Name: Brett Dowdy
DOB: February 22, 1982
Originally acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers for Todd Donovan, Dowdy saw action at three levels in 2006.
A throwback player who thrives on the dirty work, Dowdy began the year in High-A Lake Elsinore. After 12 games, five different positions played (not including one game as the designated hitter), and a .350 average, he was moved up to Double-A Mobile.
While he had a four-game stint in Triple-A, he called the BayBears his home for most of the year. In 70 games, Dowdy hit .260 with 36 runs scored. He again lined up at five different positions, spending the majority of his time at third base after Brett Bonvechio was lost for the season.
Dowdy doesn't have much power but is a good contact hitter who can move runners over and execute a hit-and-run. He has also improved his bunting skills and while he lacks the perfection to bunt for a base hit he can sacrifice a runner over.
The utility man is adept at working the count and walks nearly as much as he strikes out, showing good patience. He understands the role of a leadoff hitter and was a sparkplug when he began an inning.
The Florida native is a ground ball hitter that doesn't use the opposite field as often as he should, and tapping out to shortstop is more common than he would care to admit. He has success when he goes with the pitch and doesn't try to pull the ball, shooting line drives the other way for base hits.
Dowdy is an aggressive baserunner that routinely has second base on his mind if he hits the gaps. He doesn't have stolen base speed but is heady on the basepaths and will look to exploit a pitcher who doesn't keep a watchful eye on him.
"Once you make contact you have to think about getting down there as hard as you can and think about getting an extra base if possible," Dowdy said.
The "Sandlot Kid" is a sure defender with a good pair of hands and nice range. Most of his errors came at third base, perhaps his weakest position. He doesn't have the cannon arm associated with the position but is no falldown defender, showing good agility to make plays towards the bag and shortstop.
Second base is his best position, showcasing his footwork and exchange fundamentals.
In the outfield, Dowdy isn't well versed in reads off the bat but has shown he can makeup the difference by taking smarter routes to the ball. He is more of a spot outfielder because baserunners can take advantage of his arm.
"If I want to keep playing I need to get into the weight room and I have to get stronger," Dowdy added. "If I don't want to play and don't get in the weight room, my career won't be lasting too much longer. I am going to have to get stronger and bigger for down the road."
ETA: Dowdy hit it on the nose when he admitted his strength deficiency. Power is something that everyone seems to possess in the major leagues and Dowdy has to show more doubles power. His versatility is an asset, especially at the minor league level, but is it enough to get him to the majors?