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Best Name in Pro Ball: Chip Cannon

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Chip Cannon playing for The Citadel

Per reader request, a look at Toronto Blue Jays first base prospect Chip Cannon, who has been on fire lately.

First of all, you have to love the name "Chip Cannon," one of the best baseball names around these days. His given first name is "Rhame." He played college ball at the Citadel, the military academy in South Carolina renowned for its harsh discipline. He was a very successful college player, showing a particular knack for drawing walks and hitting home runs. His pro stock was hurt due to lack of speed and mobility, due to having club feet. Nevertheless, he went in the eighth round of the 2004 draft.

Cannon hit .271/.338/.495 with 10 homers in 62 games for short-season Auburn last summer. He began '05 at Class A Lansing in the Midwest League, hitting .268/.351/.542 in 46 games, including 11 homers. Promoted to Dunedin in the Florida State League three weeks ago, he has been on a tear, hitting .384/.477/.863 in his first 20 games, already hitting 10 homers.

Cannon now has 451 professional at-bats. He's hit .288 with 31 homers, with a .363 OBP and a .525 SLG. Although I doubt his current hot streak can be completely sustained, his power is genuine in my opinion. He has good plate discipline. The only weak point with the bat is a fairly high strikeout rate, which may hurt him at higher levels.

His defense is problematic. He has a strong arm and doesn't make a lot of mistakes, but he just isn't that mobile. However, if his bat produces like this at higher levels, they will find a spot somewhere. We need to see what he does in Double-A before knowing exactly what we have here, but so far there is little to complain about. And besides, his name is "Chip Cannon." You have to root for him.