In this installment, we will explore position players that are potential breakout candidates. In particular, we will be looking at those position players who will begin their season in rookie-level Bluefield, short-season Aberdeen, low-A Delmarva, or high-A Frederick. Don't expect to see Brandon Erbe or Billy Rowell on these lists- most people are already expecting them to do well. Here, you'll find the players with the best chance to take their game to the next level.
#5 Mark Fleisher- Despite playing in the unforgiving hitting environment of Low-A Delmarva, Mark Fleisher was able to utilize his advanced hitting approach and knock 16 home runs in 2006. Moving to Harry Grove Stadium in high-A Frederick, Fleisher should see his power numbers spike.
#4 Victor Castillo- Known for his exceptional plate discipline, Castillo will make his full season debut in 2007. The Venezuelan catcher doesn't have an enormous ceiling, but positional scarcity and his solid switch-hitting skills could make him a valuable property.
#3 Paul Chmiel- The slender-framed Chmiel is just beginning to grow into his power potential, which, at 6-5, is significant. He made adjustments in his second professional season in 2006 that put him on the prospect map. A similar step forward in 2007 could see him zooming up the organizational depth chart.
#2 Anthony Martinez- The very large Martinez actually has some athletic ability, as evidenced by his former role as the backup quarterback at the University of Virginia. He has looked impressive in spring training and seems poised to integrate his plus power into game situations.
#1 Daniel Figueroa- Ultra-athletic, but seemingly never healthy, Daniel was actually the more heavily recruited of the Figueroa brothers out of high school. Injuries have cost him development time, but the raw tools remain. Figueroa recently turned 24 years old, so he is teetering on now-or-never territory.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com