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TopProspectAlert.com Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home


Top Prospect Alert - Jake Gautreau

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 11/14/79, Age: 23, Height: 6í0íí, Weight: 185, Bats: L, Throws: R. Acquired: Padres - Drafted in the 1st Round of the 2001 Draft (Tulane). 2002 Stats: (High-A - Lake Elsinore) .286 AVG, 371 AB, 20 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 2 SB, 42 BB, 86 K, .358 OBP, .426 SLG. 2003 Stats: (AA - Mobile) .256 AVG, 207 AB, 8 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 1 SB, 30 BB, 59 K, .356 OBP, .396 SLG.
 
    Jake Gautreau is one of the young sluggers that the Padres have moved around the infield in hopes of having a potent offensive lineup by 2005. Gautreau is one of the few players that I will cut some slack (temporarily) on their actual statistics, as he is dealing with a strength-sapping condition called ulcerative colitis. I wonít speculate on how this will affect his progress except to say that a friend of mine that suffers from the same condition says that once diagnosed, the condition should be able to be dealt with in a somewhat reasonable fashion. Gautreau has a smooth, line-drive stroke from the left side of the plate. Some players just look like hitters, and Gautreau is one of them. He hasnít hit for a tremendous average since his illness was discovered, but he has the capability, as evidenced by his .309 average at Eugene in 2001 and his .292 average in his first 73 games last season. He hasnít shown a lot of home run power just yet either, but with the amount of doubles he is hitting (47 in 756 AB), he projects to have more than just double-digit HR power in the majors. One of Gautreauís best attributes is his plate discipline. He has 94 walks already in his professional career, and has actually reduced his BB/AB ratio from 1:9 last year to 1:7 this season. Once his full strength returns, his combination of patience and hand-eye coordination should result in a second baseman that is far above average offensively. On the bases, Gautreau is not a speedster, but he has enough mobility for the Padres to move him around the infield, so he wonít be a base-clogger. As long as no one expects him to steal 10-15 bases a year, he will be fine. On defense, well, he is going to have to improve to become an average second baseman, but he is not horrible. His arm is better suited for second than third, and his quickness is adequate for the position, but not great. If his offense improves as expected, his defense will be good enough to complete the total package.
 
    The Padresí system has lost a bit of its luster the past year or so with the subpar performance of Sean Burroughs and the various pitching flameouts (Tankersley being the prominent example), but there are still plenty of quality prospects in the system, and Gautreau is one of them. With Nady, Burroughs, Peavy, Eaton, and Perez already up to go with Klesko, Nevin, and Kotsay (and with Greene, Bozied, Howard, Gautreau, and Barfield en route), the Padres still look to be in better shape for the future than many teams in the NL. Gautreau does have to fend off Barfield from behind, but he is probably more likely than Josh to stay at second if they both progress as expected. Gautreauís best comp is probably the player that the Padres like to compare him to the most, Jeff Kent, although it will take similar dramatic improvements for him to get to that level of play. I would expect Gautreau will play out this season at AA, and should probably get a crack at AAA next year before the Pads think about bringing him up to San Diego. He is still on track to be their starting 2B in 2005.    


 

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