Apparently, the Arizona Diamondbacks aren't the only team
who can't find a roster spot for a heavy-hitting corner infielder that can get
behind the plate if he needs to.
Prospect Jamie D'Antona went un-selected in this year's
Rule 5 Draft, as did every other eligible Diamondbacks player. A team
would need to have kept D'Antona on their 25-man roster all season long, or else
he would have been offered back to the Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks did select a player in the draft, but
because they did so in the Double-A phase, they do not have the same roster
requirements that would have applies to D'Antona. They received 24-year
old Baltazar Lopez, a left fielder who played with Los Dorados de
Chihuahua in the Triple-A Mexican League last year.
Lopez originally came up as a first baseman in the Angels' organization during
the 2003-2006 seasons. There, he struggled to hit for power, managing just
14 home runs through 218 games, though he did compile a .294 batting average
over that span.
In 2007, the native Mexican played in more familiar surroundings, and hit .296
with 23 extra base hits and 42 RBI in 63 games. He was also used primarily
as a left fielder rather than his natural first base position.
At 6'1" and 185 pounds, Lopez still has room on his frame
to add muscle, which could lead to a further expansion of his power numbers.
Having just turned 24, however, he will need to add that bulk fairly quickly to
remain competitive in an organization teeming with outfield talent.
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