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O's minor leaguers in '08 -- Left fielders

There's no question that the best left fielder in the Orioles' minor league system in 2008 was Lou Montanez. The 26-year-old outfielder won the Triple Crown in the Eastern League – and he accomplished the feat despite being in the major leagues for the final three weeks of the minor league season.

Since being promoted to the Orioles in early August, Montanez has batted .299 with three home runs, 14 RBIs and 18 runs scored in 36 games. While he's still learning how to play defensively in left field, it looks like Montanez will play a role in the future of the organization.

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The Chicago Cubs originally drafted Montanez as a shortstop out of high school in the 2000 MLB draft. He had a .282 career batting average with 85 home runs and 495 RBIs in nine minor league seasons before getting an opportunity to play in the major leagues.

Montanez batted .335 with 26 home runs and 97 RBIs in 116 games for the Bowie Baysox. He had 32 doubles, five triples and scored 90 runs. Montanez committed four errors and had eight outfield assists for the Baysox this season.

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Although Montanez stole most of the spotlight at the position, a couple of players with major league experience had solid seasons in left field for the Norfolk Tides.

Luis Terrero, who played for the Orioles in 2006, batted .274 with 13 home runs and 88 RBIs for the Tides. Tike Redman, who was a member of the Orioles last season, hit .292 with 13 stolen bases and 77 runs scored in 116 games for Norfolk.

I don't think there will be any disagreement over the first player in my list of left fielders, but how do you think the others should be ranked? Here's how I'd order the left fielders in the Orioles' minor league system based on this season's statistics:

1. Lou Montanez

2. Luis Terrero

3. Tike Redman

4. Robbie Widlansky

5. Chris Amador

Prior to this year, Montanez had his best season in 2005 when he hit .293 with 14 home runs and 62 RBIs while splitting time between the Single-A Peoria Chiefs and the Double-A West Tenn Diamond Jaxx.

Terrero finished tied for third in the International League in RBIs and finished tied with Oscar Salazar for the most home runs on the team. He also had the most triples (eight) for Norfolk and trailed only Salazar in doubles (31).

Redman had 19 doubles and 36 RBIs for Norfolk. It's unlikely that the 31-year-old outfielder will make a significant impact in the major leagues, but he deserves credit for putting together a solid season for the Tides. Redman split time between left field, center field and designated hitter in 2008. He played the most games (57) in left field, so that's why I listed him in this set of rankings.

Widlansky played well for the Aberdeen IronBirds this season, but the 23-year-old outfielder struggled in 12 games with the Delmarva Shorebirds. Widlansky, who was selected by the Orioles in the 11th round of the 2007 draft, batted .279 with four home runs, 10 doubles and 29 RBIs in 43 games for Aberdeen. He only hit .222 with three doubles and two RBIs for Delmarva.

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Amador, who the Orioles acquired from the Chicago Cubs during the 2007 season, batted .241 with nine home runs and 62 RBIs in 112 games for the Frederick Keys. He had 21 doubles and 15 stolen bases, which helped him to edge out Delmarva left fielder Kieron Pope in my rankings. Pope batted .232 with 12 home runs and 45 RBIs in 107 games for the Shorebirds.

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