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The Linden Conundrum

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The occupation of Giants outfield prospect has historically offered a bleaker future than drummers for Spinal Tap, but Todd Linden was going to take a stand, damnit. Linden was plopped in AA right out of college, and he started to hit. He was going to be the chosen one.

Then he realized he was an outfield prospect for the Giants. It was similar to the Wily E. Coyote cartoons where Wily realizes there is no earth under his feet, plummeting a quarter-mile to the canyon below. His strikeouts went up, the average went down. The power never developed quite as expected, and he struck over a billion times in this past Winter League. His star wasn't exactly something bright enough to read a book by in bed.

So, what do we make of this year's version of Todd Linden? He isn't just having a better year than last. He isn't just taking steps in the right direction. He's annihilating the Pacific Coast League like no Giants prospect in recent memory. As of last night, he's hitting .300/.441/.628. Where his on-base percentage was once fair compared to his batting average, it's now a huge strength. And, oh, that power. Thirteen homers and 15 doubles in 180 at-bats, with no significant spike in strikeouts. That's a spicy meatball.

If this is the Linden we're getting, it would answer a whole mess of questions. Moises Alou is going to be here next year, but he and -- hope hope -- Barry Bonds will need some spry legs to give them rest, and there'll be plenty of at-bats for Linden. Do you think this is a mirage, or do we have a legitimate shot at a homegrown outfielder finally breaking the Marvin Benard Threshold?