Vericker has improved in many categories. He is showing an improvement in his ability to hit doubles and triples, and his batting average has gone up 10 points. While he has hit five few home runs so far this year, he has driven in seven more runs, which is a more telling number. Even though he has not improved much offensively on the surface from 2003 to 2004, it is still a good sign for him.
San Jose is in a more challenging league than Salem-Kaizer. To keep already decent numbers to the next level is in no way a black mark on one's record. Consistent and good results will get Vericker to the majors. If he continues to hit as he has so far throughout the Giants minor league system, he will be in the running for the first base spot by 2007.
There are a few concerns for Vericker. One is his defense. He still played a good chunk of his games as a designated hitter, and that will hamper his chances with the Giants, who have no need for a DH as they are in the National League. Being at first base puts additional pressures on Vericker. While he is better at the position than some of the other prospects in the Giants system, he doesn't have the type of glove that would allow him to get away with a mediocre offensive season and continue starter, as J.T. Snow does.
His patience has dropped down a little bit since the last season. He has walked 9 fewer times. However, he is still good at getting walks. He looks to be on route to get about 70-80 walks in 500 at-bats this season, which isn't bad at all. He could stand to strike out a little less, though his strikeout number is nowhere near Trumble-land.
Vericker might get a call-up to AA later this season, and if not, he will be on the Navigators for 2005. He will spend one season there, and one more (2006) at Fresno and will be in the running for the starting first baseman job by 2007.
Jesse Radin writes for SFDugout.com and has been a Giants follower since 1996. The Blind Observer is Jesse's column covering all things baseball, though mainly about the Giants. Questions or comments can be sent to email@example.com
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