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Profile: Matt LaPorta
photo: Matt LaPorta   
Name: Matt LaPorta
Height/Weight: 6-1 / 215
Date of Birth: 1/8/85
School: Florida Rank: 7
LaPorta has more power potential than any other '06 draft eligible candidate, and it's not only potential, as he led the entire nation in home runs last spring with 26, propelling the Gators to the College World Series Championship against the Texas Longhorns. He was named the SEC Player of the Year, and after his impressive sophomore campaign, expect opposing teams to pitch around him during his junior year. He has natural and easy loft to his swing and a strong, powerful frame. LaPorta is prone to strikeouts, but he is also going to work the count to draw a considerable number of walks. Hitting for contact may be somewhat of an issue for LaPorta, but he's far from Dave Kingman. Pat Burrell may be a good comparison for LaPorta at a similar stage in their respective college careers. They are also similar in that LaPorta was brought to Florida as a catcher, but has since been moved to first base. The team claims he was moved due to the presence of Brian Jerolman, but LaPorta's future was likely on an infield or outfield corner anyway. He does have a very strong throwing arm and solid footwork for his size. The Gators plan to play LaPorta at third base a little bit this season as well. Despite this perceived versatility, LaPorta is most likely a first baseman at the professional level, but it won't be because he can't play anywhere else, more that he profiles the best there. In a year lacking in impact bats, LaPorta factors to go very early in June's draft.

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