Milwaukee Brewers' Prospect Watch: Alcides Escobar

Jesse MotiffSenior Analyst IJuly 18, 2009

MARYVALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 19: Alcides Escobar of the Milwaukee Brewers poses during photo day at the Brewers spring training complex on February 19, 2009 in Maryvale, Arizona. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

For those who don't follow the Milwaukee Brewers closely, they might think that shortstop prospect Alcides Escobar is in the running for Rookie of the Year with as much publicity as he gets.

Escobar is embroiled in the middle of a fan controversy with JJ Hardy over which one should be the starting shortstop both this year and in the future.

One will stay, and the other is likely to be traded for a starting pitcher either before the trading deadline or sometime this winter.

I figured there was no better prospect to highlight in my new series about the organizational depth than the player who was voted the Minor League's most exciting player in 2008.

Escobar has been major league ready as a defender for well over a year. Many that have seen him play compare him defensively to Omar Vizquel.

Escobar has exceptional range for a shortstop, as well as a cannon for an arm. These tools will help the Brewers' all-around defensive on the infield and make up for a lack of range for Bill Hall, Craig Counsell, and Casey McGehee.

The biggest question in Escobar's game was at the plate. He's been solid at the plate at every level in the minors, but many felt his bat wouldn't be good enough to be a solid big league player. Critics also felt his lack of power would make him not nearly as valuable.

He has proven all doubters wrong this season, and he is putting together a great season for the Nashville Sounds.

In 88 games this season, Escobar is batting .292, with 31 extra base hits. His slugging percentage stands at .413, and his on-base percentage is .344. He still needs to draw more walks. He won't turn 23 until this December, so he has plenty of time to develop patience at the plate.

The best part of Escobar's game is his speed. Speed can be a great equalizer for a lack of power, and Escobar has as much speed as anyone in the game. Escobar has stolen 30 bases this season and been caught only seven times.

Most fans would know immediately that his 30 steals would lead the Brewers but that's only half the story.

Escobar actually has as many steals as the entire current Brewers' roster. Adding Escobar to this roster would give the offense a threat that they haven't had since Scott Podsednik.

It is clear Escobar is ready to become a full-time player in the majors. The only question is what team he will be playing for.

The Brewers desperately need help in their rotation, and Escobar could be shipped as the center piece of a deal for a big name pitcher like Roy Halladay.

No matter what uniform Escobar ultimately plays in, you can count on one thing: he will bring excitement to all aspects of the game that few players today do. He will be a star for years to come...hopefully as a Milwaukee Brewer.