Arizona received their two PTBNL, OF Michael Goss from the Red Sox and OF Noochie (Gary) Varner from the Brewers. Goss, just turned 23, had a poor season in A-ball, hitting .245/.327/.295/.622 but with 29 steals in 36 attempts, so he's got a lot of speed. Last year was his first full year as a professional. Varner, just turned 23, spent last year in Double-A but split between Tiger's AA team, Erie, and the Brewer's AA team, Huntsville, due to a mid-season trade. After hitting .303 in 175 AB for Erie, he hit .270 in 293 AB for Huntsville. 2004 will be his fourth full season as a pro and he has done well at every level he has been at, with a career .306/.352/.452/.804 and 27 HR in 1327 AB and 51 steals in 58 attempts. He must have injured his legs in 2003 as he only stole 7 of 10 whereas in 2002 he stole 37 of 41, so look for his SB to increase in 2004.
The Dodgers selected Luis Antonio Jimenez from the Orioles in the recent Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft. He is a 21 year old lefty firstbaseman. He had a poor year this year with Aberdeen of the A-ball New York-Penn League, hitting .244/.349/.315/.664 and 1 HR in 168 AB, but he had injuries hampering him. In 2002, with Bluefield in rookie-ball Applachian League, he had a great year, hitting .375/.474/.597/.1.071 with 8 HR in 176 AB. Currently playing in his native Venezuela for the Lara Cardinals in the Veneuzuelan Winter League, he is currently hitting .313/.371/.500/.871 in limited play, with 0 HR in 32 AB in 15 games. He still needs to improve at the plate as he strikes out a lot but he also walks a lot as well.
With rumors of Neifi being traded, it was also rumored that Cody Ransom may become the starting SS. He will be 28 at the start of next season, so he's no spring chick, and he's been up for a cup of coffee the past three Septembers. He's been known as a defensive talent, sporting a .231/.311/.390/.701 career averages, so he must really be good defensively. Last season was one of his best, hitting .253/.331/.404/.735 with 12 homers while also cutting down on his strikeouts, from about 1 every 3 AB to 1 every 4 AB, which is still high but at least he cut it down.
Martin Lee writes 'A Biased Giant's Fanatic's View' for SFDugout.com when the mood and muse strikes him. He wants to teach and share his love of baseball and, in particular, his love for the San Francisco Giants. He will believe to his dying days that Bobby Bonds was robbed of being the first 40-40 player and should be in Cooperstown. Please feel free to e-mail him at BiasedGiantsFanatic@yahoo.com if you have a question or comment.
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