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Top Prospect Alert

Joe Crede -- By Robert Sherry

This 21-year-old is the odds on favorite to be the one who will be able to fill Robin Ventura's shoes at third base. I would not put him in Ventura's class, as Robin was a very highly touted player coming out of Oklahoma State. But, Crede should develop into a very good player at the hot corner.

At 6-foot-3 and about 190 pounds, Crede's 1999 season was basically non-existent after April when he suffered a foot injury (bone spur) that cost him a season of development. His 1999 season at Double-A Birmingham ended with below average numbers for someone like him (.251, 4 HR, 42 RBI, 14 2B 1 3B, 37 R, 22 BB, 47 SO and 2 SB in 291 AB). Before his career was stalled, Crede had a great 1998 when he played at Winston-Salem (.315, 20 HR, 88 RBI, 92 R, 32 2B, 3 3B, 53 BB, 98 SO, 12 HBP and 9 SB in 492 AB). The real Joe Crede is the one that you saw in 1998.

Originally a fifth round selection from the 1996 draft, Crede is one of those hard-working athletes who tend to get everything out of their ability. He is capable of playing third base regularly in the majors, but needs some more time to improve his defense. At the plate I would expect his norm to be in the .285 range with 20+ home runs. The only weakness he has at the plate, besides just needing more experience, is his low walk total. One thing to watch for is that he had a similar bone spur problem at the end of the 1998 season. I don't want to say it's chronic, but it was not healed enough for him to participate in any winter ball. As long as this does not continue to be a problem, there should be nothing that keeps him out of Comiskey Park. Give him one healthy season in the minors this year and he could challenge for the starting spot in 2001.


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