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BrewersNation interview with Brewerfan.net

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    started a topic BrewersNation interview with Brewerfan.net

    BrewersNation interview with Brewerfan.net

    BrewersNation interview with Brewerfan.net « BrewersNation

    Jim Goulart from Brewerfan.net agreed to do an interview a while back, and he was great about the whole process. There are few people that have more of an insight into the Brewers farm system than the guys at Brewerfan, and I am extremely grateful to them for allowing me to interview them. Here’s what Jim Goulart had to say. It’s some good stuff.

    BN: There has been much talk about Alcides Escobar this off-season. Doug Melvin has spoken very highly of him in several interviews, but most fans believe that Escobar cannot hold his own at the plate because of his lack of power and plate discipline. What are your thoughts about Alcides Escobar?

    Brewerfan.net: It’s just not Doug Melvin, but seemingly any Brewer front office member who has been quoted on Escobar — they’re all very high on this kid. I think that’s what you have to understand before anything else about Escobar, is that the Brewers saw something in him from the very beginning. They placed Escobar in the rookie level Pioneer League with Helena when he wasn’t yet 17 1/2 years old, basically unthinkable, especially for a kid from Venezuela who wasn’t acclimated to the U.S. but for a couple of weeks in Maryvale in that pre-season. Then, after an age 18 season in full-season rookie ball at West Virginia, Escobar more than held his own (in fact, excelled) in the highly competitive Arizona Fall League as one of its youngest representatives ever. Alcides followed that up with ‘06 and ‘07 seasons that have him primed to begin 2008 most likely at AAA Nashville at age 21 and four months.

    That being said, there are legitimate concerns, as you note, such as his lack of any power at all. Escobar is probably now grown perhaps an inch taller than his long-listed height of 6′1″, and his wispy frame, ideal for shortstop, hasn’t led to extra-base hits by any stretch of the imagination. He managed seven triples among his 151 base hits last season, yet only 13 doubles. Back in 2005, he did better with 25 doubles to go with eight triples at West Virginia, but despite the heavy air in the Florida State and Southern Leagues, he’s got to find the gap for doubles more often as he grows into his body.

    And yes, Alcides’ career walk ratio is ugly, just under .05 (one walk for every 20 AB’s), even less last season. At bare minimum you want to see minor leaguers walk once every ten AB’s, so he needs to at least double his current rate. But Escobar doesn’t strike out often either, so he must be hitting some bad balls in order to maintain his .281 career average. If he can finally begin to establish some patience (a big but not impossible if at this point), he shouldn’t have to sacrifice his average, which is important.

    Escobar’s defensive prowess is so off-the-charts that if he can make even incremental improvements in slugging and on-base percentage, he’ll be a valuable asset to the Brewers regardless of what J.J. Hardy is doing two seasons from now. That’s a key, as Escobar might be in AAA developing those needed offensive skills for perhaps as much as two full seasons (technically the Brewers could keep him there for three seasons, but that’s unlikely). His ceiling remains very high, and rightfully so.

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