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Player Comments from the 2008 Baseball Prospect Book

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A couple of comments from the 2008 Baseball Prospect Book. Note that the book contains full statistics, but I won't reproduce those here because the formatting is a pain.

Luke Hochevar, RHP, Kansas City Royals
The Royals were hoping to get a quick return on their investment in Luke Hochevar, but the early results on this stock were mixed. On the positive side, he showed a 92-95 MPH fastball, and his curveball, slider, and changeup are all plus pitches at times. He posted impressive K/IP and K/BB ratios in the Texas League. He pitched well for Omaha in August and didn't look out of place during his late-season audition in Kansas City. The negatives: for someone with plus stuff, he was awfully hittable. He left too many pitches up in the strike zone and was very vulnerable to the home run. Some scouts still question his mental toughness. Hochevar could end up being a really good pitcher, or he could languish in mediocrity, at least for awhile. In some ways he reminds me of Jeremy Guthrie, a similar package of talent who took some time to figure out the pro ranks. What we basically have here is a guy with Grade A- natural talent, but Grade C+ results in his first pro season. Average that out and you get a Grade B prospect, which seems like a reasonable rating to me. The upside here is high, but there is considerable risk as well.

Justin Huber, 1B-OF, Kansas City Royals
The Royals don't seem to have a place for Justin Huber to play. He's now had two seasons in Triple-A, producing power but being hampered by injuries and, at times, what looks like discouragement (whether conscious or subconscious I don't know) if you watch him play. In the majors he statistically projects as a .250 hitter with 20-25 homer power, not great for a first baseman but potentially useful, although I still have some hope that he can do better than that when healthy and confident. Ideally he would have gotten a chance last year when Ryan Shealy forgot how to hit. But Huber got hurt at the same time Shealy did, and Buddy Bell seemed allergic to the idea of giving Huber playing time in September. I don't think that 98 at-bats spread out over 38 major league games is a fair test of Huber's skills. He needs either a change of scenery, or a clear shot at playing time. I gave him a Grade B last year, but the clock is ticking and we have to reduce him to Grade C+ now. He has a fair chance of getting typecast as a Triple-A slugger.