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Navarro: The Next Lo Duca or the Next Pena?
2005-01-03 14:31
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Does potential Dodger catching prospect Dioner Navarro remind anyone else of a younger Paul Lo Duca - except with switch-hitting ability and better defensive skills?

Based on this detailed analysis from John Sickels at ESPN.com, Navarro - like Lo Duca - appears to offer nothing special in the walks or power department, but maintains a steady batting average and puts the ball in play. And he tops out at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds - Lo Duca is listed at 5-10, 185.

"[Navarro] has a short and compact stroke from both sides of the plate," Sickels writes. "He doesn't have a lot of home run power, since his swing is level and not tailored for loft. He hits quite a few doubles, and more home runs may come eventually. Navarro shows good command of the strike zone and will take a walk if offered. He does not strike out much, and with his quick swing is difficult to overpower.

For now, Navarro's offense probably remains at least a year away - he posted Minor League Equivalent Averages near .200 last season. (Recent minor league free agent signee Mike Rose, by comparison, was at .231.)

Perhaps the biggest key is this: Navarro appeared in 2004 to have a slight but, for now, correctible work ethic issue, one that will probably determine whether he becomes the next Lo Duca or the next Angel Pena.

(Of course, Lo Duca didn't become Lo Duuuuuuuca until he was 29. Believe it or not, Angel Pena, out of the majors since 2001, is still only 29 years old himself. Navarro turns 21 in five weeks.)

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