Scott Thomas Talanoa
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 5", Weight 240 lb.
Scott Talanoa had two seasons of 25+ home runs in the minors, once leading the league and once falling one shy, but peaked at AAA.
Talanoa wasn't allowed to use an aluminum bat in Little League due to his size; he was already 6 feet tall at age 12. He hit 24 homers using a wood bat instead. In college, he had 80 RBI as a senior, tying Mark Smith, Pedro Grifol, Lou Lucca and Mark Sweeney for 9th in NCAA Division I, 23 ahead of teammate Jason Giambi. Talanoa hit .382 with 67 runs and 12 home runs in 61 games that year and was 4th in the Big West Conference in average in addition to leading in RBI. He was the All-Conference DH and was also chosen as the All-American DH in Collegiate Baseball magazine's first All-American picks. Baseball America went with Brooks Kieschnick instead while the American Baseball Coaches Association selected Gene Schall as their DH.
The Milwaukee Brewers took Talanoa in the 15th round of the 1991 amateur draft. He hit .291/.429/.512 with 29 RBI in 37 games as a part-time DH for the Helena Brewers that summer, also backing up Andy Fairman at 1B. In 1992, the Californian of Samoan descent eked out a .230/.324/.389 line for the Beloit Brewers. He made 17 errors at first base, two behind Midwest League leader Scott Pugh. During 1993, Talanoa returned to Beloit and was much better (.287/.449/.624, 25 HR, 66 RBI, 71 BB in 87 G) before a season-ending injury. Had he qualified, he would have led the MWL in OBP (24 points ahead of Larry Sutton; Scott was 24 plate appearances short), slugging (49 points more than Joe Biasucci) and OPS (108 points ahead of Biasucci). Despite his limited time, he was still second in home runs (one behind Biasucci) and fifth in walks. He was second to Kevin Riggs in RBI by a Milwaukee minor leaguer and led in home runs, 3 ahead of Derek Wachter. He was named the MWL All-Star DH. Baseball America named him as the league's top power prospect.
The Long Beach State alumnus remained productive with the 1994 El Paso Diablos (.259/.380/.506, 28 HR, 77 BB, 89 R, 88 RBI). The team won the Texas League title and Talanoa finished among the TL leaders in OBP (6th, between Jeff Ball and Rodney Lofton), slugging (5th, between Jay Kirkpatrick and Danny Perez), OPS (3rd behind Ball and Bobby Abreu), total bases (219, 4th, between Brad Gennaro and Joel Chimelis), runs (tied for second with Terrell Lowery behind teammate and MVP Tim Unroe), home runs (10 ahead of runner-ups Luis Raven and Kirkpatrick), RBI (3rd behind Unroe and Chris Pritchett), walks (2nd, 15 behind Pritchett) and strikeouts (138, 1st, 23 ahead of Desi Wilson). In the Brewers farm system, he was third in runs (behind Unroe and Perez), led in home runs (5 ahead of Todd Dunn, 13 ahead of #3 Unroe), tied Jonas Hamlin for second in RBI, was second in strikeouts (one behind Ozzie Canseco) and led in walks (one ahead of Mike Basse and Tim Barker). He was named to the All-TL team at DH. Despite those numbers, Baseball America did not pick him as the circuit's top power prospect this time, going with Raven instead.
After the two big years, Talanoa imploded in 1995 with the Diablos (2 for 9, 2 2B, BB) and New Orleans Zephyrs (.143/.206/.214, 1 HR, 3 RBI in 31 G). He opened 1996 poorly for New Orleans (.188/.278/.275 in 32 G) and ended up with the Montreal Expos' Harrisburg Senators (.210/.359/.486, 11 HR in 50 G). Overall, he had hit .243/.367/.465 with 86 home runs, 272 walks, 263 runs and 277 RBI in 472 minor league games. He allowed 6 runs in 5 2/3 IP over 5 pitching appearances. He fielded .979 in 265 games at 1B.
Talanoa later played for the American Samoan national team in the 1999 Oceania Championship (hitting .350, tying Keith Hattig and George Malauulu for 2nd, .035 behind Jim Reyes) and 2003 South Pacific Games (barely playing for the Silver Medalists in the latter event).