Today's post is the first in a series of profiles on players having breakout seasons. They include both rookies and veterans that are far exceeding their productions levels of the past.
Ivan Barrios of the Scranton Nittany Lions has made a big splash on the scene as a rookie. Barrios, signed an $11 milllion deal out of Villa Clara, Cuba in Season 4, had a solid minor league career in which he hit .308, including an impressive .362 in Low A as a 20 year-old. He set a career mark with 15 HRs at AAA last year (587 Abs). In just 78 games (326 Abs) this season, Barrios is hitting .350 with 14 HRs. While he was primarily a SS in the minors, Barrios has excelled in a Ryan Freel-like role for the Lions, starting in CF, LF, and 3B while making just 1 error.
Another rookie making a splash is Rule V draftee Eddie Wathan of the Houston Heavy Hitters.
Wathan, drafted in the 3rd round in Season 3 by San Diego, was plucked from the St. Louis Hell Hogs by the Heavy Hitters in this years Rule V draft despite never having played above AA. The Hitters were convinced that back-to-back .350+ seasons for the Colorado Springs Low A franchise and an impressive .341 at AA last year were no fluke. Wathan continues to excel with a .346 average, good for 10th in the league in 309 ABs this year. A Lo-A gold glove 2b in Season 5, Wathan has also excelled in the utility role, starting games at 2B, 3B, and SS for Houston.