Top Hitting Prospects Struggle Out of the Gate

The top five hitting prospects have all struggled offensively in the early part of the 2005 season. Here's a look at the numbers behind the stats. <b>(Free Preview of Premium Content)</b>

First and foremost, Lastings Milledge was supposed to be the next great leadoff hitter for the Mets. At least, that was word coming out of Mets' camp last season and this past offseason. However, through the first ten games that he's played thus far in 2005, Lastings Milledge has been batting third in the St. Lucie lineup where his power is better suited. He has stepped to plate eleven times this season to lead off an inning, collecting just one hit for a cool .091 average as a leadoff hitter. Still, Milledge has struggled out of the gate, driving in just two runs so far in 2005. And forget the so-called home field advantage for Lastings. He's hitting just .077 at Tradition Field.

What is a more mind-numbing stat in regards to Jamar Hill? Is it the fact that he hasn't drawn a walk yet through his first nine games? Or is it that he still hasn't driven in a run? Either way, Hill has gotten off to a dreadful start to the 2005 season and there's no need to look any further than his production with runners in scoring position, which is zip, zilch, nada. He's batting .000 with runners in scoring position this season and despite being a right-handed power hitter, he has yet to collect a hit off left-handed pitching in the early going.

As bad as Shawn Bowman has been at the plate through the first eleven games of the season, there is a sunny side to his .132 average. Bowman is hitting .400 with runners in scoring position, proving to be one of the few clutch hitters (along with Brett Harper) in the St. Lucie lineup these days. He ended a nine-game, extra-base hit drought Monday with his first double of the season. Bowman will need to improve his .080 average with nobody on base to help re-charge the struggling St. Lucie lineup. With the likes of Bowman, Hill, and Milledge struggling, it is kind of amazing that St. Lucie has started the season at 6-5.

Ambiorix Concepcion has been one of the few hitters to struggle in the potent Hagerstown lineup this season. Expected to the "main man" for the Suns while batting cleanup, Concepcion batted sixth in the lineup Monday, mostly because of his offensive woes. He's hitting just .100 as the #4 hitter in the lineup this season (2-20) and boasts a .143 average with runners in scoring position. If he can revive his production, it will be bad news for the other teams in the South Atlantic League as Hagerstown has raced off to a 9-3 start despite Concepcion's slow start.

Carlos Gomez has also gotten off to a somewhat slow start in the batter's box, hitting just .222 through his first nine games played. But his struggles come from a lack of patience at the plate, not necessarily from a lack of production. The bottom line is that despite the low batting average, Gomez has been a catalyst in the lineup by stealing bases and starting rallies. Gomez has had problems laying off the first pitch or two. Once he learns to take a few more pitches in his at-bats, he's likely to improve on his .214 average with runners in scoring position. With the lineup they have in Hagerstown, that could spell a lot of RBI opportunities.

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Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\nFirst and foremost, Lastings Milledge was supposed to be the next great leadoff hitter for the Mets. At least, that was word coming out of Mets' camp last season and this past offseason. However, through the first ten games that he's played thus far in 2005, Lastings Milledge has been batting third in the St. Lucie lineup where his power is better suited. He has stepped to plate eleven times this season to lead off an inning, collecting just one hit for a cool .091 average as a leadoff hitter. Still, Milledge has struggled out of the gate, driving in just two runs so far in 2005. And forget the so-called home field advantage for Lastings. He's hitting just .077 at Tradition Field.
\r\n
\r\nWhat is a more mind-numbing stat in regards to Jamar Hill? Is it the fact that he hasn't drawn a walk yet through his first nine games? Or is it that he still hasn't driven in a run? Either way, Hill has gotten off to a dreadful start to the 2005 season and there's no need to look any further than his production with runners in scoring position, which is zip, zilch, nada. He's batting .000 with runners in scoring position this season and despite being a right-handed power hitter, he has yet to collect a hit off left-handed pitching in the early going.
\r\n
\r\nAs bad as Shawn Bowman has been at the plate through the first eleven games of the season, there is a sunny side to his .132 average. Bowman is hitting .400 with runners in scoring position, proving to be one of the few clutch hitters (along with Brett Harper) in the St. Lucie lineup these days. He ended a nine-game, extra-base hit drought Monday with his first double of the season. Bowman will need to improve his .080 average with nobody on base to help re-charge the struggling St. Lucie lineup. With the likes of Bowman, Hill, and Milledge struggling, it is kind of amazing that St. Lucie has started the season at 6-5.
\r\n
\r\nAmbiorix Concepcion has been one of the few hitters to struggle in the potent Hagerstown lineup this season. Expected to the \"main man\" for the Suns while batting cleanup, Concepcion batted sixth in the lineup Monday, mostly because of his offensive woes. He's hitting just .100 as the #4 hitter in the lineup this season (2-20) and boasts a .143 average with runners in scoring position. If he can revive his production, it will be bad news for the other teams in the South Atlantic League as Hagerstown has raced off to a 9-3 start despite Concepcion's slow start.
\r\n
\r\nCarlos Gomez has also gotten off to a somewhat slow start in the batter's box, hitting just .222 through his first nine games played. But his struggles come from a lack of patience at the plate, not necessarily from a lack of production. The bottom line is that despite the low batting average, Gomez has been a catalyst in the lineup by stealing bases and starting rallies. Gomez has had problems laying off the first pitch or two. Once he learns to take a few more pitches in his at-bats, he's likely to improve on his .214 average with runners in scoring position. With the lineup they have in Hagerstown, that could spell a lot of RBI opportunities.
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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Sample the NYfansonly.com Total Access Pass™ at no risk for 7 days, then pay only $7.95 or $21.95. If you want to save 2 months off the monthly subscription price, simply choose the annual NYfansonly.com Total Access Pass™ at $79.95.

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