Friday, March 07, 2008

Jeff Baker Offers Power for Rockies at Second Base

In an attempt to find playing time, Rockies outfielder Jeff Baker for the past three years has been asking the team to try moving him to second base. Finally, the Rockies may have to start taking Baker seriously.

To increase his lateral quickness over the winter, the 27-year-old former Clemson shortstop and third baseman went on a rigid diet and workout program to shed 20 pounds from his 220-pound, 6-foot-3 frame, and continues to take infield practice up the middle rather than in left field. Though he may not be the slickest middle infielder on the roster, improvements are evident and Baker is the only second base candidate to offer legitimate 20 home run power.

Speculation has Baker overtaking defensive minded former first round pick Jayson Nix for the starting second base job, along with fading candidates Clint Barmes, Omar Quintanilla, Ian Stewart and veteran Marcus Giles. Except for Baker, none has stepped forward to take the job with only three weeks remaining in spring training.