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Newsletter Excerpt

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An excerpt from my April 21st newsletter.

Chicago: One little-mentioned component of last summer's Garciaparra trade is outfielder Matt Murton. A supplemental first-round pick by the Red Sox out of Georgia Tech in '03, Murton is hitting .490/.554/.735 to start the season for Double-A West Tennessee, drawing 7 walks with 6 strikeouts in 12 games. He's also stolen 4 bases. He has decent physical tools, and is an aggressive and reasonably polished player. His plate discipline is sound, and he's had no problems at all adjusting to Double-A pitching. He could end up being a more complete player than the more-heralded Brian Dopirak, who has more power but fewer other skills. I like Murton and I think he's a definite sleeper you need to pay attention to.

Cincinnati: One player I have received some questions about is shortstop Paul Janish of the Dayton Dragons in the Midwest League, currently hitting .245/.345/.327 in 13 games. A fifth-round pick out of Rice last June, Janish is renowned for his defensive abilities in the middle infield. His bat is a question. He draws walks (8/6 BB/K ratio in 49 at-bats this year) and makes contact, but he doesn't have much power, and so far hasn't shown much of a knack for hitting for average. His ability to work the count and take free passes helps, and it is possible he could show some interesting offensive development. But I don't think it's especially likely. If he can be a .250 hitter with doubles and walks up the ladder, his glove will still get him to the Show eventually.