The recent trade of catcher Ramon Hernandez from Baltimore to Cincinnati did more than free up a spot for top catching prospect Matt Wieters. The trade also saved a little bit of cash for Baltimore and it netted the organization some minor league depth with the acquisition of prospects Justin Turner and Brandon Waring.
Turner, a middle infielder who has played mostly second base in his pro career, has done nothing but hit since signing out of Cal State Fullerton as a seventh-round draft pick in 2006. In three seasons, he has a career batting average of .310.
Last season, Turner batted .316/.372/.390 with an ISO of .074 in 136 High-A at-bats before being promoted to Double-A. At the higher level, Turner managed a line of .286/.364/.432 with an ISO of .143 in 280 at-bats. He also posted rates of 10.5 BB% and 19.3 K%.
The 24-year-old second baseman is likely half a season away from being ready to contribute at the Major League level and he adds much-needed middle infield depth to the upper levels of the minor league system.
Waring is a powerful player. Drafted in the seventh round of the 2007 draft out of a small college, the third baseman slugged 20 home runs in 68 rookie league games. In 2008, the 22-year-old moved up to A-ball and hit another 20 home runs in 119 games.
Waring also posted a line of .270/.335/.467 with an ISO of .197 in 441 at-bats. He struck out an alarming 35.4 percent of the time, while walking at a rate of 8.9 percent. His current approach at the plate suggests he will not hit for average as he nears the Majors. There are also questions about his defence and he may be unable to remain at third base, which would hurt his overall value – especially with Baltimore struggling to find a future option at that position.
Cincinnati was able to part with Waring due to the presence of third base prospects Juan Francisco, who was recently added to the 40-man roster, and Todd Frazier, who was the club’s supplemental first round draft pick in 2007. Turner was expendable for the Reds because of a glut of middle infield talent, including Chris Valaika, Adam Rosales, Paul Janish, and Zack Cozart.
Prior to the trade, neither Turner nor Waring was considered to be among Cincinnati’s top 10 prospects.
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