Last Thursday, Matt LaPorta hit his first Spring Training home run against Arizona Diamondbacks starter Dan Haren. Is this a sign of a future Manny Ramirez or Russell Branyan? That is what February and March baseball provides the fan, hope or skepticism. Now we all know Spring Training games don't count for much, but it does allow the avid fan to see the minor league guys compete in semi-meaningful games against some major leaguers.
Fielding left field is much different in the show, as LaPorta learned that same day. The error he was charged with had two big issues, he misplayed the ball and did not communicate real well with Grady Sizemore. These problems often lead to better things to come for a minor leaguer as it presents an area of improvement on a semi-big stage.
Although his glove is not ready for prime time yet, LaPorta is by the day showing the Tribe why they chose him as the number one prospect in the CC Sabathia deal.
LaPorta shows all of the promise of a big league slugger. He is listed at 6-2, 210 lbs, but seems even bigger in person. With the lack of a true power hitting right handed batter on the big league club, the former Gator looks poised to make the jump to the Majors sometime in 2009. But the reality is he probably would be at best a September call-up due to him only being in the professional baseball for two full seasons.
The more I see of the position player prospects in the Indians organization, the more I get excited for the teams' short term and long term success. Now let's just hope the Tribe has some pitchers on the farm that impress as much as Matt LaPorta does. The dinger he hit was a bomb off of an All-Star, an occurrence that the Indians hope to see for many years to come.
More to come tomorrow as Tribe Times will show videos from Indians practice, game action, and more!