Player Profile: Rocco Baldelliposted by Jon Williams
Assuming Rocco Baldelli is back to 100% he should be a solid player for 2006. It is tough to assume he's healthy after the bad luck Baldelli experienced last year. I'm basing my optimism on the large contract the D'Rays gave him after missing the entire 2005 season with a torn ACL and then Tommy John Surgery in July. What worries me most is the possible loss of speed after his injuries. Back to normal I'd feel comfortable predicting a .280/20/80/25 season. He doesn't draw many walks but was making progress on controlling strikeouts before getting hurt. If he can play he'll be the D'Ray centerfielder.
As Baldelli flashed thru the minors he was often compared to Yankee Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio. He probably should have been the 2003 American League Rookie of the Year. He faced stiff competition from Hideki Matsui and Angel Berroa. Many belive that players coming from the Japanese leagues shouldn't be elidgible for the ROY award. Berroa had a good season but turned out to be a one hit wonder. Despite his injuries the Devil Rays signed Baldelli to a six year $32 million contract.
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