The Rundown: Todd Linden is a rare power hitter who also has speed on the basepaths. His switch-hitting ability combined with his speed in the outfield makes him one of the top prospects not only in the Giants' farm system, but in the league overall. Linden has the ability to smash the ball out of the park, or when he's on base he's capable of stealing a bag. Defensively, Linden's speed helps him chase down flyballs, even in the tricky SBC Park right field.
Like most switch-hitters who throw right-handed, Linden has more power on the right side against left-handed pitchers. However, it is projected that Linden is capable of hitting thirty homeruns in one major league season. When Linden is on, he's on, but when he's cold, he's cold for a stretch period of time. This is one thing he must improve on: consistency.
The obvious strengths of Linden are his power, speed, and fielding ability. However, besides his inconsistent perfomance in the batter's box, what keeps him from being a major leaguer is also his discipline at the plate. Linden swings wildly at certain pitches, with the notion that if he swings hard enough, he may get lucky and make contact. Because of this, Linden will be limited to staying in Triple-A Fresno, where he will get more at-bats to learn how to control his swing better, and to get out of his cold droughts quicker.
Even though Linden had a strong 2002 campaign, his 2003 record in Fresno was not so impressive. He hit .278 with eleven jacks, forty walks, fourteen steals, and one hundred and five strikeouts in 125 games.
The Future: Linden is expected to be with the club in 2005. Because of the signings of many outfielders such as Jeffrey Hammonds, Michael Tucker, and Dustan Mohr, Linden's chance of making the team was cut. His fellow Grizzly, Tony Torcato, made the team over him because Torcato has better plate discipline than Linden does.
Linden is capable of starting, either in 2005 or 2006, for the Giants. Linden has all the ingredients needed to be a great player, but he needs to find a way to control his strengths to where he can benefit most from them. Again, once he gains plate discipline, he is projected to be capable of hitting 25-30 jacks a year. His power, speed, and defensive ability are all there, but the only way he'll be able to gain a spot on the Giants' roster next season is to improve on his plate discipline.
Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is the Giant Prophet for SFDugout.com. Any comments or questions about the article, baseball, or the meaning of life can be sent to Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org
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