While flipping through The Prospect Book 2007 By John Sickels, I came across a minor leaguer who has been on my radar for two years, Colorado Rockies OF Seth Smith. What struck me was the dramatic decrease in strikeouts from his 2005 season in High A to those in AA Tulsa. He improved from 115 to 74 with an attendent increase in bases-on-balls from 44 to 51.
His HRs are still unnoteworthy at 15 in AA, but those did increase from 9 the previous year. What is more exciting are the 46 doubles he hit in 2006 after stroking 45 the year before. One needn't read too much about power projection to come across the number of doubles hit as a predictor of future HRs. To still get 45+ while increasing his HRs 67% has to mean something.
I consider Smith a very deep sleeper in 2007 and a deep sleeper for 2008 and beyond. If it weren't for Matt Holliday and Brad Hawpe, two players with four or so years until free agency, and Jeff Baker already on the major league roster, I'd upgrade those sleeper status. With Joe Kashansky ready to fill-in at 1B in the event of a Helton injury, Ian Stewart blocked at 3B by Garrett Atkins, and a forgotten OBP CF in Jeff Salazar rotting at AAA, Smith may just need to be traded.
He is not included on John Sickels Top 50 Hitters, Scouts Incs Top 25 and Honorable Mentions. Nor is he included on Baseball Notebook's Top 100. There isn't any info available from Baseball America yet. (If you have their handbook providing that would be appreciated.) Still he looks very interesting.