Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Season 7 Surprises, Part One

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
Nittany Lions
Age: 23B/T: R/R
Born: Villa Clara, CU
Position(s): SS/IF/OF
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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.
Eddie Wathan
Heavy Hitters
Age: 22B/T: R/R
Born: Wilmot, SD
Position(s): 2B/C/IF/OF/DH
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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.

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