May 18, 1998
Troy Glaus and Warren MorrisWelcome to a new feature here at Baseball Prospectus. In each edition of "Prospect Focus", we'll take a look at two prospects around baseball - some of whom are well known, while others are more obscure. Each prospect is listed with their up-to-date stats, along with a Davenport Translation which provides a unique in-season translation of that player's performance this season. These DT's estimate league and park effects from previous seasons, so while they aren't perfect, we feel they are an extremely useful tool to aid in analyzing each player's progress.
In our first issue, we start with the AL West and take a look at a pair of hitters: Troy Glaus, whose stunning debut merits a look; and Warren Morris, who is trying to turn his college fame into pro success. The first line is the player's real stats, and the second line is his Davenport Translation. All stats are through May 12th.
Troy Glaus, Anaheim Angels 3B Age 21
Year Team Lvl AB H DB TP HR BB R RBI SB CS AVG OBP SLG EQA 1998 Midland AA 149 49 9 1 17 26 40 44 4 2 .329 .433 .745 1998 Midland AA 143 41 4 0 12 20 25 34 3 1 .287 .374 .566 .312Few players have turned as many heads with their professional debut as Glaus has. Quite simply, AA has proved no match with him; he hit eight home runs in his first nine games, and continues his aerial assault on Texas League pitchers nightly. He is excelling at every aspect of his game; he hits for average, has excellent patience, and by most accounts, picks it pretty well at the hot corner.
His DT underscores just how tremendous his debut has been. When a 21-year-old third baseman hits with this kind of power, it's almost impossible not to compare him to Mike Schmidt. Comparisons to the greatest third baseman of all time are obviously overstated this early on, but keep in mind Schmidt didn't reach the major leagues until he was almost 23. A better comparison may be to Matt Williams, but Glaus should hit for a higher average and get on base more. No matter how you slice it, he's a stud. Between Glaus, Eric Chavez, Aramis Ramirez, and überprospect Adrian Beltre, the minors are going to crank out several great third basemen in the near future.
Glaus is ready for the major leagues right now, but his ETA hangs on when the Angels make a spot for him. The talk in southern California is always about moving Jim Edmonds, which is insane; the Angels have the most overrated leftfielder in baseball in Garret Anderson, and Darin Erstad's speed and defense are completely wasted at first base. If the Angels ship Anderson's butt to any team dumb enough to take him (Danger, Herk Robinson, danger!), they can move Erstad to left field, Hollins to first base, and bring up Troy Glaus, improving their defense at 2 positions and getting a huge lift to their offense at the same time.
Warren Morris, Texas Rangers 2B Age 24
Year Team Lvl AB H DB TP HR BB R RBI SB CS AVG OBP SLG EQA 1997 Charlotte A 494 151 27 9 12 62 78 75 16 5 .306 .390 .470 1997 Charlotte A 502 134 16 4 11 50 69 61 7 3 .267 .333 .380 .251 1998 Tulsa AA 158 50 8 1 6 20 31 21 7 0 .316 .397 .494 1998 Tulsa AA 155 40 3 0 5 14 20 19 4 0 .258 .320 .374 .247Morris, as many of you know, is the only player in history to hit a two-out, bottom-of-the-ninth, game-winning home run in the deciding game of a World Series. Okay, it was the College World Series, but why quibble? Morris then returned for his senior year of college before turning pro, so he is a little old for a prospect in just his second professional season. So far his 1998 campaign is almost identical to last year, despite making the jump to AA. This is usually a very good sign, but keep in mind that Charlotte is in the Florida State League, notoriously tough on hitters, while Tulsa is in the hitter-friendly Texas League.
Morris currently projects as a league-average second baseman, but he has a diverse range of skills which bodes well for his future performance. Most middle infield prospects can hit for average and steal bases; the ones who can hit for power and draw walks as well have additional talents that they may develop in time. Morris isn't a top prospect, but he should develop into an above-average second baseman in the Mike Lansing mold. When that will happens depends on when Mark McLemore decides to end his Brett Butler impersonation.