Lisa had the good fortune to write the Rays preview that’s up now. It’s maybe the best system in baseball, so there was plenty for her to choose from for this bonus feature:
Quinn Stewart, OF: In a loaded system, I?m going to a real downlow sleeper here, ?The Mighty
Quinn.? Outfielder Quinn Stewart signed with the Rays in 2006 as a fifth-year
senior out of LSU, where he finished second in the NCAA in homers with 23, which
led the SEC. Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics describes him as ?a big strong
kid with whack in his bat and athleticism.? In his first full season, he had a
20-20 year, hitting .258 with 21 homers and 21 steals in 112 games at Class A
Columbus last year, posting a .466 slugging percentage but striking out 122
times. But he also hit .471 in the playoffs to help lead the Catfish to the
Sally League title. His defense is still suspect and that?s one of the things
the organization will be focusing on with him. This is a guy I am really looking
forward to watching this season.
Go take a look at my Orioles preview. There’s a lot more there these days than there’s been a long time. Finding an extra player to talk about here wasn’t all that difficult. I thought about going with Troy Patton, who is mentioned only in passing in the preview because of what could be impending shoulder surgery, but I didn’t think that was in the spirit of this blog feature, which I think is meant more for sleepers and extra under the radar types. So, with that in mind, I give you…
Kyle Schmidt, RHP: Anyone for a late bloomer? The O’s drafted Schmidt out of South Florida (he
transferred there after two years at Georgia Tech) back in 2004. He scuffled along in Bluefield and Aberdeen for most of 2005 and much of ’06 before making it to Delmarva for 10 outings in that 2006 season. He spent all of last year with the Shorebirds, at age 23, finishing third in the South Atlantic League in strikeouts with 145 (in 131 IP) and eighth in ERA (3.37). He’s always done well in terms of K rates, with a 9.98 K/9 ratio since he began his career. There are a lot of arms in this system now, some of them pretty high-profile, so it’ll be interesting to see if Schmidt can start making a name for himself at age 24 in 2008.