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Top Prospect Alert

Kevin Eberwein -- By Robert Sherry

A former star outfielder from Nevada, he was beaten out by current Pirates top prospect Chad Hermansen for player of the year during 1995 in that state. Unlike Hermansen, Eberwein decided to play college baseball and became an outfielder for UNLV.

Since being drafted by the San Diego Padres he has remained a relatively unnoticed prospect. This 22-year-old has since been converted to third base and made his pro debut in 1998 at Single-A Clinton. It was the best showing of his short career as he batted .296, with 10 home runs, 20 doubles, three triples, 38 runs batted in, 42 runs scored, 26 walks, 66 strikeouts and four steals in 247 at bats.

Eberwein spent 1999 between two levels: Single-A Rancho Cucamonga (.258, 18 HR, 69 RBI, 30 2B, 4 3B, 69 R, 42 BB, 139 SO and 7 SB in 417 AB) and Double-A Mobile (.171, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 2B, 5 R, 3 BB and 16 SO in 35 AB). At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Eberwein has the size and power to play third base in the majors. However, he needs to have a good showing in 2000 and, most importantly, he needs to improve his pitch selection at the plate.

I would expect him to open the new season at Double-A Mobile, which could be a good news/bad news situation, as Sean Burroughs may also open the season there. If this happens, I would watch for Burroughs to hold down the third base job and Eberwein to possibly move across the diamond to first base.

Eberwein will turn 23 right around the time the season is scheduled to start. He needs to have a good showing to stay in the running for a major league spot in what is a very deep and talented system.


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