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August 4, 2004

Can Of Corn

Deadline's Prospects

by Dayn Perry

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Well, that was more like it.

After much dithering about, major league GMs were finally able to cobble together a respectable trade deadline after all. My Prospectus confreres have done an excellent job in deconstructing these deals with regard to how they'll affect organizations at the major league level. Now I'm going to take a gander at the prospects involved.

This time around, I'll focus my attention on the prospects included in the Nomar Garciaparra, Steve Finley, Ismael Valdez and Todd Jones swaps. Next time, I'll break down the prospects who were part of the remaining deadline deals.

In alphabetical order...

  • OF Reggie Abercrombie, Age: 24
    New Home: Diamondbacks
    How He Got There: From the Dodgers, as part of the Steve Finley-Brent Mayne trade.

    Not a prospect. No on-base skills and weak power numbers. Showed a better stroke in the Florida State League this season, but that was only after a demotion from 2003. He has good speed and a powerful throwing arm, and he plays a good center. However, at this point he's all tools and no skills. He might have a career as a fifth outfielder, but even that's not likely.

  • RHP Travis Chick, Age: 20
    New Home: Padres
    How He Got There: From the Marlins, in exchange for Ismael Valdez.

    Chick, who's in only his second pro season, has made good strides with his command this season (4.11 K/BB ratio) and has 115 strikeouts in 95.1 innings. He throws a fastball that touches 94 and also sports a slider that has good potential. If he's able to craft an off-speed offering, he'll be one to watch once he reaches the higher rungs. He's shown a slight proneness to homers this season, but he's still a nice arm to nab for a fungible hurler like Valdez.

  • OF Brad Correll, Age: 23
    New Home: Phillies
    How He Got There: From the Reds, as part of the Todd Jones trade.

    Correll is confined to left or first because of his defensive limitations, but he doesn't have the bat to get him to the majors. He has passable on-base skills but little projectable power. A fringe talent who'll probably never reach the majors.

  • RHP Josh Hancock, Age: 26
    New Home: Reds
    How He Got There: From the Phillies, as part of the Todd Jones trade.

    Hancock throws three pitches for strikes and has exhibited good control throughout the minors. This season in the International League he's posted a 3.1 K/BB ratio, which is better than his career mark. He's not a dominator by any means, but he has a shot at being a capable fifth starter at the highest level. In a pitching-skimpy organization like the Reds, he'll get his shot.

  • 3B Brendan Harris, Age: 23
    New Home: Expos
    How He Got There: From the Cubs, as part the four-way trade with the Red Sox and Twins.

    A nice addition for the Expos. Harris, who should be the Opening Day starting third baseman for the Expos in 2005, shows good gap power and has a career average of more than .300. He struggled last season with his power numbers at Double-A West Tennessee, but he did post the best walk rate of his career. This season, he's recouped his stock by hitting .311/.353/.511 at Triple-A Iowa. There's certainly some PCL inflation to be accounted for, but it's still a nice rebound season for Harris. He's played second and short in his minor league career, so he certainly has the glove to stick at third. If Tony Batista is the gold standard, his merits will be much appreciated.

  • C Koyie Hill, Age: 25
    New Home: Diamondbacks
    How He Got There: From the Dodgers, as part of the Steve Finley-Brent Mayne trade.

    Nominally the Dodgers' best catching prospect, Hill in previous seasons showed little in the way of offensive upside. In 2004, he's gotten some attention for his modestly impressive .286/.339/.471 line in Triple-A, but Vegas is a hitter's haven in a hitter's circuit. He's athletic and mobile behind the plate and has a good throwing arm, but his mechanics need work. Still, his bat isn't enough to make him a capable regular at the highest level. Dodger Stadium would've eaten him alive, but the BOB may make him appear to be adequate as a starter. He isn't.

  • LHP Justin Jones, Age: 19
    New Home: Twins
    How He Got There: From the Cubs, as part of the four-way trade with the Red Sox and Expos.

    Jones throws a fastball that touches 94, a strong curve, change and splitter. The deep repertoire will likely keep him in the rotation, but injury concerns are mounting. He missed time last season with a tired arm, and this year he missed the first month of the season with a sore elbow. Coming into this season, he'd fanned more than a batter per frame, posted a 2.91 K/BB ratio and, most impressively, allowed only a single homer in 126 innings as a pro. He's spent all of 2004 back in the Midwest League, where his numbers, while still solid, have declined somewhat. He certainly has upside, but the injuries and lack of dominance in Low-A ball this season are troublesome.

  • INF Anderson Machado, Age: 23
    New Home: Reds
    How He Got There: From the Phillies, as part of the Todd Jones trade.

    Machado hasn't hit this season, but that's in part due to the fact that he missed the first month of the season after undergoing an appendectomy. He was a career .230 hitter with negligible power coming into this season, but Machado does have excellent plate discipline (176 unintentional walks from 2002-03). He also has some speed on the bases and good defensive chops at second, short and third. He'll never be an impact hitter, but with his plate patience and defensive flexibility, he can be a tolerable utility man at the highest level.

  • LHP Bill Murphy, Age: 23
    New Home: Diamondbacks
    How He Got There: From the Dodgers (by way of the Marlins), as part of the Steve Finley-Brent Mayne trade.

    Murphy boasts a good, moving fastball and a deceptive delivery. He also brings a curve and change, but doesn't have great command of either pitch. Before the trade, he was leading the Southern League in strikeouts, but he's also quite prone to control problems and gopheritis. Given his command issues and questionable supporting pitches, don't be surprised if he winds up in the bullpen, where he could fare better. Murphy was in the Futures Game and gets his share of hype, but the performance to date doesn't quite back it up.

  • OF Matt Murton, Age: 22
    New Home: Cubs
    How He Got There: From the Red Sox, as part of the four-way deal involving Nomar Garciaparra.

    This is a nice snag for the Cubs. Murton doesn't have great range in the outfield or a great arm, so he's relegated to left field. He showed good plate discipline last season in the short-season NY-Penn League, but his first extended dealings with the wooden bat held down his power numbers. This season at Daytona in the generally pitcher-friendly Florida State League, Murton has hit .303/.375/.456. The OBP skills are still solid, and he's made a modest leap in the power department. If he can continue to cultivate the power stroke, he'll be a prospect worth following. Right now, he adds a bit of depth to a system that's becoming somewhat thin in terms of position prospects.

Related Content:  Trade,  The Who,  Trade To Dodgers

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Premium Article Can Of Corn: Deadline'... (08/06)
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