Alex Romero, OF, Minnesota Twins
When top outfield prospects are discussed, Alex Romero's name doesn't come up that often. That may be a mistake. Romero, a Venezuelan signed in 2000, came into 2005 with a career .308 average in 329 games at the rookie and A-ball levels, but he had not developed as much power as the Twins anticipated. Moving up to Double-A New Britain this year, Romero has continued to hit for average at .300 in 108 games. But he has also set a career high with 12 homers, a career high with 26 doubles, and a career high with a .466 SLG. Those aren't awesome numbers, but they represent considerable improvement. His walk rate has slipped this year, but his other numbers are in line with previous seasons. At age 21, he still has lots of development time left, and he gives the Twins another intriguing option to consider in '06 and '07.
Fred Lewis, OF, San Francisco Giants
Fred Lewis is a speed demon, a second round pick in 2002 from Southern University. He hit .301 with 84 walks and 33 steals, plus a .451 SLG, last year in the California League, but at age 23 he was a bit older than much of his competition, leading to doubts about how well he projected at higher levels. Promoted to Double-A this year, he's at .266/.351/.382 with 25 steals and 52 walks for Norwich. Good points: he continues to draw walks and steal bases at a healthy clip. Bad points: losing 40 points of batting average and 70 of slugging percentage make him look more like a fourth outfielder rather than a potential regular. Overall, a mixed result for Lewis in his Double-A transition season, not good-enough to resolve the doubts, not bad-enough for us to completely give up on him. Batting average can easily vary 40 points through random chance, but I do find the decline in his power production of concern.