With the Mariners embroiled in controversy and poor play, let’s look at another one of the guys who could be helping them in a year or two:
16. Alex Liddi
Position: 3B | Hits: R Throws: R
DOB: 8/14/1988 | HT: 6’4″ WT: 230 LB
Notes: Liddi is a prospect who’s a bit of a conundrum. He had a huge season in High Desert in 2009 after two mediocre years in the Midwest League, then backed it up with a solid 2010 in AA. There’s still a lot of doubt and question about him, however.
One thing that Liddi brings to the table well is power. It’s not elite power, but it’s above average; it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest to see him hit 25 homers on a regular basis once he hits his prime. Added to that is a fair eye at the plate and a decent approach, which is all good to see in a young player. He’s also got a great arm for a third baseman, able to whip the ball across the diamond in time to get a lot of faster runners who’d otherwise be safe.
Unfortunately, Liddi’s arm isn’t enough to make him a premium defender at the hot corner. He’s actually a below-average defender there on a whole, and is, in my opinion, worse there than everyone’s favorite third base defense punching bag, Matt Mangini. Liddi has hands of stone, poor reflexes, bad footwork, and range that’s only average at the position. His best defensive position would probably be first base, and his bat doesn’t project nearly as well there as it does at third.
The other problem with Liddi is that while his swing generates good power, it’s a very long one with a bit of a slow trigger to it. That leaves him vulnerable to pitchers who get good velocity and/or movement on their pitches. Guys with long swings do find success at times in the majors, especially when they’re willing to work the count and take walks, but it’s always a gamble.
One interesting thing that the M’s could do with Liddi to try and maximize his value would be to shift him to the outfield. I have no idea if he can read fly balls well, but his bat would play fine in the corners, and his arm is strong enough to make all the throws he’d need. Whether it happens or not is yet to be seen, but with the corner infield logjam the M’s have brewing in the upper minors and lack of good OF depth in those same levels, it does make some sense.
The clock is now firmly ticking for Liddi, though, as he’s now on the 40-man roster, as one of the players that the organization protected from the Rule V draft last winter.
2011 Outlook: Spends all of season with Tacoma unless injuries necessitate a callup.
Major League ETA: Mid 2012