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May 23, 2012

Transaction Analysis

Twins Change the Marquis

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

ANAHEIM ANGELS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed CF-R Vernon Wells and OF-L Ryan Langerhans on the 15-day disabled list. [5/21]
Recalled RHP Bobby Cassevah from Triple-A Salt Lake. [5/21]
Purchased the contract of OF-L Kole Calhoun from Triple-A Salt Lake. [5/21]
Transferred RHP Michael Kohn to the 60-day disabled list. [5/21]

Some players hate playing for skippers who micromanage, but Cassevah would probably enjoy it. At Cassevah’s roots he is a groundball specialist who excels against righties (as a .176 multi-year true-Average-against supports) and struggles against lefties (.305). Naturally, Cassevah has faced almost an equal amount of lefties as righties, as Mike Scioscia treated him as a shutdown set-up man, rather than a specialist, in the second half of 2011. Being typecast as a reliever who can only get righties out stinks, but it beats being typecast as a reliever who can’t get anyone out. Expect Cassevah to look worse than he is until Scioscia stops trying to put a Cassevah-shaped peg into a non-Cassevah-shaped hole.

The Angels drafted Calhoun as a senior out of Arizona State in 2010. He skipped a level in 2011 and skipped another in 2012 by starting at Triple-A. Calhoun kept on hitting and the Angels didn’t hesitate to bring him up in the wake of recent injuries. Short on tools but tall on performance, Calhoun is a classic grinder type with enough feel at the plate to hang against advanced pitching. The Angels continued to play Calhoun in center field, but the long-term prognosis is that he winds up in a corner—be it in the outfield or first base.

MINNESOTA TWINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Designated RHP Jason Marquis for assignment. [5/21]
Purchased the contract of RHP Cole DeVries from Triple-A Rochester. [5/21]

Per Bill James’ Game Score, Marquis’ finest outing with the Twins occurred on May 5. He faced the Mariners that day and went six innings while allowing four hits and two runs, walking six, and striking out one. For those unable to conjure up what a bad day for Marquis is like, consider his most recent appearance: 1 2/3 innings, eight hits, eight runs, one walk, and no strikeouts (all on 48 pitches). Barring a waiver claim or trade, the Twins will still owe Marquis what’s left of his $3 million salary.

DeVries will lead to more warmed hearts than victories. The short version goes like this: DeVries grew up in the Twin Cities, attended the University of Minnesota, went undrafted, signed with the Twins, and now, as a 27-year-old, will make his big-league debut. A good curveball and solid strikeout-to-walk ratio in Triple-A aside, DeVries does not profile as a pitcher long for the majors. Then again, why should his fairy tale end now?

TAMPA BAY RAYS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed INF-R Jeff Keppinger on the 15-day disabled list. [5/21]
Acquired INF-S Drew Sutton from the Pirates for a player to be named later. [5/21]
Designated LHP John Gaub for assignment. [5/21]

On Sunday, the Braves traded Sutton to the Pirates. On Monday, the Pirates traded Sutton to the Rays. On Tuesday, Joe Maddon started Sutton at second base. Forgive Sutton if his head is spinning. The sight of Ben Zobrist should help put things back in order, as the two were part of the same Astros draft class and shared a room (along with a personal hitting coach). Andrew Friedman didn’t just acquire Sutton for his personality. The switch-hitting infielder won’t replicate his Triple-A line (.275/.379/.416 career) in the majors, but he could help out at second and third base on a team drowning in injuries. Sutton is out of options and the next two weeks could help determine whether he or Will Rhymes leaves town once Keppinger returns.

MIAMI MARLINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed OF-S Emilio Bonifacio on the 15-day disabled list. [5/20]
Purchased the contract of INF-R Donovan Solano from Triple-A New Orleans. [5/20]

Ozzie Guillen loves him some Solano. He said so himself:

“I love that kid,” Guillen said of Solano on Sunday. “He’s played very good in spring training. Swings the bat very well, making every play wherever we put him. Steals a couple bases. That’s another decision we have to sit down, see how we do it.”

Guillen’s quote creates a false image of Solano. An image where Solano hits well (his career Triple-A line is .275/.320/.354), play good defense at multiple positions (he is well versed across the infield), and steal bases (he has 26 career minor-league stolen bases; Bonifacio has 20 this season); at best, one of those three attributes appears true. During spring, Baseball America’s Ben Badler tweeted, “A smart scout once told me the best filing cabinet for most spring training scouting reports is a trash can.” Guillen might not find the regular-season Solano repulsive, but like most spring break romances, he may discover it to be nothing more than puppy love.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed 1B-S Lance Berkman on the 15-day disabled list. [5/20]
Selected the contract of 1B-L Matt Adams from Triple-A Memphis. [5/20]

With Berkman slated to miss at least six weeks, the Cardinals brought up their first baseman of the future. The phrase “big eater” comes to mind with Adams. Yes, it can work as a fat joke; it can also work as an accurate description of Adams and his plus-plus raw power.  Since 2010, Adams has 63 home runs, an average over .300, and a 17 percent strikeout rate across three levels of competition. He isn’t a power hitter who hits for average so much as a contact hitter who hits for power. Nevertheless, he is a legitimate first base prospect and could be the Cardinals’ answer for the first base questions posed in 2013 and beyond.

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

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