Justin Morneau: A third round selection in
1999, Morneau is a strong batting prospect who should eventually help out
a Twins offense that needs more quality bats.
Drafted out of New Westminster in British
Columbia, Morneau dominated the Gulf Coast League in 2000. For the Twins,
he hit an amazing .402 with 10 home runs, 58 runs batted in, 21 doubles,
47 runs scored, 30 walks, 18 strikeouts, and three steals in 194 at-bats.
Morneau set a records for batting average and run batted in and beat out
the likes of Tony Blanco for the league's batting title. Morneau finished
off the season at playing in six games at Rookie-level Elizabethton (.217,
1 HR, 3 RBI 4 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 23 AB).
At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, and only
19-years-old, Morneau is an advanced hitter for his age. With his frame,
you could project his power to continue to increase as he develops more.
His hitting ability alone should be enough to make him a big contributor
to the Twins in the future.He already has a good sense for the strike zone
and makes consistent contact.
The only area of weakness with Morneau is
his defense. He has spent time at both first base and catcher in the past.
The Twins have another good catching prospect in Rob Bowen so first base
would probably be the best for Morneau. They are the opposite as Bowen is
advanced behind the plate. When you look at a hitter like Morneau is, I
don't think defense is not going to be much of a concern.
He probably will need a few years before
he can compete for a major league job, but since the Twins have not had
stability at first base since the days of Kent Hrbek, Moreau is the most
likely candidate to put that to an end. Watch for him in the Midwest
League this season.