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Busted, make that double.

One of the recurring themes you'll read on prospect watching message boards and diaries is how much of a "disappointment" Ian Stewart has been. Or you'll hear the same thing about Chris Nelson. people will look at their stats and go, "only five homeruns?" or something of the like to point out how overrated they are. Please don't listen to these people. Likewise, don't listen ot anybody that says Seth Smith isn't a good prospect on the same lack of power grounds. I'll get into why in a second, but first I want to show the top three spots of one of the hitting leaderboards in the PCL:

  1. Carlos Quentin 29
  2. Howie Kendrick 26
  3. (tie)Delwyn Young 25
  4. (tie)Brooks Conrad 25
Two of the four are top 50 prospects in all of baseball, while one is held back by two rookies and a trio of veterans in Chavez Ravine and the other one is blocked by Craig Biggio (but nonetheless an important part of the Astros' depth). Like Stewart and Nelson, many have seen Quentin's year as a disappointment because he hasn't hit the longball. This is a false premise as the amount of doubles quentin has hit has shown he has pounded out many long balls this season, it's just that only a few have gone over the fence. Doubles are one of the key stats to look for in the minor leagues because homerun power will generally follow. As an example, look at Matt Holliday from our own organization. When he was 23 he hit only 12 homeruns on the season in Tulsa but also came up with 28 doubles showing signs that he was starting to connect with his immense power potential. The White Sox' Jermaine Dye hit forty doubles in Macon while in the Braves system and "only" fifteen homeruns that year. So let's look at the doubles leaderboards of the other full-season leagues we have affiliates in:

Texas League:

  1. Brandon Wood  32
  2. Seth Smith  31
  3. Matthew Brown  27
  4. Ian Stewart  26
California League:
  1. Carlos Gonzalez  31
  2. (tie)Chris Rahl  30
  3. (tie)Steven Murphy 30
  4. Chris Nowak  28
South Atlantic League:
  1. (tie)Chris Nelson  28
  2. (tie)Russell Mitchell 28
  3. (tie)Ole Sheldon  27
  4. (tie)Angel Salome  27
So, obviously the Nuts are slacking in Modesto, where no batter has more than twenty, but the good news out of Tulsa and Asheville overrides that. Seth Smith continues to be a potent enigma in the system, and his excellent season has been overshadowed by the four (three now) Driller infielders ahead of him in the Purps poll. But don't let anybody fool you into thinking we don't have legit outfield prospects there, Smith and Joe Gaetti are just now emerging as important cornerpieces.