Minor Moves: RHP Talbot to Indians, C Ryan to Padres

Tampa Bay Rays traded Mitch Talbot to Cleveland Indians as the PTBNL in the Kelly Shoppach deal

26 years old and out of minor league options, Talbot gets a fresh start in going from the pitching-rich Rays to the Indians. After mid-season deals that landed Cliff Lee in Philly and Carl Pavano in Minnesota, Cleveland lacked a big league starter with an xFIP under 4.50.

Originally taken in the 2nd round of the 2002 draft by the Houston Astros, Talbot was swapped to Tampa (along with Ben Zobrist) in July of 2006 for Aubrey Huff.

The 6-2, 200 pound righty doesn’t overwhelm with stuff. Baseball America says his fastball sits 88-91, though with tailing action. Talbot also possesses a cut fastball, a curveball and a changeup. In the minors, the Utah prep product has whiffed 7.4 batters per nine innings, with 2.6 BB/9. He’s not known for blowing batters away, but Talbot limits the walks and keeps the ball on the ground (career 53.9 GB% in the minors).

Talbot toiled at AAA Durham from 2007-2009, though his ’09 season was shortened by an elbow injury. Courtesy of Minor League Splits, here are his major league equivalent lines:

2007: 5.11 FIP, 5.82 K/9, 4.57 BB/9
2008: 3.76 FIP, 6.45 K/9, 2.59 BB/9
2009: 3.58 FIP, 6.46 K/9, 3.16 BB/9

CHONE projects a 4.91 big league ERA for Talbot in 2010, with 5.65 K/9, 3.35 BB/9 and 1.15 HR/9. He could work his way into the back of Cleveland’s rotation.

Detroit Tigers traded Dusty Ryan to San Diego Padres for a PTBNL or cash

Detroit’s 48th round selection in the 2003 draft, Ryan barely made a peep at the plate until 2008. The 6-4, 220 pound righty batter missed three months with a knee injury in 2007. Baseball America’s scouting report on Ryan mentions that the Tigers nearly moved him to the mound after he failed to crack the Mendoza Line in ’07.

Dusty’s career prospects bounced back in ’08, however, as he hit a combined .266/.346/.491 in 419 PA between AA Erie and AAA Toledo. He also made his major league debut and cracked a couple of homers. Ryan spent most of 2009 back in the International League, batting .257/.359/.455 in 235 PA.

The 25 year-old backstop displayed strong secondary skills the past two seasons. He walked in 10.5% of his plate appearances with a .225 ISO in 2008, then walked 12.3% with a .198 ISO this past year. Contact, however, has been elusive (29.1 K% in 2008, 27.2 K% in 2009). BA called Ryan “vulnerable to breaking balls.”

Due to those issues with breaking stuff and subsequently high punch out rates, Ryan’s MLE’s aren’t that sunny. Minor League Splits translated his 2008 work to a .212/.273/.370 big league triple-slash, with 2009’s minor league hitting equating to a .225/.308/.383 line. CHONE forecasts a .219/.299/.367 showing in 2010.

In San Diego, Ryan will likely back up Nick Hundley. The 26 year-old Hundley has a similar skill set to Ryan, with some plate discipline and pop but also a hearty whiff rate. In 505 career PA, Hundley holds a 90 wRC+, which means his offense has been 10 percent worse than average once league and park factors are taken into account.

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A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at david.golebiewski@gmail.com and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.

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