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Boston Picks Up Patterson From A’s

Boston Red Sox acquired 2B/OF Eric Patterson from the Oakland Athletics for LHP Fabian Williamson.

Dustin Pedroia‘s laser show is on hold for the time being — the second baseman fouled a Jonathan Sanchez fastball off his left foot in the third inning of Friday’s contest against the San Francisco Giants. Pedroia suffered a fracture, and while there’s no firm timetable for a return, early estimates have him missing up to six weeks.

Jed Lowrie (mononucleosis) is on the DL, as is Double-A shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias (bruised hand). Saber favorite Tug Hulett has sunk with the PawSox this season (.168/.293/.302 in 241 PA). Recently recalled Angel Sanchez rates well with the leather according to Total Zone, but he’s a career .279/.334/.351 minor league hitter. As such, the Sox could give Patterson a spin at second (along with Bill Hall) as Pedroia heals.

Patterson, 27, was originally a Cubs prospect taken out of Georgia Tech in the eighth round of the 2004 draft. In July of 2008, Patterson was shipped to Oakland (along with Josh Donaldson, Sean Gallagher and Matt Murton) for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. The lefty hitter holds a career .303/.368/.478 triple-slash in 2,570 career minor league plate appearances. Displaying decent pop (.175 Isolated Power) and adequate strike zone control (9.3 BB%, 19.3 K%), Patterson also stole bases with an 80.6% success rate.

In the majors, Patterson’s got a career .224/.301/.340 line in 378 PA, with a .300 wOBA. Corey’s little brother has walked 10.1% of the time, whiffed 28.4% and has a .116 ISO. He has nabbed bases at a 91.7% clip, with 22 SB in 24 tries. Out of minor league options, Patterson made Oakland’s roster out of spring training but was recently DFA’d to make room for Coco Crisp. ZiPS projects that Patterson will hit .248/.310/.399 for the rest of 2010, with a .320 wOBA. CHONE thinks he’ll bat .261/.322/.411.

Patterson figures to be a slightly below-average MLB hitter who can add some value on the bases. That’s not a bad fill-in for the Sox on such short notice, if he can cut it at second. Patterson, who has big league experience at the keystone and in the outfield, rated as above-average at second in the minors according the Total Zone. His scouting reports in years past were less flattering, however. In its 2008 Prospect Handbook, Baseball America lamented that “despite his athleticism, Patterson has never gotten the hang of playing second base. He doesn’t read balls well off the bat or range well to his right.”

Given his stolen base chops and non-terrible bat, Patterson’s worth a temporary pick-up in AL-only leagues.

Going to the A’s in exchange for Patterson is Williamson, a 21-year-old lefty who is joining his third organization. The 6-2, 175 pounder was acquired by Boston from the Seattle Mariners for David Aardsma prior to the 2009 season. Equipped with a quality curve/changeup combo but sitting in the high-80’s with his heater, Williamson didn’t crack the Sox’ top 30 prospect list this past winter.

Pitching in the Low-A South Atlantic League last season, he had 8.7 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, a 37.9 GB% and a park-and-luck-adjusted FIP of 4.37 in 108 innings. Williamson split ’09 between the rotation and the bullpen (16 ‘pen appearances, 12 starts), but he has been a full-time starter in the High-A Carolina League in 2010. On the positive side, his ground ball rate has climbed considerably (54.5 GB%). However, he’s also whiffing 5.5 and walking 4.7 in 65.1 innings, with a 5.05 park-and-luck-adjusted FIP.