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Trade Deadline Prospects Ranked, Part 4
Posted By Marc Hulet On August 6, 2009 @ 1:00 pm In Minor Leagues | 23 Comments
At the expiration of the Major League Baseball trading deadline, 35 prospects had changed hands (beginning July 19 with Milwaukee’s acquisition of Felipe Lopez). Over the next week, FanGraphs will take a look at each prospect, while also ranking them individually in value from 35 down to one. Players such as Justin Masterson, Clayton Richard, Kevin Hart, and Jeff Clement were not considered in this list because they have expired their rookie eligibility. However, they can still technically be considered “prospects” because they are young and have yet to establish themselves at the MLB level.
It’s been a slow climb through the minors for Johnson. The former high school drafted pick has struggled with his command and control throughout his career. He’s also working hard to improve his secondary pitches. Johnson spent the majority of his time in the Dodgers’ system this year at high-A, where he allowed 94 hits in 96.2 innings. He also posted rates of 3.91 BB/9 and 9.50 K/9. Prior to the trade, the right-hander made two double-A starts. His stuff would probably be better coming out of the bullpen (He can occasionally hit 93 mph as a starter), where he could focus on one secondary pitch to go with the heater. His ceiling is that of a set-up man or No. 4 starter.
Mortensen, 24, was a supplemental first round draft pick back in 2007 by the St. Louis Cardinals. He doesn’t have star potential, but the right-handed sinker/slider pitcher could be a valuable No. 3 or 4 starter for the Oakland Athletics. In 17 triple-A starts for the Cardinals organization in 2009, Mortensen allowed 103 hits in 105 innings of work. He also posted a walk rate of 2.91 BB/9 and a strikeout rate of 7.03 K/9 – both of which represented significant upgrades over his rates in 15 triple-A appearances in 2008. Since coming over to Oakland’s system, Mortensen has made two starts. He’s allowed nine hits in 11 innings, but he’s also walked seven. An improved changeup could definitely benefit Mortensen, who struggles against left-handed hitter (.303 career average vs LH hitters, .225 vs RHs).
The trade from Boston to Cleveland could really benefit Price, who was blocked by a number of other talented starting pitchers in his former organization. The right-hander began the year in low-A where he allowed 37 hits in 44 innings of work and posted solid walk and strikeout rates. Promoted to high-A, Price’s ERA rose from 2.45 to 6.54 but his FIP was a solid 3.22. The Texan allowed 62 hits in 52.1 innings, while also posting a walk rate of 3.27 and a strikeout rate of 9.80. He had a nice debut in the Cleveland system with six shutout innings in high-A. Price’s repertoire includes a fastball that can touch 95 mph, a plus slider and a changeup. A reliever in college, he has a chance to be a solid No. 3 starter in the Majors.
Barnes is rated a little higher here than many people might expect, but you have to appreciate what he’s done in a very short period of time. The southpaw was nabbed in the eighth round of the 2008 draft out of college after flying under the radar. He had a dominating debut and continued to pitch well in ’09 despite jumping up to high-A in a very good hitter’s league. In 98 innings with the Giants’ club, Barnes allowed 82 hits and posted a walk rate of 2.66 BB/9 and a strikeout rate of 9.09 K/9. He’s handled right-handed hitters very well in his career with a batting average allowed of just .207 (.224 vs LH hitters). Barnes has a very good changeup and deception in his delivery. His fastball works in the upper 80s, but he can touch 91-92 mph. If his curveball can improve a little more, Barnes could very well end up as the steal of the trade deadline.
Roenicke has more MLB experience than any other player on this list and he immediately slid into the Toronto bullpen after the trade. A late bloomer who was 23 years old when he was drafted out of UCLA, the right-hander has a big-time fastball that can touch 99 but sits around 94 mph. He also utilizes a cutter and a slider. Roenicke has the potential to be the Jays’ closer of the future, especially if he can gain more consistency with his control. In 28 triple-A innings in 2009, Roenicke allowed 30 hits while posting a walk rate of 1.93 BB/9 and a strikeout rate of 10.28 K/9. In 15.1 big-league innings, he’s allowed 16 hits, seven walks and 18 Ks. He has yet to allow a homer this year and has allowed just six in 159 pro innings. Roenicke’s younger brother Jason also pitches in the Jays’ system and the family is familiar with Canada, as father Gary played briefly with the Expos.
Marson’s value has taken a bit of a hit in 2009. He’s shown that he can consistently hit for average but the right-handed hitter has struggled to hit the ball with authority. Scouts were already knocking the catcher for his lack of power prior to 2009, but his ISO has dropped from .120 in ’07 to .102 to .076 in ’09. He’s hit just one homer and 14 doubles this year in 228 at-bats. On the plus side, he continues to get on base via the walk (12.4 BB%) and keeps the strikeouts to a minimum (19.0 K%). With Carlos Santana already established as the catcher of the future in Cleveland, Marson is headed for a back-up role if he’s not traded again.
The trade of veteran third baseman Scott Rolen to Cincinnati still has people shaking their heads. Not only did the Jays shed salary and pick up a potential closer in Roenicke but the Reds also surrendered Stewart, who was the club’s third round draft pick in 2008. The right-handed former college closer has seen his value rise significantly in 2009 as he’s shown the ability to stick in the starting rotation. Stewart began the year in high-A ball where he allowed 47 hits in 42.1 innings of work. He then moved up to double-A where he allowed 29 hits in 37 innings of work and posted a walk rate of 2.43 BB/9 and a strikeout rate of 7.54 K/9. Cincinnati then promoted him to triple-A where he moved back to the bullpen in anticipation of him helping out at the MLB level late in ’09, if needed. The 22-year-old allowed 11 hits and eight walks in 12.1 innings of work while also striking out 16 batters. Toronto has committed to moving him back to the starting rotation, although that may not occur until 2010 (which would help control his innings total for the year).
Check back tomorrow for the Top 7 prospects traded at the deadline.
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