Wednesday, June 15, 2005

One Sweet Prince

Everyone knows my sometimes senseless infatuation with minor league baseball. I guess it just intrigues me because I equate it to college basketball and college football. I mean, the only difference is college athletes do not yet belong to an NFL or NBA team and can't be called up during the season (The Dallas Cowboys called up RB Adrian Peterson today and he will start this Sunday versus the Redskins).

It's that time of year again when the minor leaguers I've followed and adored begin graduating to The Show. The same people who are aware of my love affair with minor league baseball mistake it as fantasy baseball-related - but its simply not the case. After all, prospects have no value in single-year leagues - and unless they get called up in June (a la Mark Prior and Miguel Cabrera) - they won't really make an impact anyway.

Regardless, the call-ups began this week with Tampa recalling outfielder Jonny Gomes, Milwaukee summoning their top two prospects since Ben Sheets, the Angels calling upon Ervin "Johan" Santana, and the Pirates Ryan Doumit.

Of the two Brew Crew prospects, a guy by the name of Prince Fielder is the one I'm in love with. Rickie Weeks may evolve into a Soriano-esque second baseman (both with the bat and glove, unfortunately), but Fielder just offers so much intrigue.

He's 6-feet, and a mammoth 260 lbs., and holds infiinitely more potential than fellow big man Ryan Howard. He's just 21, and has the pedigree as the son of Cecil, who hit 50 homers back when it meant something.

He's smashed almost 90 homers in just three seasons of minor league ball - accelerating through the system at a rapid pace. The Brewers say they only called him up this week to DH in AL parks - and some people think he might eventually end up a lifetime DH such as David Ortiz, but logging five or six games brings him fantasy eligibility. Even if he gets sent down - it won't be long before he's back blasting home runs out of Miller Park, which - fantasy or not - makes me happy.

Welcome to The Show, Prince.


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