Top 5 Prospects: Centerfield

Minor league centerfielders generally come in two different breeds. Either they are defensive wizards or they have serious offensive potential and their parent organization doesn't want to move them off of the position until they have to. When you a player who is both, you know you have a valuable property on your hands. Read on to find out if any O's minor leaguers fit that profile.

1) Matt Angle - (Aberdeen Ironbirds) - (66 G, .301/.421/.352)

Angle was everything he was advertised as in his professional debut at Aberdeen- good speed, excellent baserunning, good range, good arm, contact skills and an excellent approach. The downside is that the 21 year old 7th round pick has no power to speak of, which means he'll have to hit ~.300 to profile as a regular. Don't count the diminuitive Angle out, though, he just might be capable of doing it.

2) Jeff Fiorentino - (Bowie Baysox) - (126 G, .282/.346/.445)

Once again, Fio got off to an awful April and, once again, he was on fire in the second half. The real mystery is why the Orioles let Fiorentino spend a second year in double-A when he has to make the major league roster in 2008 or be passed through waivers. He profiles as a valuable fourth outfielder, but he's certainly better than Jay Payton... and he costs about $4.5 million less.

3) Kraig Binick - (Bluefield Orioles/Aberdeen Ironbirds) - (73 G, .301/.396/.449)

So far, so good for the 27th round senior sign out of New York Institute of Technology. The 22 year old made a good impression in rookie-ball and in a late promotion to short-season Aberdeen. Binick's impressive offensive performances have always been discounted by scout's because of his level of competition and he'll have to hit like this at higher levels before he'll show up on anybody's radar. The good news is that he'll likely start 2008 in low-A and, from there, he'll get his chances. Binick has been worked out in both corner outfield positions as well. Right now, his tools profile him as more of a reserve outfielder who can help you in different ways.

4) Adam Stern - (Norfolk Tides) - (78 G, 289 AB, .270/.326/.360)

Time seems to be running out for the former Team Canada hero. He's still got blazing speed and excellent range, but his average contact skills don't make up for his lack of power and patience. He has an outside chance at a reserve outfielder role in the future, but the Orioles already have plenty of outfielders that can't hit.

5) Daniel Figueroa - (Delmarva Shorebirds) - (116 G, 396 AB, .278/.398/.338)

Things finally seemed to click for the lesser-known Figueroa brother in the second half, as he posted an impressive .323/.454/.369 batting line. Scouts have long touted the 24 year olds potential and his top-of-the-line speed and top-notch defense did not go unnoticed. Despite his age, Figueroa still has a chance to carve out a major league role. He just can't afford any more slumps.

Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via e-mail at Publisher@InsideTheWarehous.com


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