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The Tuesday Before Draft Day: Matt LaPorta

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Matt LaPorta, 1B, University of Florida
Was supposed to be a star college slugger this year and certain first round pick. But injuries and an early slump ruined his numbers: he hit just .259 in 158 at-bats. LaPorta did hit 14 homers and draw 28 walks, so he maintained his power and patience. But .259. . .that's an awfully low batting average for a talented college hitter, bad luck and injuries or not. At 6-1, 215 pounds, LaPorta is a powerful hitter from the right side of the plate, but will have to show that he can make contact against high-level breaking balls and changeups. His defense is not a major asset, so his bat will have to carry him. A Scott Boras client, LaPorta is a guy who could slide a lot farther than people expect, maybe even beyond the tenth round, if clubs think his bonus demands are unreasonable. Or he could still go in the first round, for a team willing to take a risk in exchange for a possible big power payoff.