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Top Prospect Alert - Tim Raines Jr.

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 8/31/79, Age: 22, Height: 5í10íí, Weight: 183, Bats: B, Throws: R. Acquired: Orioles - Drafted in the 6th Round of the 1998 Draft (Seminole HS, Sanford, FL). 2000 Stats: (High-A - Frederick) .236 AVG, 457 AB, 21 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 81 SB, 67 BB, 106 K, .348 OBP, .309 SLG. 2001 Stats: (High-A - Frederick) .250 AVG, 84 AB, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 14 SB, 13 BB, 23 K, .351 OBP, .417 SLG. (AA - Bowie) .291 AVG, 254 AB, 14 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 29 SB, 34 BB, 60 K, .380 OBP, .402 SLG. (AAA - Rochester) .256 AVG, 133 AB, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 SB, 11 BB, 30 K, .313 OBP, .353 SLG. (Maj. - Baltimore) .174 AVG, 23 AB, 2 2B, 3 SB, 3 BB, 8 K, .269 OBP, .261 SLG.
 
   Tim Raines Jr. is a player that really surprised me this season. I expected him to end up like ďinsert minor league stolen base champion hereĒ, but now it appears that might end up having a chance to become Tony Womack. As an aside, being Tony Womack is not as bad as popular opinion suggests, as long as you donít bat leadoff. Being Tony Womack also lends itself to a better lifestyle than being Alex Requena, so Raines actually did a lot for himself this year. Timís main skills are those of his father in less abundance: drawing walks, playing good defense, and running with abandon. Before this season I expected his eventual role to be that of a fourth OF, batting .200-.210 with no power, an OBP of .290-.300, and a handful of steals. What changed my mind (a little) was his improvement after being promoted to AA this year, where he hit 291/380/402 in almost half a season. The promotion to AAA was probably unnecessary, and the promotion to the majors was publicity-driven, but A to AA is a difficult jump for a man of Rainesí skills. He wasnít even embarrassing in Rochester for 133 at-bats, and was still successful on almost 80% of his steal attempts. His 9 home runs at four levels nearly doubled his previous career output, and his 24 doubles tied a career high. 57 stolen bases wasnít close to the 81 in 2000, but his success rate stayed solid, an important stat for a leadoff hitter. All in all, it was a rather successful year for the career of Tim Raines Jr.
 
   After this season, I would upgrade my prediction for his major league ability about 20-25 batting average points, which may be enough to make him a starting CF and 8th or 9th place hitter on the Orioles in a year or two. He is still young, so he could continue to improve. I donít think heíll ever be mentioned in the same breath as his father as far as talent, but he could be better than Luis Matos. There are two things that Raines needs to do: make more contact, and only bat right-handed. He has only been switch-hitting a few years, so I would expect the experiment to continue at least one more year. He should start at AAA next season, and I would still say there is only a 50/50 chance of Tim picking up 1000 major league at-bats in his career. He likely will play some in Baltimore next season no matter what, and unless they make some major signings, may very well get a crack at the starting CF job at some point during the year. The bottom line is: Iím still not sold on him being better than Gary Matthews Jr. or Garry Maddox Jr., which isnít going to help most teams unless heís their fifth outfielder.


 

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