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Baseball Prospectus 2001
contains Wilton projections for more than
800 hitters. Last week at ESPN.com,
we took a look at what Wilton projected
for the major categories
, noting that the system projects a Triple Crown
for Alex Rodriguez and an RBI record for Todd Helton.

Now that Opening Day rosters have been set, let’s take a look at Wilton’s
book projections for the rookies who made their teams’ rosters, starting
with the AL. Next week at BP.com, we’ll have a look at all the players who
missed the cut for BP 2001 and still made Opening Day rosters.

In the American League:

                  Age    TM    AB    BA   OBP   SLG    EqA
David Eckstein     26   ANA   439  .237  .326  .321   .227
Shawn Wooten       28   ANA   391  .238  .289  .363   .219
Jay Gibbons        24   BAL   440  .293  .360  .480   .285

Jay Gibbons is a Rule 5 pick who made the Orioles’ roster. He’s a
hitter without much defensive value, but he’s a hell of a hitter.
He’s a sleeper Rookie of the Year candidate who needs a trade, preferably
of Delino DeShields, to get him at-bats.

                  Age    TM    AB    BA   OBP   SLG    EqA
Mike Kinkade       28   BAL   306  .248  .309  .373   .235
Josh Paul          26   CHW   226  .235  .285  .327   .204
Julio Ramirez      23   CHW   412  .235  .286  .350   .216
John McDonald      26   CLE   330  .255  .305  .309   .205
Javier Cardona     25   DET   301  .249  .298  .412   .240
Jermaine Clark     24   DET   431  .262  .351  .350   .252
Brandon Inge       24   DET   370  .227  .278  .357   .215

The loss of Mitch Meluskey sets up an interesting situation in
Detroit, where the Tigers open the season using two catchers with a
combined 40 major-league at-bats coming into the season. Javier
Cardona
is the more advanced player, while Brandon Inge is the
better long-term prospect. Neither will make Randy Smith feel better about
losing Meluskey, not this year, anyway.

The other Tiger rookie is Rule 5 second baseman Jermaine Clark. The
Tigers are committed to Damion Easley for the next few years, so
getting Clark ABs will be a problem. He could force his way into the
third-base picture if Dean Palmer‘s shoulder continues to restrict
him to DH.

                  Age    TM    AB    BA   OBP   SLG    EqA
Dee Brown          23    KC   490  .265  .336  .439   .259
Luis Rivas         21   MIN   497  .266  .314  .374   .229
Brian Buchanan     27   MIN   365  .238  .296  .386   .226
Michael Coleman    25    NY   305  .266  .323  .492   .266 (Cincinnati)
D'Angelo Jimenez   23    NY   276  .268  .346  .280   .253
Scott Seabol       26    NY   428  .238  .290  .390   .230
Jose Ortiz         24   OAK   429  .275  .331  .420   .260

Jose Ortiz is the second-best position-player candidate for Rookie
of the Year (to Ichiro Suzuki), because opportunity means as much as
ability in that fight. As you can see, he doesn’t project as a star this
year, although his peak should be quite impressive.

                  Age    TM    AB    BA   OBP   SLG    EqA
Anthony Sanders    27   SEA   389  .231  .383  .353   .220
Ichiro Suzuki      27   SEA   455  .312  .368  .459   .287

That’s exactly what the Mariners could use, but just based on early
appearances, Suzuki doesn’t seem real likely to slug .459. He may have a
large first-half/second-half split as he adjusts to baseball on this side
of the Pacific.

                  Age    TM    AB    BA   OBP   SLG    EqA
Bo Porter          28   TEX   444  .241  .341  .367   .240
Ryan Freel         25   TOR   285  .256  .331  .393   .250

Prospect turned utility player Ryan Freel is almost certainly the
Blue Jays’ best option at second base. Incumbent Homer Bush projects
to a .235 EqA, and none of the organization’s middle-infield prospects is
ready to make the jump to the majors yet.

We’ll check out the NL’s rookie projections later this week.


Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. Contact him by

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