Friday, 11 July 2008

Everybody Loves Adam

Sometimes crazy things happen. Crazy like a team that didn't ever come back to win after the 7th inning doing it twice in the same series, crazy like young Adam Lind stroking the game winning hit off a southpaw closer who'd limited left-handed hitters to a disheartening .163/.269/.256 line this year. Like most of you, we're watching through thick and thin and will take exciting baseball whenever we can get it.

The blogosphere is full of all sorts. I had noted previously that young Adam had garnered some attention from a talented gay photographer (whose work I punked a few times for posts), but it has come to my attention that he has fans from the other side of the coin, such as Christian Mike who claims to be one of Lind's high-school classmates. A particularly heartwarming passage written back in May:

I followed his progress from high school until now and I must admit that as proud I am about his success on the field, I'm even more proud of the person he is off the field. I always remember him as a fun guy to be around. I remember he wasn't the smartest in math and he'd ask me for help - I remember thinking about having him sign my math homework or something because I knew one day he'd be a star. While he hasn't entirely broken through and become a star at the highest level yet, his time will come. He may be headed back to AAA soon, but he will be back.

Might I suggest the 2009 Jays go with the slogan "Adam Lind: something for everyone!"

I'm in a plagarizing mood, so I thought I'd rip off some material from Batter's Box pertinent to the coming AJ Burnett trade (to the Phillies). Tony Lacava has been dispatched to scout the Phillies AA affiliate for young talent as you probably know already and roughly 4-5 names have been mentioned as Jays trade targets. Phuture Phillies gives us a snapshot of each (with their prospect ranking in the Phi system):

01. Adrian Cardenas, 2B (A+; .316/.390/.486)

Cardenas followed up a nice 2007 at Low A by raking from day 1 at Clearwater. He’s hitting for average and also for emerging power this season. Last year his XBH % was 27.9%, this year he’s at 32%, showing continued improvement. He could draw a few more walks, but he’s not striking out a ton, and he clearly can make consistent contact. His power numbers were helped by a May spike where he 10 extra base hits out of his 21 total hits, including 4 HR. While he’s not consistently showing the power yet, glimpses like his May run show what he’s capable of doing. He also has 4 triples and is a perfect 8 for 8 in stolen bases. He’s not a burner and likely won’t steal more than 5-6 bags a year in the majors, but it seems like he has solid base running instincts. His defensive position is the only thing left to figure out, the rest should just be a natural progression. Stock remains the same, maybe even up a bit.

02. Carlos Carrasco, RHP (2A; 88.0 IP, 3.78 ERA)

People seem to be down on Carrasco, but I think its simply a case of expectations being a bit too high after his breakout 2006. He’s pitched this season as a 21 year old in AA, and he’s more than holding his own. The walk rate (3.27/9) could be a bit better, but he’s struck out 85 hitters, much improving his rate from last season. He’s much more effective against lefties because of his changeup, but righties are still hitting him hard, and he’ll need to tighten his curveball. When that piece of the puzzle clicks, you’re looking at a pretty damn good #3 SP, maybe even a bit more. Stock remains the same.

05. Lou Marson, C (2A; .348/.464/.443)

I was a big Marson believer, and thought a season ago after 2006 that he was a good candidate to take a step forward. He’s taken 3 steps forward this year, and at this point, it would take a decent argument to convince me he isn’t our best prospect. If he was putting up a line like this in A ball, I’d be less convinced, but he’s doing it at AA, at a young age, while continuing to handle the pitching staff. Lou has his face on the sidebar of this site…that should tell you all you need to know. Stock up as high as it can go.

06. Jason Donald, SS (2A; .297/.396/.466)

I was a big Jason Donald believer, and he’s starting to convince others that his breakout last year was real. He was always a guy who seemed to not quite achieve what many thought he could, dating back to college, but it looks like he’s erasing those thoughts now. The walk rate remains the most impressive aspect of his breakout, and he is hitting for passable power. The next test; a move to 3B? Stock up a tick.

15. Greg Golson, OF (AA; .299/.335/.450)

A year ago, I was ready to write Golson off, but he showed flashes last season and got off to a hot start this year. He’s (predictably) cooled off in the last month or so before getting hurt, hitting .132 with 12 K and only 1 BB in his last 10 games. Was that a function of the wrist injury? Either way, he’s shown more positive flashes this season than in any past year, so I’m slightly more optimistic. I know Greg reads blogs and has his feelings hurt when he reads negative stuff, so this should cheer you up Greg; Stock up.

One of JP's stated goals with a Burnett trade is to obtain a young shortstop, so Donald seems to fit the bill. He's a blocked prospect with Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley manning the middle infield on the big club and has started to live up to some of the earlier expectations of late. Reviews on his defense have been mixed, but hey, it's not like Michael Young has the best range at short, either. You'd be looking at a 2010 ETA, which means they'd still need another stopgap SS for 2009.

With the catching depth we have in the system, Marson looks like more of a luxury at this point. Expect the Phillies to balk at trading Carrasco, but I suppose the offer sheet can always be improved by adding a reliever along with Burnett. It looks unlikely that Cardenas can play SS.

-- Johnny Was

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