Giants Top 50: #22 - Ben Copeland

A low point in the first year player draft for the Giants is paying dividends. Ben Copeland joined the organization late for a first pick and two seasons later the promise of his talent is fulfilled. Wait no longer for the outfielder. His game in Augusta during the 2006 season is a template for his career.

#22 - Ben Copeland
Date of Birth: 12/17/1983 Position: OF Height: 6'1" Weight: 195 Bats: L Throws: L
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th Round (#132 Overall) of the 2005 Draft
2006 Stats
Team-Level AVG OBP SLG OPS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Augusta - Low-A .281 .368 .410 .778 527 90 148 29 12 5 71 73 90 30 21

The right place at the right time fits Ben Copeland pretty well. The San Francisco Giants selected him in the fourth round of the draft in 2005 as their first pick. It was the lowest first choice for a team in the history of the sport. Fortunately for Copeland he's something more than the answer to a trivia question.

Copeland batted second regularly with the Augusta Greenjackets in 2006, a team that ran away with the second-half division title in the South Atlantic League and looked strong going into the playoffs. Hitting between Antoan Richardson and Eugenio Velez provided Copeland offensive opportunities much like a piñata. All he had to do was swing and watch the good stuff come pouring out.

The left fielder had 71 runs batted in during the season where he played in nearly every game. The top third of Augusta's lineup tore through the rest of the league with speed on the base paths and on-base percentage.

Copeland matched his home run total for 2005 with 5 with the Greenjackets. 148 hits and 30 steals combined with his serviceable defense in the outfield made to one of Augusta's vital players for the 2006 season.

Following an abbreviated professional 2005 season with the rookie clubs in Arizona and Salem-Keizer, Copeland's projections were unknown. His junior season at the University of Pittsburgh gave the Giants much to look forward to with their new draftee. He led the Big East conference in the offensive categories that shape his game like doubles, triples, and steals. He was the top hitter in the Big East and showed decent power numbers for a player not known for hitting home runs.

Upon Copeland's selection in the draft Giants' vice president of player personnel Dick Tidrow called Copeland "an all-around player" who would bat second or third in the lineup. With two pro seasons under his belt Copeland's ability has caught up to his potential and he is the ballplayer he will be for the duration of his career. He is used best at the top of the lineup, to get on base and cause problems for a pitcher while creating scoring opportunities for the big hitters behind him.

Good base running is making a quiet comeback in the current major league game. The Giants have a small stable of potentially explosive base stealers, Copeland included. His speed is one of his best attributes, ripe to be used at the benefit of a major league team that does not or will not utilize the running game.

Expect to see Ben (not Benj) in San Jose in 2007 if his current rate of progression through the system continues. Given his improvement from rookie ball to low-A between 2005 and 2006 he could move higher later in the season. If there's room for him, Copeland is sure to be there.



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Check out the other prospects at the Top 50 Prospects Index!



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Chris has been a Giants fan since her days in utero. She loves baseball and writes about whatever she can get her hands on…even the Athletics. She's a Bay Area gal through and through. This is her 24th season of fandom. Love/hate mail can be sent to seasond_salt@yahoo.com, where the love mail gets top priority and the hate mail gets used for kindling.

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