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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Franklin Gutierrez

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 2/21/83, Age: 20, Height: 6’2’’, Weight: 180, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Dodgers - Signed as a free agent out of Venezuela on 11/18/00. 2002 Stats: (Low-A - South Georgia) .283 AVG, 361 AB, 18 2B, 4 3B, 12 HR, 13 SB, 31 BB, 88 K, .349 OBP, .454 SLG; (AAA - Las Vegas) .300 AVG, 10 AB, 2 2B, 1 BB, 4 K, .364 OBP, .500 SLG. 2003 Stats: (High-A - Vero Beach) .286 AVG, 374 AB, 25 2B, 5 3B, 18 HR, 16 SB, 33 BB, 99 K, .345 OBP, .524 SLG.
    Franklin Gutierrez is still one of the better-kept secrets in the prospect ranks, despite leading the FSL in homers for most of this season. He still looks like a kid, being listed at a generous 180 pounds, which makes what he is doing to FSL pitching all the more impressive because you know he is going to get much stronger over the next few years. His .286 batting average is good for 11th in the FSL, which makes it one of the few categories in which he is not found in the top five. He has the makings of a good average hitter, but that will not be his strength. He strikes out too much to be a contender for a batting title, in my opinion, but he could be a .300 hitter in time. His power is the tool that is going to carry him forward. Not only does he have 18 homers in mid-July in what is probably the toughest pitchers’ league in the minors, his doubles and triples bring his extra-base hit total for the year to 48. Last season, he had 36 extra-base hits despite missing over one third of the season with a broken wrist and finger. This kid has enormous power potential: potentially more so than any other minor league player. His strike zone judgment is an area where he is still extremely raw. His BB/K ratio is even worse this year than last, and he is on pace for over 150 strikeouts this year. That will be an area in which he absolutely must improve before he can become the impact player that I believe he will be. On the bases, Gutierrez is not a burner, but he has good speed, and he certainly is a stolen base threat, as evidenced by his 29 steals since the beginning of 2002. In the field, Gutierrez is athletic enough to be a good outfielder, although probably in one of the corners. His arm is a bit above average, so he could be slotted in either left or right ultimately, depending on the needs at the time. All in all, Gutierrez doesn’t really have any glaring weaknesses, other than his selectivity at the plate. In my opinion, despite all the press coverage over his hot start to 2003, he is still a big-time sleeper.


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