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Top 100 Prospects: Nos. 71-75
71 Joey Mahalic Born: Nov. 28, 1988, in Portland, OR Position: Pitcher B/T: R/R HT/WT: 6-3/205 Acquired: 32nd-round pick in 2007 Draft from Wilson HS (OR). Strengths: Sinker and slider get groundball outs. Fastball is in low 90s. An athletic background – dad was an NFL linebacker, mom a college athlete. He's got a steady mound presence. Weaknesses: Too many walks in 2010 as he tried to regain form after missing final four months of 2009 with elbow injury. Must stay compact in delivery, keep front side from flying open. Must keep sinker down and improve his off-speed stuff. 2011 Projection: Needs an impressive spring to earn a spot on crowded staff at Akron; likely back to Kinston to prove himself. 72 Juan Diaz Born: Dec. 12, 1988, in Bani, DR Position: Shortstop B/T: B/R HT/WT: 6-3/180 Acquired: From Seattle, with OF Ezequiel Carrera on June 26, 2010, for 1B Russell Branyan. Strengths: Regarded as good fielder, he showed progress at plate in 2010. Good range and arm in field, fair speed and starting to put some muscle on his frame. Weaknesses: For a "fielder" makes alarming amount of errors, mostly on wild throws. Strikes out way too much and until last summer, did not have much pop at plate. His talent still needs plenty of refinement. 2011 Projection: Starter at Kinston and if he hits, gets a move up to Akron. 73 Marty Popham Born: Aug. 4, 1987, in Louisville, KY Position: Pitcher B/T: R/R HT/WT: 6-6/235 Acquired: 20th-round pick in 2008 Draft from Union College (KY). Strengths: Physically imposing, yet has pinpoint command of fastball, slider and changeup. Has walked only 45 with 221 strikeouts in 224 2-3 innings as a pro. Fastball registers 92 mph, but best pitch is a tight slider. Weaknesses: Must keep pitches low in zone. Fastball isn't strong enough to work up high. Must maintain motion mechanics and work on holding runners close. Devastating against right-handers, so-so against lefties. Unless that changes, he may be switched from starter to relief specialist. 2011 Projection: Pitched at four levels in 2010 and could do so again, seeing most action at Akron. 74 Chris Jones Born: Sept. 19, 1988, in Tampa, FL Position: Pitcher B/T: L/L HT/WT: 6-2/170 Acquired: 15th-round pick in 2007 Draft from Gaither HS (FL). Strengths: Overhand curve is best pitch. Mixes a 90-91 mph fastball with a fair changeup that fades from right-handers. Not bad in rotation, but repertoire likely makes him a better bullpen bet. Weaknesses: Eliminating jerky first motion take-away improves command. He must continually work to repeat his delivery and refine that good curve. He needs experience in all aspects of the game. 2011 Projection: Back to Kinston, though possibly ready for Akron bullpen. 75 Roberto Perez Born: Dec. 23, 1988, in Mayaguez, PR Position: Catcher B/T: R/R HT/WT: 6-0/200 Acquired: 33rd-round pick in 2008 Draft from Lake City (FL) CC. Strengths: Tremendous defensive skills, handles pitchers very well. Has excellent plate patience and an advanced understanding of fundamental baseball. A leader, well-liked by teammates. Weaknesses: Very passive at plate, must gain confidence. Has ability to drive the ball; prefers to draw walks. Defensively, any catcher can always improve game-calling skills with experience. Upside is, he knows it. 2011 Projection: Kinston.
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