2004 MLB Draft Preview: 3B, Josh Fields

The draft is nearly upon us. In fact, it is less than two days away and the baseball world is awaiting some big decisions from their favorite teams that will help to determine the future of the organization. There will be great pitching in the talent pool this time around but there will also be a fair share of excellent positional talent as well. One of these players is 3b, Josh Fields. We also got a chance to sit down with Field's High School coach, Mark Gardner to talk about his former player.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Josh Fields
DOB: December 14, 1982
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 210
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Place of Residence: Stillwater, Oklahoma
College: Oklahoma State University

Josh Fields, an Oklahoma State junior is widely expected to be a top prospect in the 2004 amateur draft and will get a long look from many major league teams. Fields has become a two sport star at Oklahoma State in football and baseball but has made the decision to commit to baseball. Fields is considered to be one of the top five position players in the draft this year. He could go anywhere in the middle of the fist round and projects to be a power hitting third baseman for one team in the future.

It was early stardom for Josh Fields as he began to open some eyes as a dual sport star in high school. Fields excelled in football and baseball and it was difficult to tell in which of the two his future may lay. As a senior at Stillwater high school, he was named the Daily Oklahoman Player of the Year after yet another outstanding season. The young third baseman was also named the Frontier Conference Player of the Year as well. His high school coach, Mike Gardner sat down with us to discuss his former star player.

PP: How would you describe Josh Fields as a person?

Mike Gardner: Josh Fields was and is an awesome kid. His greatest qualities are probably his leadership ability and personality. People love to be around Josh. He makes the game fun for himself and others playing with him. He is very intense but in his own way.

PP: What characteristic does Josh Fields have that would allow him to be a Major League player?

Mike Gardner: Josh knows when to be serious and when to laugh and joke with others. There is no doubt in my mind that he has the mentality and drive to play in the big leagues.

PP: What were some of Josh's biggest achievements while he played for you?

Mike Gardner: On the field in high school he was outstanding in football and baseball. In Baseball he hit .478 64 RBI, 138 AB, 65 Hits, 20 2B, 12 HR. 26 BB. He was named to the All-State team and was selected the Oklahoma Baseball Player of the Year. In the three years he started for us he led us to three state tournament appearances including 2001 State Runner-up and three year record of 104-26.

PP: Was there ever a turning point in his career, if so what was this?

Mike Gardner: Nothing major I don't think, his senior year he had to learn to be really patient at the plate because everyone knew how dangerous of a hitter he was. He struggled some early that year because of being impatient, but did a remarkable job of adjusting.

PP: What do you think his best quality is as hitter?

Mike Gardner: He has great ability to hit to the opposite field and with power.

PP: What do you think set him apart to make him the type of player he has become?

Mike Gardner: His mental make-up, he is very mentally tough, he doesn't seem to let things bother him too much, he is able to put failure behind him and move on quickly. he seems to keep everything in perspective.

PP: There has been talk of a possible position switch for him, do you think that he could make the adjustment if he needed to?

Mike Gardner: Yes, since I have known him as a sophomore in high school, he has played some at 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, P, and catcher. He will play anywhere to just get to play. To my knowledge he has never played in the outfield but he could make that adjustment.

PP: If you had to predict the future of Josh Fields, what type of a player do you see him as in the pros?

Mike Gardner: 3rd base or leftfield. Will hit to all fields well. Good situational hitter, will hit for average but has the ability to hit some homeruns also.

PP: Who do you think was Josh's biggest influence on his career?

Mike Gardner: His parents, his dad is a former high school baseball Coach and his mom is a high school basketball coach. They have always helped him keep his priorities straight. He understands that sports is not about him but it is about a team.

PP: Was there ever anything you told Josh that you think has attributed to his great success?

Mike Gardner: I don't think so. I don't think we had a huge impact on him in high school. We worked with him daily on hitting and fielding, but he was one of those great players that you didn't have to say a lot to.

PP: If you had to state on weakness in Josh Field's game, what would it be?

Mike Gardner: Physical flexibility, he has good foot speed but not great foot speed.

PP: Is he the best player you have ever coached, if so why is this?

Mike Gardner: Him and Matt Holliday. Josh is the toughest out at the plate I have ever coached but I don't think I could say that one was better than the other. Of course, Matt Holliday isn't doing too bad for the Rockies right now. But I have been very fortunate to have coached a lot of very gifted players. He will probably be drafted this year along with former Stillwater teammates Cody Ehlers (1B) at Missouri, and Jarod McAuliff (P) at Oklahoma University.

PP: What was the greatest performance you ever saw from Josh Fields in a ball field?

Mike Gardner: I saw a lot of great ones but one that sticks out is probably the 2001 state semi-finals when he pitched a complete game, then played short stop in the second game (double header) in which afterwards had to be taken to the hospital for fluids due to dehydration.

PP: In what way could Josh Fields help a ball club that very few others could?

Mike Gardner: Incredible leadership ability, that is what made him a great quarterback.

We would like to thank Coach Gardner for taking the time to answer our questions.

Now, Josh Fields has moved onto the college level where he has also thrived and improved upon some components of his game. At Oklahoma, he has proved to be just as good as everyone has expected. "Right from his freshman year, he showed things that you don't see from many other kids," said an opposing Big 12 coach in an interview with Yahoo Sports.. "A lot of teams pitch around him. He's just a great competitor and has a high level of skill." He has also been a star on the football field as the quarterback for Oklahoma State. He was impressive right from the start at Oklahoma as he batted .383 in his freshman year while blasting three home runs driving in 29 runs on 43 games. After that type of season, Fields was named to the Big 12's All-Freshman Team. Despite having such a fine freshman year, the young infielder was primed to have an even better one as a sophomore. He hit for a similar high batting average but the most noticeable difference was his power. Fields hammered out 12 home runs and suddenly became one of the most feared hitters in college baseball. As a result of yet another fine year, Josh Fields was named the All-Big 12 Team picked by the coaches.

Josh Fields will, in all probability be selected by a Major League organization in the middle of the first round this season and will bring his great skills along as well. His football coach at Oklahoma spoke to Yahoo Sports about Field's opportunity at the MLB. "He may have a great opportunity presented to him by Major League Baseball, and we'll defer to any decision he and his family might make," says football coach Les Miles. "We are frankly all for him to take advantage of the best opportunity. We were for that when we recruited him, and that's still the way it is." Well, that opportunity is likely to come in the next couple days as one Major League will take home this prize third baseman.















Oklahoma State













Oklahoma State













Oklahoma State












* Stats as of 5/31/01

Batting and Power. There is no doubt of the hitting abilities of Josh Fields at all. In fact, that is what he has become the most well known for in high school and in college. Fields has a large strong frame with a thick lower half that generates much of his power as he bats in a slight squat position. His build is very similar to that of Lance Berkman. Fields has a slight upper cut that generates a very good power output. Makes good contact and has the ability to keep strikeouts low and walk totals up. Developed the patience in his senior year and has become very disciplined hitter. Fields has the potential to hit for high averages and hit the ball with power to any part of the ballpark. Goes with the pitch very well.

Base Running and Speed. Josh Fields is by no means fleet of foot but makes due with what speed he has. Fields is a good base runner with excellent instincts. Makes very few mental blunders on the bases. As his high school coach stated, physical flexibility is not his greatest attribute but he has improved upon that and made up for it with smart base running and a quick break on the ball in the field. Has medium to average speed overall.

Defense. For now, Josh Fields is a third baseman but that is subject to change to several different spot in the next couple years. At third base, Fields has soft hands and has a quick release to first base. He has improved his defense and now has decent range and makes the routine play. Will not make the spectacular play at third or put on a defensive show but is fundamentally sound.

Projection. The sky appears to be the limit for Josh Fields, but the question is at what position? In his career, as his former coach stated, he has played 1b, C, SS, 2b, 3b. However, his future could lay as a corner outfielder or a second baseman as he also could remain at third depending upon what team he is selected by. He appears to be a future .300 type hitter with 20+ home run power that could have a high OBP and lots of extra base hits.

Comparison. Edgardo Alfonzo. When saying that Alfonzo and Fields are alike, we are talking about the Alfonzo in his best years with the New York Mets. Both of these two have played both second and third base during their careers and are the same type of hitters. Alfonzo and Fields have good power to all fields and make good contact on a consistent basis.

Draft Possibilities. The possibilities for Josh Fields are very much up in the air at this point considering that he will be smack dab in the middle of first round talent that is loaded with pitching. Teams like the Blue Jays and A's appear to be possible contenders for the young Oklahoman but until draft day arrives, we will not truly know what organization he will land in.

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