Posted: Tuesday March 29, 2005 11:42AM; Updated: Wednesday March 30, 2005 2:55PM
3. Felix Hernandez, RHP, Mariners
Seattle gave serious consideration to having the 18-year-old make the big club. That's how special Hernandez is. He has the size and poise of a veteran, and Seattle won't be bashful about bringing him to the big leagues this year -- especially with trouble looming in its rotation.
4. Casey Kotchman, 1B, Angels
He has nowhere to go with Darin Erstad entrenched at first base, but Kotchman keeps proving he's major-league ready --- for somebody.
5. Noah Lowry, LHP, Giants
Unbeaten in 14 starts for San Francisco last year, Lowry is showing it was no fluke. Hitters must know that he will throw as many changeups as most guys throw fastballs -- yes, even at 3-and-2 -- and they still are swinging and missing. Not bad for a guy with an 87 mph heater.
6. Chan Ho Park, RHP, Rangers
Yes, he's thisclose to going down in history as the worst free-agent signing of all time. But Park has impressed Texas with a much tougher, more confident attitude this spring. He won't be the No. 1 pitcher the Rangers expected, but he looks good enough to contribute about 12 wins -- unless he folds in the face of adversity again.
7. Andy Marte, INF-OF, Braves
He's only 21, but Marte could break into the Atlanta lineup sooner rather than later, unless you believe Brian Jordan and Raul Mondesi have solved the club's corner outfield problems. (Marte is another Miguel Cabrera who can play third base or left field.) He batted .375 this spring before Atlanta sent him to its minor league camp. The Braves have a history of pushing young, top prospects into the majors.