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2006 EUGENE EMERALDS OUTLOOK.

Byline: The Register-Guard

The Pitchers

Aaron Breit: RHP, 6-3, 180. Age: 20. Drafted in the 12th round in 2005 and signed with the Padres last month as a draft-and-follow out of Garden City Community College in Kansas. Was 7-4 with 93 strikeouts in 68 innings at Garden City. Was ranked No. 145 on Baseball America's top prospects for the 2006 draft before he signed with the Padres. Was drafted by the Padres out of high school in 2004.

Matt Buschmann: RHP, 6-3, 195. Age: 22. Drafted in the 15th round this year out of Vanderbilt. Went 6-4 with a 3.95 ERA for the Commodores as a senior. Finished his career with a complete game in a win over Michigan during the NCAA Regional in Atlanta two weeks ago. Tied for fourth in school history with 23 wins. Started 14 of 15 games this year and struck out 88 in 95 2/3 innings pitched.

Patrick Clayton: RHP, 6-5, 230. Age: 21. Signed as a nondrafted free agent last year and played with rookie-level Peoria. Went 5-3 with an 8.03 ERA in 16 relief appearances. Struck out 33 and walked 31 in 24 2/3 innings. Tied for fifth in the Arizona League in victories. Opponents hit .241 off him.

Brooks Dunn: LHP, 6-2, 205. Age: 22. Drafted in the 23rd round out of Mississippi State. Went 8-6 with a 4.40 ERA as a senior and led the team with 71 strikeouts in 94 innings pitched. Started 15 games and had two complete games. Finished his career with 18 wins, two saves, and a 4.81 ERA.

Ernesto Frieri: RHP, 6-2, 180. Age: 20. Set to begin his fourth professional season after he signed as a nondrafted free agent in 2003. Has a career record of 12-5 with a 2.05 ERA in 55 games during the past three seasons. Went 4-0 with a 1.43 ERA for the Padres team in the Dominican Summer League in 2004. Last year, he was 7-1 with a 1.17 ERA for Peoria and led the league in both wins and ERA. He was promoted to long-season Lake Elsinore and allowed one earned run in 3 1/3 innings pitched. Led the entire Padres organization with a 1.27 ERA last year in 19 games, including five starts.

Ben Krosschell: RHP, 6-1, 165. Age: 20. Selected in the 16th round of the 2004 draft out of high school in Colorado, he pitched for the Ems last season. Went 2-7 with a 4.70 ERA in 16 games, including 15 starts. Led Eugene with 76 2/3 innings pitched and was second on the team with 59 strikeouts. Struck out a season-high nine in six innings at Salem-Keizer. Allowed three earned runs in 18 2/3 innings pitched during his final three starts. Went 1-3 with a 2.42 ERA for Peoria in 2004.

Orlando Lara: LHP, 5-10, 185. Age: 21. The native of Tierra Blanca, Mexico, signed as a nondrafted free agent last May. Will make his professional debut with the Ems.

Justin Mattison: LHP, 6-0, 190. Age: 24. Played for the Marlins organization and was converted from a position player to a pitcher. Last played in 2004 for Florida's rookie-level affiliate in the Gulf Coast League.

Peter Paewai: RHP, 6-2, 180. Age: 20. The native of Ferny Hills, Australia, signed as a nondrafted free agent last year. Went 1-2 with a 3.77 ERA in seven games for Peoria, including six starts. Threw six shutout innings to earn his first professional victory. Struck out 15 in 28 2/3 innings pitched and walked 25.

Jackson Quezada: RHP, 6-4, 170. Age: 19. Signed as a nondrafted free agent in 2003 out of the Dominican Republic. Went 11-5 with a 1.64 ERA in 24 games with the Dominican Summer League Padres during the past two years. Went 5-4 with a 1.37 ERA in 2004. Started 10 games last season and was 6-1 with a 1.97 ERA. Has allowed 24 earned runs in 131 2/3 innings pitched as a professional.

Nick Tucci: RHP, 6-3, 205. Age: 23. Drafted in the 24th round out of the University of Connecticut. Won nine games and posted a 3.67 ERA in 83 1/3 innings pitched as a senior. He was a first team all-Big East selection. Helped the Huskies post school records with 39 wins and 18 conference victories.

Rolando Valdez: RHP, 6-1, 190. Age: 20. Signed as a nondrafted free agent last year and began his career with a stellar performance in the Dominican League. Went 7-2 with a 1.03 ERA in 13 games, including 12 starts. Struck out 104 and walked 10 in 87 innings pitched and tossed three complete games. Started this season at long-season Lake Elsinore and allowed six earned runs in four innings pitched with the Storm.

Geoff Vandel: LHP, 6-1, 190. Age: 19. Drafted in the 34th round out of high school last year and posted impressive numbers during his rookie year. Pitched for Peoria and Eugene and allowed two earned runs in 31 innings pitched. Went 1-1 with a 0.43 ERA for Peoria before being promoted to the Ems late in the season. Started two games for Eugene and allowed eight hits and one earned run while striking out 11 in 10 innings for the Ems.

The Hitters

Matt Antonelli: 3B, 6-0, 198. Age: 21. San Diego's first-round draft pick was the No. 17 overall selection. Was a first team all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection who batted .333 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs in 55 games for Wake Forest. Led the team with 64 runs scored, 73 hits, 18 doubles, and 15 stolen bases. Finished his career with a .324 batting average, 18 home runs, 110 RBIs, and 46 stolen bases. Set a school record with 128 walks.

Luke Cannon: OF, 6-0, 200. Age: 21. Drafted in the 21st round out of Texas State University. Set the school record with 18 home runs and led the team with a .347 average and 65 RBIs. Led the league in home runs and slugging percentage (.753). Had 11 doubles, six triples and scored 45 runs. Stole eight bases.

Ray Chang: SS, 6-1, 195. Age: 22. Signed as a nondrafted free agent last year and started his career in Peoria. Batted .167 with nine runs and four RBIs in 15 games for Peoria. Finished the season at Lake Elsinore and had two hits in three games for the Storm. Had a combined batting average of .192 with 10 hits in 52 at-bats.

Craig Cooper: 1B, 6-2, 210. Age: 21. Drafted in the seventh round out of Notre Dame, where he led the Fighting Irish into the NCAA Super Regional. Was named second team All-America by Collegiate Baseball magazine and is one of 30 semifinalists for the Brooks Wallace College Player of the Year Award. Ranked sixth in the nation with a .425 batting average that ranked sixth best in school history. Led the nation with 79 runs and led the Big East Conference in hitting with a .481 average in conference play. Was named Big East player of the year. Reached base in 55 of 57 games as a senior and had a hit in 50 games. Had an on-base percentage of .522 and led the Irish with nine home runs and 19 doubles as the leadoff hitter.

Willy Crafort: OF, 6-3, 160. Age: 21. Signed as a nondrafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2003. Batted .196 in 2003 and .173 in 2004 in the Dominican Summer League. Started last season in the DSL and hit .208 in 14 games. Was promoted to Peoria and batted .248 with two home runs, 19 RBIs and 19 runs scored in 38 games. Tied for second on the team with 10 doubles.

Mike Epping: OF, 5-11, 190. Age: 22. Drafted in the 13th round out of the University of New Orleans. Was a first team All-Sun Belt Conference selection after leading the team with a .400 batting average, 58 RBIs, and 42 stolen bases. Ranked sixth in the nation in steals and was the first Privateer to hit .400 since 1987. Had eight home runs and scored 56 runs.

David Freese: 3B, 6-2, 220. Age: 23. Drafted in the ninth round of the draft after being named a Collegiate Baseball All-American at South Alabama. Was the first Jaguar to hit over .400 since 1987 as he finished the season at .414. Started all 60 games for South Alabama and led the team with 12 home runs, 21 doubles and 73 RBIs. Was second on the team with 73 runs scored. Had an on-base percentage of .503 and stole eight bases in nine attempts.

Tom King: SS, 5-10, 190. Age: 21. Drafted in the eighth round out of Troy University after transferring from South Carolina. Hit .411 and set a school and Sun Belt Conference record with 35 doubles. Also set school records with 117 hits, 75 runs scored, and 73 RBIs. Set a school and conference record by hitting in 31 straight games and had at least two hits in nine straight games. Earned All-America honors and is a semifinalist for the Howser and Wallace awards for the national player of the year.

Luany Sanchez: C, 6-1, 180. Age: 21. Signed as a nondrafted free agent in 2003 out of the Dominican Republic. Batted .302 with one home run and 26 RBIs in 43 games last year in Peoria. Batted .202 for Peoria in 2004 and hit .222 in the Dominican Summer League in 2003. In three-year career, has a .246 batting average with four home runs and 53 RBIs.

Casey Smith: 1B, 6-4, 230. Age: 22. Drafted in the ninth round of last year's draft out of Erskine College in South Carolina. Started his pro career in Eugene and batted .101 with one home run and five RBIs in 25 games with the Ems. Was sent to Peoria and he batted .357 with three home runs and 18 RBIs in 21 games in the Arizona League. Hit safely in his first nine games with Peoria and batted .457 with 11 RBIs during that span.

Matt Stocco: C, 6-0, 200. Age: 22. Signed as a nondrafted free agent in January out of Guelph, Ontario. Played six games for Winnipeg in an independent league last year and had one hit in 21 at-bats.

Ray Stokes: 2B, 5-10, 160. Age: 20. Drafted in the 16th round out of Cal State East Bay after earning first-team NCAA Division III all-West Region honors. Was named Association of Division III Independents player of the year as he ranked second in the nation with 55 runs scored and 15th with 29 steals. Started all 37 games and batted .400. Hit four home runs and drove in 29 runs while leading the team with 55 runs scored and five triples.

Kody Valverde: C, 6-0, 210. Age: 23. Drafted in the 10th round after earning second team all-Southeastern Conference honors at Alabama. Batted .347 with 12 home runs and 59 RBIs as a senior. Was named most valuable player at the NCAA Regional in Tuscaloosa after he went 10-for-14 with a home run and eight RBIs in three games to help the Crimson Tide advance to the Super Regional. Played his first two years at the University of New Orleans before transferring to Alabama.

Garner Wetzel: OF, 6-2, 210. Age: 22. Drafted in the 18th round of the draft out of Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., after being named to the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings Division III all-America team. Batted .400 with 14 home runs and 91 RBIs for the Majors. Named Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference offensive player of the year for the second year in a row. Was picked in the 10th round by Colorado after his junior season but returned for his senior year after discovering a torn ligament in his throwing elbow.
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Title Annotation:Sports; A PLAYER-BY-PLAYER LOOK AT THE SEASON TO COME
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 18, 2006
Words:1994
Previous Article:Emeralds win exhibition.
Next Article:EMERALDS FACTS.


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