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Abercrombie & Switch?
2003-10-23 10:18
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Is the grass greener on the pitching mound - where this is no grass at all?

Ponder that as we discuss what David Cameron wrote on Baseball Prospectus today. Cameron broached the topic of minor league position players who salvage their careers by switching to pitching.

He notes that Dodger September phenom Edwin Jackson is one of the most remarkable by doing it by his 20th birthday, "having made the transition from high school outfielder to major league pitcher after the Dodgers selected him in the sixth round of the 2001 draft." Cameron took the discussion a step further than most would have, by interviewing player development personnel from various teams to determine the best candidates for a future switch.

One turned out to be 22-year-old Dodger outfielder Reggie Abercrombie, who batted .261 with 15 home runs and 28 steals for AA Jacksonville in 2003 but struck out an astonishing 10 times for every walk - 164 strikeouts, 16 walks. Cameron writes:

The Dodgers almost certainly won't give up on him due to his outstanding athletic ability, but his strike zone judgment is beyond repair, and several scouts suggested that his arm is the only one they have seen that compares to (Pittsburgh prospect Jeremy) Harts'. Barring a Jeff Pentland-inspired miracle, Abercrombie won't make it as a major league hitter, but it would be a shame to see his career end before we saw what he could do on the mound.

The Dodgers are obviously game for a switch - but I think the reason that might hold them back from a switch has less to do with Abercrombie's power and speed than the bare organizational outfield cupboard. If they add a strong major league outfielder, then perhaps they would consider it.

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