Top 7 Prospects: First Base

First basemen don't see a lot of prospect lists. After all, if you can't handle the position, where else is there to go? In fact, there aren't even enough real prospects to fill out a top ten list in the O's organization. Nevertheless, there are a few guys with a chance to hit enough where it won't matter where they play.

1) Brandon Snyder - (Delmarva Shorebirds) - (118 G, 448 AB, .283/.354/.422)

Snyder's move to first base was supposed to be temporary, but with the signing of Matt Wieters, Snyder will be working out at 3B and LF in the Hawaii Winter League. He has decent arm strength and enough accuracy on his throws to handle 3B. It will take a trek across the diamond for Billy Rowell for Snyder to get a clean shot at 3B in the O's organization, but that's likely only a matter of time. Snyder's bat improved substantially in the second half and, while he's probably not going to hit for average, he has enough power potential and secondary skills to still project as a solid major league player.

2) Joe Mahoney - (Aberdeen Ironbirds) - (65 G, 242 AB, .269/.330/.438)

A 20 year old lefty drafted in the 6th round out of the University of Richmond, Mahoney has loads of power potential. Joe Jordan explained "Joe Mahoney has top of the scale raw power and he's making progress as a hitter".

In his professional debut, Mahoney made rapid advancements with wood bats, batting .318/.348/.561 in 107 August at bats. He has a chance to be a legitimate power threat in a major league lineup one day.

3) Chris Vinyard - (Delmarva Shorebirds) - (129 G, 480 AB, .269/.340/.440)

As a rule, right-handed first baseman have to be pretty special hitters to get attention as prospects, so Vinyard has a tough hill to climb. Still, he's shown adequate hitting skills and power potential, even if his home park squashed his season totals. He's no kind of athlete and, despite catching in college, he'll have to hit his way to the show as a 1B/DH.

4) Paul Chmiel - (Bluefield Orioles) - (18 G, 64 AB, .297/.418/.469)

The 20 year old got a late start to the season, but he looked good in limited action. The 2005 22nd round pick is a slender 6-5, with some decent power projection. A lefty-hitter, Chmiel doesn't have great bat speed, but he's shown an advanced approach and is all set to make his full-season debut in 2008.

5) Anthony Martinez - (Aberdeen Ironbirds) - (65 G, 230 AB, .296/.364/.404)

Orioles Director of Scouting Joe Jordan told ITW "Anthony has got good raw power, but tonight [August 16] is a good example. He's gotten himself out outside the strike zone."

Right after that, Martinez took off. He batted .500/.520/.773 in 22 September at bats and appeared to finally producing in line with his potential. Despite his athleticism, Martinez isn't a great defender. As a right-handed hitting first baseman, he'll have to keep producing and quick (he's 23) to move up the organizational depth chart.

6) Luis Jimenez - (Bowie Baysox/Pawtucket Red Sox) - (115 G, 401 AB, .292/.365/.514)

Despite a monster season with the Baysox, Jimenez is still more of an organizational player. At 25 years old, this was the former prospect's third turn in double-A, so he'll have to prove himself further to convince observers that his outbreak was for real. The O's have nothing to lose by bringing him back for a stint in Norfolk to see if Jimenez is able to do it.

7) Mark Fleisher - (Frederick Keys) - (108 G, 364 AB, .247/.312/.445)

A 14th round pick in 2005, Fleisher's power and patience are for real. The problem is, entering his age 24 season, it doesn't look like his batting average is ever going to be high enough for it to matter much. He'll get a shot at double-A Bowie next season, but it'll take some adjustments in his approach to get him in the organization's plans. A former pitcher at Radford University, Fleisher has a great arm, but his other defensive skills are just adequate.

Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at

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