In a (non-subscribers-only) chat on the fall leagues, BA's Chris Kline says the most extraordinary thing about his expectations for Velez in 2008:
Q: Mark from Skokie asks: Who of the AFL National League prospects do you see making the biggest impact in 2008?
A: Chris Kline: Eugenio Velez, Giants; Sam Fuld, Cubs; Matt Antonelli, Padres; and I'll go out on a limb and say that Rockies lefty Sean Thompson could be a bullpen fit.
Q: Russ from Chicago asks: Matt Antonelli has not fared very well thus far in the AFL. With Marcus Giles not coming back to San Diego next year, what are Antonelli's chances of even having a realistic shot of claiming the 2B job this coming spring?
A: Chris Kline: Going back to the last answer, I think it's very realistic.
I include the second question, about Antonelli, because it clarifies what Kline means by impact - he expects Velez to start for the Giants next year. Wow. Add this to the Kline article that keenlow posted in his diary a few days ago (NL scout even lauding Velez' defensive skills at 2b (!) and expecting him to spend all of 2008 in SF), and its dizzying. But, but... despite his breakout season at Augusta he didn't make BA's Giants top-30 list coming into this year; and just a month ago John Manuel didn't even include Velez on his Eastern League top-20 list; and during his September callup I remember an article about the coaches working with Velez on his serious defensive deficiencies at 2b, especially his throwing.
Eugenio Velez starting for the Giants at 2b next year and leading off? Now there's an exciting thought. Man, I hope Chris Kline isn't just messing with us.