Originally created 05/11/02

Seiber powers Jackets to win



Five-tool players are baseball's rarest gems, especially in the depleted Boston Red Sox farm system.

Then there is Augusta GreenJackets leadoff hitter Antron Seiber, who is beginning to show he has more tools than Bob Vila.

Seiber did it all for the Jackets in a 5-2 victory over the South Georgia Waves on Friday night, going 3-for-4 with his first home run while turning in another spectacular diving catch in center field.

For the speedy center fielder, four of the five tools that scouts look for in a prospect were on full display: hitting, power, speed and defense. Seiber didn't get a chance to show off tool No. 5 - his throwing arm - but that's already a known commodity, rated by scouts as the top outfield arm in the organization.

"He showed everything tonight," said Jackets manager Arnie Beyeler. "He beat out an infield single with two strikes after he really battled to put the ball in play; he drove the ball a la Rickey Henderson to lead off the game with a home run, and he played a great center field again tonight."

What's more, he was ill, suffering from flu-like symptoms.

"We'll make sure he shows up sick every night, and go from there," Beyeler said.

But Seiber was the perfect remedy for an anemic Jackets (18-17) offense that entered the game last in the South Atlantic League in hitting with a .217 average.

The 21-year-old set the tone on the first pitch thrown by Waves (19-15) starter Clint Hosford (1-1), turning on a belt-high fastball and depositing it down the left-field line for a 1-0 lead.

With two outs in the fourth and starter Phil Dumatrait cruising along, Seiber showed off his glove which has become his trademark. He got a great jump on a sinking liner to right-center by Waves No. 7 hitter Edwin Bellorin, and caught the ball at full extension to rob him of extra bases.

After enduring a miserable year at the plate with the Jackets last season, batting .223 with 113 strikeouts, Seiber earned a return ticket to the low-A SAL in 2002, but might not be long for Augusta.

"My goal was to get out of here by the All-Star break," said Seiber, referring to his hopes for a promotion to high-A Sarasota.

With three hits Friday he raised his average to .294, tops on the club. He also did not strikeout, which has been one of the factors holding him back since the Red Sox drafted him in the third round in 1999.

Since a rough first two weeks of the season - when he struck out 13 times in his first 49 at-bats - Seiber has whiffed just 16 times in his past 77 at-bats.

"It's been like night and day the last month or so," Seiber said. "I'm learning strike-zone management, and getting in my count now so I can get a pitch I can hit."

For Dumatrait, it was another impressive outing for the promising Red Sox prospect. The left-hander made one mistake, serving up a solo homer to Jason Radwan in the fifth. Otherwise, he was overpowering, striking out a season-high 11 batters while scattering seven hits in seven innings.

NOTES: Former major-league pitcher Rick Honeycutt, a roving minor-league pitching instructor with the Dodgers, was in town with the Waves. ... Waves outfielder Jim Essian is the son of former major-league catcher Jim Essian Sr. ... Former GreenJackets pitcher Dennis Tankersley made his major-league debut for the Padres Friday in Atlanta against the Braves. Tankersley, who blossomed with the Jackets in 2000, was traded by the Red Sox along with shortstop Cesar Saba to San Diego for utilityman Ed Sprague in June 2000. ... The Jackets hit into four double plays, including two by Bryan Barnowski.

Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425.