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Pro Player Stadium Park Factors: Hits 99; Runs 98; HRs 79  

(100 is average, under 100 is favorable to pitchers)

Josh Beckett

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  $6     2002:  $2      2003:  $8

Beckett is regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in the game. He features a mid-90's fastball and an outstanding curve. His 2002 season was severely hampered by recurring blisters that sent him to the DL on 3 occasions. Beckett tried to compensate by changing his grip, which led to mechanical problems and tipped pitches. Last year he had a blister problem in midseason but it didn't require a trip to the DL. Since Beckett appeared to have found a groove through the post-season, both his value and his draft price should soar this year.

Dontrelle Willis

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  NA     2002:  NA     2003:  $11

The 2003 ROY grabbed headlines last year by ripping off a string of impressive performances after being called up from AAA. Willis has a sinking fastball in the 91-95 range, a slider and a change with downward movement. He has a low 3/4 delivery, is very herky-jerky, has a high leg kick and takes his eye off his target a la Valenzuela. Very fast worker. Much was made in some quarters of Willis not pitching well down the stretch; it's true he struggled in August but his September looked a lot like his pre-August numbers. Still, I'd advise a little price conservatism when bidding.

Brad Penny

Values ~  2000:  $0     2001:  $13     2002:  -$7     2003:  $7

Penny rebounded from an injury-plagued 2002 to turn in a solid season; moreover he improved in the second half and sparkled in the post-season. He has a mid-90s fastball that he can spot with good control. His curve and change have improved. Owners should be aware that concerns were raised a year ago when an MRI showed potential problems with his shoulder. Owners will want to monitor this situation.

Carl Pavano

Values ~  2000:  $11     2001:  -$10     2002:  -$15     2003:  $5

The injury-prone Pavano managed to to turn in a 200 IP season and while he didn't realize the expectations once set for him, he at least confirmed that he belongs in a major league rotation if healthy. Pavano throws a low 90s fastball, a tight, late-breaking slider and change. Perhaps the most impressive thing about him is that he has absolutely no fear about throwing inside. In a game I watched, even after hitting the third batter he faced with a pitch, he continued to go inside throughout the game. This made his slider all the more effective to right-handed batters.

A. J. Burnett

Values ~  2000:  -$1     2001:  $4     2002:  $13     2003:  -$1

Burnett had Tommy John surgery last April and is expected to miss the start of the season. It's also likely that he'll not be 100% when he does pitch. Before surgery, Burnett  had a mid-90's fastball, a dominating curve and change and was willing to come inside. Many think he had the best stuff on the Marlins staff, so his will be an interesting name to float in continuing leagues by owners playing for 2005.

Darren Oliver

Values ~  2000:  -$17     2001:  -$11     2002:  -$1     2003:  -$4

All things considered, Oliver had a decent year, which I would not have thought possible given his recent ratios. When I watched him, Oliver was throwing a high 80's fastball, curve and change. He moves the ball inside and out well. He needs to keep the ball down and get groundball outs. If he pitches as well as he did last year in Coors again this year in a pitchers park, he could be a consideration as a free agent pickup. Pass for the draft.

Justin Wayne

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  NA     2002:  -$1     2003:  -$2

Wayne, a #1 pick in 2000 pitched well at AAA last year (Hit Rate = 1.01; K/BB Ratio = 2.04 but just a .60 K rate; HR Rate = .074) despite two poor early season starts with Florida . However, he was DLed mid-season with a rotator cuff problem. Wayne threw a lot of curves in the game I watched and was able to throw them for strikes. His sinking fastball is only in the high 80's and he was spotting it, mostly relying on his curve, change and occasionally mixing in a slider. He's worth keeping an eye on, but we'll first have to get further information on his health status.

Armando Benitez

Values ~  2000:  $32     2001:  $24     2002:  $21     2003:  $15

Benitez has top-drawer heat and a reputation for folding in critical situations. His four-seamer is in the upper 90s and has a slider and much-improved splitter. His strikeout rate is well in excess of one per inning and he can be tough to hit when hes on. But Benitez has had trouble controlling his emotions on the mound and with pitch selection. He has frequently been victimized by HRs in critical situations. His value dropped the last few years and last year Mets fans basically ran him out of town. After spending the second half perhaps getting a chance to regroup while setting up in the NL, he'll get a chance to redeem himself here. Can't wait to see him get the call to try to save one at Shea.

Chad Fox

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  $12     2002:  $0     2003:  $4

Fox' 90-mph fastball and slider combination is impressive, but his career has been derailed by injuries. Fox was thought to have closer potential after pitching well in a set-up role in '98, but he missed most of '99-'00 with reconstructive elbow surgery and a broken bone near his elbow. He also had reconstructive elbow surgery in 96 and a strained rotator cuff in 2002. Last year he was part of the ill-fated closer committee in Boston and struggled terribly to throw strikes. After being released, he got a fresh start in Florida and was very effective from August through the post-season. I like him as a late filler pick or free agent pick-up. Benitez owners and those who want to bet against a Benitez comeback may want to gamble here. Fox has been working on adding a change-up this spring.

Tommy Phelps

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  NA     2002:  NA     2003:  -$1

Phelps is a 30-year old minor league vet who had uninspiring ratios through 10 minor league seasons but delivered a couple of much-needed wins for Florida in mid-season. He went on the DL shortly thereafter with an elbow strain and a slight meniscus tear in his knee and saw no action after August. I suspect this was a flash in the pan, but hopefully he'll be healthy and get another chance.

Nate Bump

Values ~   2000:  NA     2001:  NA     2002:  NA     2003:  $1

Bump was a fairly highly regarded prospect a few years ago but stalled at AA for 4 years. He finally earned a promotion to AAA last year and was pitching well enough there (Hit Rate = 1.04; K/BB Ratio = 2.17; HR Rate = .047) that he earned a tour with the big club where his plate command was wretched. He's generally had good walk rates in the minors however, so he has a chance to be better. Wait until he shows something.

Matt Perisho

Values ~  2000:  -$20     2001:  -$3     2002:  -$1     2003:  NA

Perisho has a good curve to go with his fastball and changeup. He was highly regarded in the Anaheim and Texas organizations but he's well past prospect stage and has utterly failed to deliver. Pass.

Tim Spooneybarger

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  $0     2002:  $4      2003:  $5

Spooneybarger had ligament replacement surgery and will probably miss the season. Has a fastball with good movement and a breaking pitch.

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