a muscle that connects to the pelvis and he underwent surgery in Philadelphia to repair a torn abdominal muscle. Dr. William Meyers, a specialist in sports hernia injuries, performed the surgery.

The young man should be back at full strength and battling for a roster spot this spring. He is considered Jeff Kent's replacement at second base when the future Hall of Famer retires.

His record:
Estainslao Toni Abreu  br  tr  5-11  200
Born- November 13, 1984
Obtained- Signed as a free agent Nov. 17, 1984

year	team     ave   obp  gm    ab   r    h  2b 3b hr  bi  sb
2003	GCLg    .294  .358   45  163  30   48   7  5  0  20   9
	VBeach  .000  .091    3   10   0    0   0  0  0   0   0
2004	Colmb   .301  .326  104  359  50  108  21  8  8  54  16
	VBeach  .419  .435   11   43   8   18   3  1  0   3   4
2005	VBeach  .327  .356   96  324  54  129  23  7  4  43  14
	Jacksn  .250  .284   24   96  10   24   3  2  0   9   0
2006	Jacksn  .287  .343  118  457  66  131  24  3  6  55   8
2007	LVegas  .355  .399   54  234  48   83  22  5  2  19   5
	L.A.    .271  .309   59  166  19   45  14  1  2  17   0

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