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Prospect De Aza proving his worth

Hollyberry

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VIERA ? That first season in the Dominican Summer League, Alejandro De Aza attempted 16 steals and was caught nine times. Tough to believe now, but he wasn't notably fast as a recently signed 17-year-old with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He ran a 7.2 60-yard dash. In the years since, he's trimmed a full second off that time and in the process put himself on a fast track to the big leagues.
De Aza almost certainly won't be the center fielder when the Marlins open the season April 2 at Washington. That's not to say he won't make his major league debut at some point this season.

"At worst, if he doesn't make this club he's given us the confidence that if something happens during the course of the year I have no problem bringing him up," said manager Fredi Gonzalez, who watched De Aza go 1 for 4 with a stolen base in Sunday's 3-1 win over the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium.

"Something good always happens when he comes in. He can lay the bunt down. He can handle the bat. He brings energy."

The Marlins selected De Aza in the minor league phase of the 2004 Rule 5 Draft. He missed more than two months with a wrist contusion last season and still garnered a spot in the Double-A Southern League All-Star Game.

"They say I'm still young and I have a good future ahead of me," said De Aza, who turns 22 on April 11. "I've fought hard. I just have to do my job and they'll know what to do with me."

Since joining the Marlins, De Aza has been successful on 64 of 94 stolen base attempts. He's also totaled a respectable 83 walks and 137 strikeouts in 200 games.

"[Stealing bases] is going to be a big part of my game and I like to do it," De Aza said.

"Every day I learn new things. At every level it gets tougher to steal bases. Whenever I hear anybody talking about stolen bases I listen to know how I can do it better."

Though only 69 of his 464 career games have come above the Class A level, De Aza says he's prepared for the ultimate step.

"I'm ready physically and mentally for that [jump]," he said. "Since I've played winter ball two years now in the Dominican, that's helped me a lot because I've played with many big-league players and I'm more familiar with them.

"I think I'm ready for it."
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/basebal...-sports-marlins
 

Bucklin12

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VIERA ? That first season in the Dominican Summer League, Alejandro De Aza attempted 16 steals and was caught nine times. Tough to believe now, but he wasn't notably fast as a recently signed 17-year-old with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He ran a 7.2 60-yard dash. In the years since, he's trimmed a full second off that time and in the process put himself on a fast track to the big leagues.
De Aza almost certainly won't be the center fielder when the Marlins open the season April 2 at Washington. That's not to say he won't make his major league debut at some point this season.

"At worst, if he doesn't make this club he's given us the confidence that if something happens during the course of the year I have no problem bringing him up," said manager Fredi Gonzalez, who watched De Aza go 1 for 4 with a stolen base in Sunday's 3-1 win over the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium.

"Something good always happens when he comes in. He can lay the bunt down. He can handle the bat. He brings energy."

The Marlins selected De Aza in the minor league phase of the 2004 Rule 5 Draft. He missed more than two months with a wrist contusion last season and still garnered a spot in the Double-A Southern League All-Star Game.

"They say I'm still young and I have a good future ahead of me," said De Aza, who turns 22 on April 11. "I've fought hard. I just have to do my job and they'll know what to do with me."

Since joining the Marlins, De Aza has been successful on 64 of 94 stolen base attempts. He's also totaled a respectable 83 walks and 137 strikeouts in 200 games.

"[Stealing bases] is going to be a big part of my game and I like to do it," De Aza said.

"Every day I learn new things. At every level it gets tougher to steal bases. Whenever I hear anybody talking about stolen bases I listen to know how I can do it better."

Though only 69 of his 464 career games have come above the Class A level, De Aza says he's prepared for the ultimate step.

"I'm ready physically and mentally for that [jump]," he said. "Since I've played winter ball two years now in the Dominican, that's helped me a lot because I've played with many big-league players and I'm more familiar with them.

"I think I'm ready for it."
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/basebal...-sports-marlins


Thanks Holly... I really really love this kid. I know he isn't a phenom by any means, but I definitely believe he can be a productive Major Leaguer who brings some crazy energy. I went to the game yesterday and could not wait for all the Hoovers and Boones to finish their AB's so I could watch De Aza. When you see him, you just believe something not utterly disappointing will happen. I hope the Marlins treat him right.
 

Eddie Altamonte

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BIG JUMP'

Alejandro De Aza received the start in center Sunday, though it appears the Marlins are thinking long range for the left-handed hitter from the Dominican Republic. De Aza has been impressive this spring, hitting .333 and stealing four bases.

But De Aza, 22, might require more seasoning in the minors. He spent about half of last season at Double A Carolina, hitting .278 with 27 stolen bases.

''Something good always happens when he comes to the plate,'' Gonzalez said. ``He brings energy to the game.''

Gonzalez said he thought De Aza could be an everyday player in the majors ``eventually.''

''It'll be a big jump [from the minors to the Marlins at this point] and he's a guy, at worst, if he doesn't make this club this time, he's given us the confidence that if something happens during the course of the year, we've got no problem bringing him up,'' the manager said.

Gonzalez is still focusing on Eric Reed and Alex Sanchez, though to start in center field.

http://www.miamiherald.com/588/story/45670.html
 

Eddie Altamonte

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http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/articl...sp&c_id=fla

De Aza dazzling Marlins
03/20/2007 10:00 AM ET
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

JUPITER, Fla. -- Mention the name Alejandro De Aza in the Marlins' clubhouse, and the praises begin pouring out from every level of the organization.
Since the start of Spring Training, the 22-year-old Dominican Republic native arguably has been the biggest surprise in camp.

Still a longshot to make the Opening Day roster, De Aza certainly has raised his stock as a center-field option for the franchise down the line.

"He's a baseball player," hitting coach Jim Presley said. "He does everything well, offensively and defensively."

Manager Fredi Gonzalez gushes about De Aza, noting he brings "energy" to the club.

A case in point came on Sunday in a 3-1 win against the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla.

Washington starter John Patterson held the Marlins hitless until the third inning. Trailing by a run, De Aza stepped up in the eighth hole and singled to center. He then stole second and advanced to third on Anibal Sanchez's sacrifice bunt.

Hanley Ramirez's RBI double tied the score, and after Mike Jacobs belted a two-run homer, the Marlins had all the runs they needed to preserve the victory.

De Aza started in center field that day, and he's showing signs that if he opens the season at Double-A Carolina, which is expected, he isn't far away from making the Major League leap.

"It would be a big jump," Gonzalez said for a player who only played 69 games at Double-A one year ago. "He's a guy, at worst, if he doesn't make this club, he's given us the confidence that if something happens over the course of the year that I've got no problems bringing him up."

Asked if he could be an everyday center fielder, Gonzalez said: "I think eventually."

Filling the center-field spot is the biggest position-player opening on the roster. Alex Sanchez and Eric Reed are the front-runners now, with Sanchez an early favorite based on his past big-league experience.

In time, De Aza may project to be the answer in center, plus he can play the corner outfield positions as well.

"I think he's going to be really good," said Cody Ross, another outfield candidate. "He has all the tools, and he has a lot of energy. And he's a great guy."
Realistically, De Aza wasn't expected to still be in camp this late into spring. Yet, based on his strong performance, he has the club wanting to see more.

"Offensively, he has so many tools, it's scary," Presley said. "He can run. He can steal a base. He can bunt. He can bunt it to third, or he can [drag bunt] it with him. He can hit .300. He's got a little juice. He can put the ball in play. There is not a negative thing about his game, really."

In the field, he's equally impressive.

"He plays the outfield well," Presley added. "He throws pretty good. He plays hard and with intensity. What else can you say about the guy?"

Aside from serious baseball insiders, many people are wondering: "Who is this guy?"

It seems as if De Aza literally came out of nowhere.

Actually, he was signed by the Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent on May 1, 2001. The Marlins selected the lefty-hitting and throwing outfielder in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft in '04.

In 2005, De Aza batted .286 with 34 stolen bases and 75 runs scored at Class A Jupiter.

A year ago, De Aza batted .278 with 12 doubles, two triples, two home runs, 16 RBIs and 27 stolen bases at Double-A. His season was impacted by a right hand injury he incurred while sliding. He was on the disabled list from June 9-Aug. 20.

De Aza doesn't speak much English, but he noted, "The hand hurt my [2006] season a little bit."

Gonzalez isn't hesitant about getting De Aza in the lineup whenever he can.

"We've seen him play defense. Something always good happens when he comes in to play," Gonzalez said. "He can lay the bunt down. He can handle the bat. He brings energy to the game."
 

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