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Miles Head: Oakland-bound Prospect

With the trade of Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to Boston in exchange for Josh Reddick and a pair of minor leaguers, one of the questions A’s fans are asking is, “Who is Miles Head?” The short answer is that Head is a mid-level prospect who would have been ranked in the 15-20 range among Red Sox farmhands by most publications in the coming days. A more detailed description will tell you that…

…Miles Head can hit a baseball. The 20-year-old first baseman proved that last summer, bashing his way to one of the best seasons of anyone in the Red Sox system. Splitting the year between low-A Greenville and high-A Salem, he emerged as a legitimate prospect by hitting .299/.372/.515, with 37 doubles and 22 home runs.

Most people didn’t realize he was that good. The native of Brooks, Georgia had been drafted in 2009, in the 26th round, and prior to last year he was just another fresh-faced kid trying to figure out professional pitching. His 2010 season in short-season Lowell yielded just a .240 average and only one home run. Apparently, he was only getting his feet wet.

According to Ben Crockett, Boston’s director of player development, the breakthrough was less of a surprise than it was a matter of maturation.

“Miles is a lot like Brandon Jacobs,” said Crockett, comparing Head to one of the most-highly-regarded players in the Red Sox system. “They followed a very similar path from 2010 to 2011. He was kind of a raw high-school hitter who took the steps forward last year that were envisioned when he was drafted, much like Jacobs. He’s physically not going to be in the mold of your traditional body that scouts love — he’s not going to win any beauty contests — but the guy can hit. He can get the barrel to the baseball.”

Listed at 6-foot, 215 lbs., Head is a shorter and stockier version of Kevin Millar, profiling as an average-at-best defender with a dangerous bat. Opinions on his glove work are mixed, with some scouts saying he has a chance to become an adequate first baseman, while others feel he lacks the agility and will be limited to the DH position.

According to Jim Callis of Baseball America, that makes Head a challenging player to project.

“His year was so good,” said Callis. “I do think he can hit, but he’s limited to playing first base and you just don’t see that many 5-foot-10, 5-foor-11 first basemen in the big leagues. You look at tools, and you look at performance, and he’s a really tough profile because of that. He’s going to have to hit, but like I said, he can hit.”

Therein lays the challenge: Is Head’s bat good enough to carry him all the way to the big leagues? Based on what he showed last season, you might not want to bet against it. Miles Head can hit a baseball, and after today’s deal he will be doing so in the Oakland organization.