What a wild and fun week of transactions and trade deadline moves, and we will indeed focus on some of those trades and the implications thereof this time, but let's start with a couple more of the fine prospects advanced over the past week, beginning with the Tigers pitcher Jacob Turner. The No. 9 overall pick of the 2009 draft, selected out of high school, Turner threw 115.1 innings in 2010 split between West Michigan (2-3, 3.67) and Lakeland (4-3, 2.93) for a total of 6-5, 3.38, with 102 strikeouts to 23 walks and 106 hits allowed. Turner advanced to Double-A to start this season and the 20-year-old was 3-5, 3.48 over 113.2 innings with 90 whiffs to 32 walks and 106 hits allowed. Turner made his major league debut Sunday and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing just a couple of runs while striking out six, and comporting himself well. He is will return to Triple-A to make room for newly-acquired Doug Fister, but just like all the other young, maybe-future stars who have come up this year, Turner is just a guy you want to at worst grab and roster. If you can stash, all the better.
Last week we noted the migration of Jeff Keppinger to San Francisco, and the promotion of Jose Altuve by the Astros made Keppinger expendable. Altuve is a compact player at 5'7", 170 pounds, and all one really need do is look at the 21-year-old's 2011 line of .389-10-59 split between a .408-5-34 over 238 Lancaster at-bats, and then dropped to .361-5-25 over 153 more at-bats at Double-A Corrpus Cristi. Altuve's overall line is .327-30-208 in the minors, with a fine 138 walks to 174 walks (.388 OBP) and fabulous .867 OPS over 382 games. As with Turner, Altuve is a guy to grab now, and worry about later.
OK, so it will not be till this Tuesday before I get to see new Giant Carlos Beltran in the flesh calling ATT home, and I am not sure Beltran is the tonic the Giants need to repeat. Certainly, he wields the potential stick the team has sought--and that Aubrey Huff helped fill last year--since Barry Bonds left the game. But, this addition makes the team deeper in the outfield and places the question of who is the odd man out among Cody Ross, Andres Torres, and the recently hot and great defensively Nate Schierholtz. And, of course Pat Burrell--who may be expendable now--and Huff are still there along with Brandon Belt, meaning seven guys for four spots if you count the outfield and first base. And, for sure, Beltran will play every day. In a way, this gives Bruce Bochy a trump card when shuffling his lineup, although I am not so sure what the extent of Beltran's contribution will be. I think the Giants will skate through to the post season, and if they can, Beltran can make the difference between a title and going home. I am guessing the former, provided the Giants can sneak into the playoffs.
While we are looking at the big stars who were swapped, we cannot leave Colby Rasmus, now of the Jays, alone. I think to really get a sense of Rasmus, and his future, look no further than what my mate Brian Walton wrote a few weeks back when he asked if "Colby Rasmus was the New J.D. Drew." I think Brian nails it and that Rasmus will have an OK Major League career, but like Drew will never realize his potential as we wished or hoped we would. Talent he has, and that cannot be taught: Attitude, he also has, and my feeling is he does not want to unlearn parts of that. It will be his bane. Read what Brian says, and see if you agree.
I actually did work the Athletics game Sunday, looking forward to seeing Lars Anderson suit up as their first baseman. I had not heard that Rich Harden nixed the trade, in fact as I drove to the yard in Oakland, I even heard that Brad Ziegler had been swapped for Brandon Allen. Which surprised me as I thought, "Anderson and Allen as possible first base answers? Two?" Well, Allen is the bargain basement gamble/antidote to Anderson, and truthfully, I don't see him doing anything more exciting than Daric Barton has.
Allen was selected in the fifth round of the 2004 draft by the Pale Hose, and swapped to Arizona for Tony Pena in 2009, and Allen fought for first place time in Arizona this year. Now 25, his minor league numbers are .268-139-538 over 2,921 minor league at-bats, with 67 steals and 171 doubles. And Allen has trouble making contact as witnessed by the 773 strikeouts to 366 walks, good for a decent minor league OBP of .356. I just don't think that will translate in the majors. Sorry Brandon, and sorry Billy Beane (better look elsewhere).
If is funny that so much of the big trades impacted the NL West, although it seems the Giants were the only club to try and flesh things out, while their competitors seem to be looking to next year. Like the Rockies, who swapped their mound gem Ubaldo Jimenez for a cluster of prospects, including Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz was the No. 5 pick in last year's June draft (having been selected by the Tribe in the 12th round of the 2007 draft), and the 22-year old spent three years at Mississippi, culminating with a 9-2, 2.24 ERA over 100.2 innings, with 139 strikeouts. As a minor leaguer he has been 3-3, 1.98 over 91 innings with 112 strikeouts and just 66 hits allowed (43 walks). The Rockies will likely assign Pomeranz to the minors, although a September call-up could surely be in order. But, expect him soon. He could be a gem, and is more than worth stashing.
As for Jimenez, we all knew this guy could throw since 2007 when he whiffed 11 over 12 post season innings. He has talent, and has clearly struggled in 2011 as his 6-9, 4.46 record suggests. He has only allowed 118 hits over 123 innings, but the 51 walks surrendered have helped to be his undoing. A change of scene will probably be an energy boost for Jimemez, but I don't think he will make the difference between the Indians making the post season or not (they won't). Still, I am figuring there will be a pretty fancy FAAB race for him in both Tout Wars and LABR, and if you are in an AL Only format, and need an arm. do what you can to nab him. In fact, if you don't need an arm and can get Ubaldo, do so. You can always trade an arm for a hitter if that is your need.
I managed to nab Erik Bedard in every league where I play roto format (that is four leagues) this year. Why, you ask? I had a hunch. Not a regular kind, but I have this rule of thumb that says, for example, don't take a certain type of pitcher--I am thinking Carl Pavano and Ted Lilly this year--who I will take under some circumstance, and avoid in all others.
I own neither Lilly nor Pavano because, as older pitchers, who are good at control, but not dominating, I do not trust them three years in a row. Both guys had very good years in both 2009 and 2010, meaning I trusted neither this year. On the other hand, Bedard had been so disappointing for so many years, that sort of the opposite is true: he was due (and, note that I did have Pavano in a number of leagues the past two seasons).
Bedard has been good, and though I got nailed by his poor comeback game last week, when Bedard returned to action from the DL, I expect he will do just fine as the No. 3 starter in Boston. He will have two things he did not have in Seattle: some offense, and he will not be the center of attention, Felix Hernandez aside.
Seattle did, however, nab some good young players in exchange for two of their starting five with Bedard and Doug Fister, starting with Francisco Martinez who may well be the answer to the team's third base woes. Just 20--and the eighth Francisco Martinez in the history of the minor leagues anyway--this Francisco began professional play at age 17, and has .277-13-123 totals over 297 games. For now speed is a big part of his game (51 swipes) and power is likely developing, and Martinez is vulnerable to the strikeout (80 walks to 220 whiffs), and, he is way young. Martinez was holding his own at Double-A Erie hitting .282-7-46 this season. Expect Martinez to finish the year at that level, but if he develops, along with Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley could make these Mariners a lot of fun in a couple of years.
Speaking of which, the Mariners also bagged Casper Wells who may well be an answer to the teams extra outfield problems and future. Wells comported himself well enough in Detroit this year (.257-4-12 over 125 at-bats) and certainly seems to have mastered AAA (.370-2-6 over 20 games this year). Wells could likely finish the year with the Mariners and help this team drive past the Angels, Athletics, and Rangers sooner than you think.
Finally, the Diamondbacks are the competition for the Giants in the NL West and they added Jason Marquis to their rotation. In this "year of the pitcher" Marquis is 8-5, 3.95. He also has just 71 strikeouts over 120.2 innings, with 132 hits allowed and 71 walks (1.41 WHIP). He will not help Arizona any more than he will help your roto team.