50 Prospect Profile: Jason Bulger
||Hi-A Lancaster JetHawks (
California League), Double-A El Paso Diablos (
Texas League), Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders (Pacific Coast League)
When you get named to the 40 man roster that means the organization has
confidence in you, and the Diamondbacks definately have confidence in Jason
Bulger. The closer was dominant this past season first in Hi A Lancaster,
and then at AA El Paso. Though the D'Backs are very pleased with
Greg Aquino, Bulger gives the Diamondbacks enough depth that if Aquino falters,
or if another organization blew them away with an offer, they would not hesitate
to move Bulger into the closer's spot.
The 40 man roster means Spring Training with the big league club and a chance
to work his way into the Diamondbacks bullpen right from the get-go in '05.
Watch for Bulger to start as the last guy out of the bullpen, but finish the
season as one of the prime set up guys for Greg Aquino, assuming Aquino stays
effective. If Aquino falters though Bulger might be the first option to
replace him as the closer.
With 48 stolen bases and a highlight reel full of double-stealing catches,
it's safe to say Marland "Smoke" Williams made a big splash during
the 2004 season. Williams spent most of last season in between the Diamondbacks
top two outfield prospects,
Conor Jackson and
Carlos Quentin, but unlike those two who are projected to provide the heart of
Arizona's line-up for years to come, Marland's combination of speed and his
flair for the dramatic have him headed straight to the top of the order.
Drafted in the 36th round (1,088 overall) by Arizona in 2001,
Smoke continues to impress the Diamondback brass with his hustle and pure
athletic ability which helped him get an invite to the prestigious Arizona Fall
League this year. His ability to score runs, steal bases and cover the gaps has
pushed the 22 year-old near the top of Arizona's depth chart.
Even though he's 22 Gonzalez is going to be entering his seventh year of pro
ball in 2005, all with the D'Backs organization. Because of his age the
Diamondbacks took it slow and it has definitely paid off. A little guy
with Latin roots and a fastball that will touch 94...yeah, the Pedro Martinez comparisons come fast and furious. Not that caliber of
pitcher, but certainly one who will pitch at the major league level.
"Watch for this kid," FutureBacks.com's David Merchant says,
"he's got the stuff to show up an immediately start winning. I could
see him as a second half stud for the D'Backs in 2005."
Zeringue was a hitter at
LSU, and impressed during his
college career when he played in the wooden bat Cape Cod league and hit .283
with 12 of his 36 hits going for extra bases. Still, few expected his pro
debut to be as successful as it was. Hit .335 in 230 at bats at Lancaster,
proving the adjustment from aluminum to wood wasn't a problem for him. He
has shown more power than the Diamondbacks expected this quickly, jacking 10
homers in his first pro season. Though that's not an incredible number, he
projects to a 30-35 homer guy as he gets stronger and more comfortable with wood
bats. His plus speed has sparked rumors that Conor Jackson may be moving
to first base to allow Zeringue to stay in left as he moves up.
Scott Coolbaugh managed Pena (when he was still Rosario) at Double-A El Paso,
"He's got a great arm, and we were all shocked at his maturity, because we
all thought he was 19, that got explained when we found out his real age.
Still, he's got a real upside."
There was a train of thought that he might be ready for the big leagues by
Spring Training of 2005, but because of the controversy he only threw 43 innings
at Double A El Paso last season, and will probably need at least one more full
season in the minors before he's ready for the Diamondbacks.
The Top 50 is finally here. After months of interviews, evaluations,
discussion and hand wringing, we've done the Santa Claus thing, made the list,
checked it twice, then reevaluated, discussed some more, and done some more hand
wringing...then there were cuts, and trades, and rumored trades. Straight
from the home office in Globe, Arizona, the Top 10 list begins with #10-#6.