LASATER STAYS ON EVEN KEEL AS HE SEEKS TO MOVE UP MARLINSâ€™ LADDER
GREENSBORO â€“ Itâ€™s a fact of life in minor league baseball that players drafted in the lower rounds need to keep proving themselves.
An organization is going to play, and usually have more patience with, higher-round picks in which it has invested considerable bonus money.
But hard work and consistent production will open some eyes. And thatâ€™s what Ben Lasater, a 29th-round draft pick by the Florida Marlins in 2007, is currently doing.
Lasater, the Hoppersâ€™ first baseman, is in the top 10 in eight South Atlantic League hitting categories as the club entered a doubleheader against Lake County last Friday. Those range from batting average (.325, 8th) to home runs (8, 4th) to doubles (17, tied for 1st) to RBIs (30, 4th) to slugging percentage (.596, 2nd) and a host of categories in between.
â€œBeing a later-round guy you always have to prove yourself,â€ Lasater said, â€œand thatâ€™s my goal â€“ to prove my ability is there so that I can move on. I do feel like I have to prove myself more than a first- or second-rounder.â€
Lasater, who just turned 25, is in his third year in the Marlinsâ€™ system. After he signed in 2007, he spent that summer in the short-season New York-Penn League, hitting .258 with four homers and 19 RBIs in 61 games.
He began last season in extended spring training and got a quick call-up to the Hoppers when first-round draft pick Matt Dominguez had to miss the first six weeks of the season with mononucleosis. Lasater played third base and a little at first in that span, hitting .229 but showing power with seven homers and 24 RBIs in 33 games.
When Dominguez joined the team, Lasater was sent to Jamestown and responded admirably, hitting .324 with nine homers and 41 RBIs in 59 games. His manager there was Darin Everson, now the skipper of the Hoppers.
To read on and enjoy this fine article by Bill Hass formerly of the Greensboro News and Record and now with Bill on Baseball for the Greensboro Grasshoppers, Click Here