Alex Liddi Takes Batting Practice (Video) | The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog | MLB, Fantasy, College & High School Baseball News

Alex Liddi Takes Batting Practice (Video)

The Seattle Mariners signed 16-year old Alex Liddi as a non-drafted free agent in September, 2005.  Hailing from Italy, Liddi was the first Italian-born position player to play in the United States and now, at 22, has a shot at cracking the Mariners’ 2011 line-up.

In his first professional season, Liddi posted slashes of .291/.329/.450 with 14 doubles, six triples, and three home runs, and 27 RBI while splitting time between the Peoria Mariners and Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.  While playing for Peoria, Liddi hit safely in 34 of 47 games, recorded eight three-hit games, and had an eight game hitting streak.

At only 18-years old, Liddi played the entire 2007 season at Single-A, appearing in 113 games for the Timber Rattlers.  There, he hit .240 with 28 doubles, three triples, and eight home runs while driving in 52.  However, he also exhibited a lack of plate discipline, evidenced by his 123 strikeouts compared to only 36 walks.  In the field, Liddi manned the hot corner for the Rattlers, ultimately committing 27 errors in 268 chances(.899 Fld%).  Still, despite the high error total, he received praise for his footwork and instincts.

Much like his 2007 campaign, Liddi produced eerily similar numbers in 2008, his second full season, playing in 125 games for Single-A Wisconsin.  At 19-years of age, Liddi slashed .244/.313/.360, smacking 26 doubles, four triples, six home runs, and driving in 53 runs.  His strikeout to walk ratio remained about same, as he struck out 115 times, compared to 42 walks, in 496 at-bats.  Although he did commit 18 errors at third base, Liddi made significant strides in his defense considering that he had 318 chances; his .943 Fld% was a drastic improvement from 2007’s .899.  His improvements did not go unrecognized as he was invited to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.

Then, in 2009, Liddi had the breakout season the Mariners had hoped for when they signed him four years prior.  Playing in 129 games for High-A High Desert, Liddi posted a 1.005 OPS(.345/.411/.594) that included 44 doubles, five triples, and 23 home runs, while also driving in 104 runs.  His .345 batting average tied him with Koby Clemens for the highest mark in the California League, and he also finished in the top-5 in hits, doubles, OBP%, SLG%, extra-base hits, and runs scored.  He was subsequently named to the California League All-Star Team and was selected to play in the Futures Game in July.

However, Liddi’s honors didn’t end there as he was named both the MVP of the California League and the Seattle Mariners’ Minor League Player of the Year, as well as the organization’s Player of the Year by  He also played for Team Italy in the Word Baseball Classic in March, 2009.

He received a promotion to Double-A West Tennessee prior to the start of the 2010 campaign and although he didn’t quite repeat the monstrous success of 2009, Liddi had a solid season hitting .281/.353/.476 for the Diamond Jaxx.  Considering the level of talent at Double-A, his 37 doubles, eight triples, 15 home runs, and 92 RBI were on par with his production from 2009; the dip in batting average is a result of his 145 strikeouts, compared to just 50 walks, in 502 at-bats.

Liddi’s defense was still rather concerning, as he committed 27 errors in 297 chances while playing third base for the Diamond Jaxx.  Therefore, he began playing some first base as a way to keep to his bat in the lineup and presumably create more options for the Mariners.

Although his defense at third base is still suspect, Liddi will be vying for the position come Spring Training.  And with the departure of Jose Lopez, the Mariners’ decision as to whether they will play Chone Figgins at second or third base, as well as their plan for fellow prospect Dustin Ackley, will ultimately determine when we will see Alex Liddi in the Major Leagues.

Here is a video of Liddi taking a couple rounds of batting practice before the California League All-Star Game in 2009:

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