Top 10 Rookies

April 04, 1991|By Peter Schmuck

* HENSLEY MEULENS (OF) -- The New York Yankees don't have a lot to look forward to, but they do have one of the most promising young outfielders in the American League. He'll bat fifth and play left field after a spring as one of the club's most productive hitters.

* SCOTT CHIAMPARINO (RHP) -- The Texas Rangers acquired Chiamparino from the Oakland Athletics in the Harold Baines trade. Chiamparino wouldn't have made the A's rotation, but he'll pitch in Arlington. He had a 2.63 ERA in six major-league starts last year.

* MARK WHITEN (OF) -- One of the best young players in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, but might have to establish his major-league credentials somewhere else. His name has come up in trade talks with a number of teams and there doesn't appear to be room for him in the Jays outfield.

* LEO GOMEZ (3B) -- May not be in the starting lineup on Opening Day, but could play a major role with the Baltimore Orioles before the 1991 season is over. The best power prospect in the organization, he didn't do anything to dispute that during spring training.

* PHIL PLANTIER (OF) -- The Boston Red Sox have an outfield alignment of Mike Greenwell, Ellis Burks and Tom Brunansky, but they would not part with Plantier after he hit 33 home runs in Class AAA last year. Many teams tried to pry him away during the off-season.

* CHRIS HAMMOND (LHP) -- The Cincinnati Reds are ready to see if Hammond, 25, can have the kind of success at the major-league level that he had in the minor leagues. He was 15-1 with a 2.17 ERA for the Class AAA Nashville Sounds last year, but did not pitch well in a brief stay with the Reds last September.

* LUIS GONZALEZ (IF) -- The Houston Astros are the right team at the right time if you happen to be a promising young player. They are starting over and Gonzalez figures to be a big part of the rebuilding process.

* RAY LANKFORD (OF) -- Lankford is one of the reasons the St. Louis Cardinals were willing to let Vince Coleman go. He has power and speed, but will have to improve in both areas to have a breakthrough season.

* BERNARD GILKEY (OF) -- The Cardinals are starting over, but at least they have some good young players to begin with. Gilkey hit .295 for Class AAA Louisville last year and .297 in a brief stay at the major-league level.

* GARY SCOTT (3B) -- The Chicago Cubs spent the off-season looking for third-base help and ended up finding it under their noses. Scott came out of nowhere to win the job this spring.

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