Prospect Profile: Andre Ethier

Prospect Profile: Andre Ethier

Andre Ethier can flat out hit. After dominating the junior college circuit at Chandler-Gilbert CC, Ethier transferred to Arizona State University, where he was one of the top Pac-10 hitters. The Phoenix, AZ native starred for his hometown school, compiling a career collegiate batting average of .371. He was first-team All-Pac-10 during both of his seasons as a Sun Devil. He was also an honorable mention All-American during his final season.

All of these accomplishments served to entice the A's to use a second round pick on Ethier in 2003, although their interest in the rangy left-hander had been piqued years earlier when Oakland had selected him in the 37th round of the 2001 draft.

Andre Ethier, 6'3'', 195, Career Statistics

Year

Team

Lg

Age

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

BB

K

XBH

2003

VAN

NW

21

.390

.444

.610

41

16

4

1

1

3

3

6

2003

KCTY

MID

21

.272

.355

.333

162

44

10

0

0

19

25

10

2004

MOD

CAL

22

.313

.383

.442

419

131

23

5

7

45

64

35



It is easy to see what Oakland likes about Ethier. He has an intelligent approach to his at-bats, as he works the count well and makes consistent contact. Ethier is also an excellent defensive outfielder. He was a centerfielder in college and managed to be named ASU's Outstanding Defensive Player despite having only average speed in center. Ethier has good outfield instincts and, while he probably won't be a centerfielder at the major league level, he has the ability to be a solid defensive corner outfielder.

The A's enthusiasm for Ethier has been justified by his play as a professional. He began his career at short-season Vancouver and was so effective during his first 10 games that he earned an early promotion to low-A Kane County. His production fell off a little bit with the Cougars but he showed enough to be promoted to high-A Modesto in 2004.

Ethier was two-thirds of the way through an outstanding season at Modesto when the first significant speed-bump in his career occurred. In late July, Ethier developed a stress fracture in his back and was sidelined for the rest of the season. Before the injury, however, Ethier was among the California League leaders in hits and batting average. Ethier was on a 214 hit pace for a 162-game season. He had also posted a solid .383 OBP.

Although Ethier could have used the last six weeks of the season to develop, the back injury shouldn't be a big hindrance for Ethier on his path to the major leagues. A hard-worker, Ethier rehabbed diligently this off-season and reported to camp healthy. He recently made appearances in two major league spring training games and drew praise from Oakland manager Ken Macha for his approach at the plate.

Ethier should start the season in AA-Midland. The A's will be watching his 2005 season closely to see if he can develop more power in his swing. If there has been one criticism of Ethier's offensive game thus far in his career, it has been his power. Although many scouts believe Ethier has the potential to be a 20+ homerun hitter at the major league level, he has yet to show that kind of power in the minors. Ethier goes well the other-way and tends to look to spray the ball to the opposite field rather than driving the ball. Many scouts believe that he will learn to drive the ball as he gains more experience and upper-body strength.

Ethier has good plate-coverage and balance, which allows him to wait longer on pitches. Consequently, he is not fooled by pitches that often. Right now, Ethier projects to be a poor man's Mark Kotsay. However, if he develops more power, Ethier's game could end up resembling a poor man's Brian Giles.

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