Ryan Shealy 1B/OF – The club’s attempt to convert the 26-year-old to the outfield hasn’t had an opportunity to unfold due to an elbow injury. Realistically, I’m uncertain if that’s a possibility given he’s had trouble with a knee in the past and isn’t athletic enough to handle the home park’s spacious dimensions. Look for the team to send him to Triple-A to work on the experiment.
Choo Freeman OF– I’ve been watching Freeman for a long time given his high-end tool set but the application of said tools could best be described as enigmatic. He doesn’t have a sound approach at the plate, and is fast but relatively undisciplined on the basepaths. But he’s posted a .379/.438/.621 performance in 29 at-bats this spring and is out of options. I’m not certain how many at-bats you can project for him at this point as it’s largely in his hands now. Current centerfielder Chris Sullivan is not what you’d call a lock for guaranteed playing time, and Freeman has the talent to take the job, but the chances the career .273 minor league hitter puts it together seems unlikely. Still, Colorado is the land of opportunity for his type this season.
Jeff Baker 3B/OF – Baker is hitting for power this spring and is also making the transition to the outfield from third base with Garrett Atkins the incumbent and hot prospect Ian Stewart on the horizon for as early as 2007. The 24-year-old is likely ticketed back to Triple-A to begin the year unless injuries dictate otherwise. I like his power in that park and still believe a solid, injury-free campaign in 2006 will have him up for good.
Ian Stewart 3B – Stewart is tearing it up this spring having hit 13-for-23 with five home runs. The high school first rounder from 2003 is still a work in progress and should begin the year at Double-A, looking to improve defensively and shorten his swing.