Top Prospect Alert Features

Top Prospect Alert Baseball News Blog

Top Prospect Alert Fantasy Player Reports

Exclusive Prospect Interviews

Top Prospect Alert Original Stories

Prospect Photo Gallery

Top Prospect Alert Trivia

Top Prospect Alert Message Board

MLB Hat Store

Minor League Store

NFL Hat Store

NFL Team Apparel

NFL Player Jerseys

NCAA Hat Store

NBA Hat Store

NBA Player Jerseys



 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - J.J. Hardy

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 8/19/82, Age: 20, Height: 6’2’’, Weight: 180, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Brewers - Drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2001 Draft (Sabino HS, Tucson, AZ). 2002 Stats: (High-A - High Desert) .293 AVG, 335 AB, 19 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 9 SB, 19 BB, 38 K, .327 OBP, .409 SLG; (AA - Huntsville) .228 AVG, 145 AB, 7 2B, 1 HR, 1 SB, 9 BB, 19 K, .269 OBP, .297 SLG. 2003 Stats: (AA - Huntsville) .286 AVG, 290 AB, 21 2B, 0 3B, 10 HR, 1 SB, 38 BB, 37 K, .369 OBP, .462 SLG.
    J. J. Hardy is the shortstop for the prospect-laden Huntsville Stars in the Southern League. Hardy, a second round draft choice back in 2001, has blossomed this year in his second trip through AA, showing a lot more patience and power than anyone expected he would this early in his career. Hardy’s best tool has always been his glove. Universally, scouts say that he could have handled the majors on the defensive side of the ball from the moment he was drafted. He doesn’t have unbelievable range, but positions himself extremely well. He is as sure-handed as they come, and his arm is excellent (he was clocked at 94 mph from the mound during his high-school career). At the plate, Hardy has the potential to be a decent hitter, but probably not an outstanding one. His power is coming along nicely, as his XBH/AB ratio has gone from 16 to 13 to 9.5 in his last three stops. Huntsville is not a hitters’ park either, so the numbers have some credence. I wouldn’t expect him to turn into a 30+ HR hitter by maturity, but he could conceivably hit around 20 at this peak. He doesn’t project to be a high average hitter either, but again, he should be decent - perhaps in the .270-.280 range. His plate discipline is what has intrigued me this season, even more so than the power increase. After walking every 17.1 at bats last year between two levels, Hardy has cut that rate to once every 7.6 at bats this year. He has posted a near-.370 OBP as a 20 year old in AA, which is no small feat. If he can maintain these gains, Hardy projects to be a great number two hitter behind David Krynzel in the 2005 Brewers batting order. On the bases, Hardy once again grades out at a bit better than average. I would not be at all surprised to see him post a 20/20 season sometime before his 30th birthday, but I am not certain that he could ever attain 30 in either category. He is, across-the-board, a solid player, but nothing more.
    The Brewers may be a laughingstock at the MLB level, they may be indirectly owned by the commissioner in a flagrant conflict of interest, and they may be past the 20-year point since their last bout with relevance, but the Brewers do indeed have a farm system now, something that could not have been said five years ago. Getting past the organizational soldiers that inhabit the AAA ranks, the Brewers’ AA affiliate in Huntsville boasts one of the more intriguing teams in the minors. Their lineup consists of Krynzel, Hardy, Corey Hart, and Brad Nelson, and their rotation holds Mike Jones, Ben Hendrickson, Ben Diggins, Pedro Liriano, and until recently, Luis Martinez. High Desert doesn’t have an awful lot to interest anyone, but down in Beloit you have Callix Crabbe, Prince Fielder, Tony Gwynn, and Manny Parra. You can easily go past the top 10 for the Brewers and still find some players that have a very good chance to make the majors, without even discounting for the organization in question (and thus the spots available). As far as Hardy’s chances, there won’t be room for all of the pitching prospects that the Brewers have, but I think there will be room for every one of the hitters. Hardy only has Bill Hall to contend with, and Hall, although toolsy, is a completely undisciplined hitter who is much shakier on defense than Hardy, so unless his game changes quickly, he won’t be much of a threat to Hardy’s claim on the job. A good comparison for Hardy would be Jay Bell, a solid player with a long MLB career, but decidedly not a star. Hardy may very well get a cup of coffee at the end of this season, but probably won’t claim the starting job until late 2004 or 2005 for good. The Brewers may actually move into the upper half of the division in the next three seasons or so, provided they don’t do anything to ruin their chances between now and then.   


Top Prospect Alert is owned by:
Ben Lipson

© 1999 - 2004 All rights reserved to Top Prospect Do not copy without permission from the owners of Top Prospect

Fantasy Baseball Central
You'll find it at .... Fantasy Baseball Central. Fantasy & Rotisserie Baseball strategy and advice. Plus over 750 links to information on Fantasy Baseball."
Visit Fantasy Baseball Central!