Name: Jeff Natale
POS: Second base
Draft: 32nd round, '05
Projected '07 team: Portland (AA)
Jeff Natale is one of those prospects that is drafted and no one really expects much out of him: except Natale, of course. Natale, a 32nd round pick in 2005, has surpassed all expectations since being named 2005 NESCAC Baseball Player of the Year at Trinity College.
Natale's best asset is his plate presence. Check out some of his numbers from his professional career in Boston:
Although his glove at second base is somewhat frowned upon at this point in his career, Natale works hard at improving his defense:Year Level AB BB SO AVG OBP OB Dif. 2005 A- 160 28 14 .338 .463 .125 2006 A- 175 41 20 .343 .487 .144 2006 A+ 273 62 54 .278 .419 .141
Natale hit 17 home runs (10 in Greenville, 7 in Wilmington) in 2006, thanks in a large part to his patience. His puts counts into his favor and is able to pull the ball with success.
A lot of comparisons can be drawn to Kevin Youkilis, another on-base threat. However, Natale will need to be able to consistently hit Double-A pitching to stay afloat as a prospect. His on-base tendencies should continue as he rises in the ranks, but his defense may make or break him.