This article is part of our John Sickels' Column series.
Summer Prospect Trade Analysis
As the summer progresses, we will analyze the prospects involved in major league trades. Watch this space!
Matt LaPorta, OF-1B (Brewers to Indians in Sabathia Trade)
Milwaukee's first round pick in 2007 from the University of Florida, LaPorta has terrific power and has made an easy transition to pro ball. Hitting .288/.402/.576 for Double-A Huntsville before the trade, LaPorta should be a 30-homer player in the majors, with good strike zone judgment. Although he has worked hard to make his outfield defense adequate, he's still probably better off at first base in the long run. He should be major league ready sometime in 2009 and would slot nicely at first base if Ryan Garko doesn't get his bat going.
Rob Bryson, RHP (Brewers to Indians in Sabathia Trade)
Bryson was a 31st round draft-and-follow pick in 2006, signing in 2007. He was 3-2, 4.25 for Low-A West Virginia before the trade, but with a 73:20 K:BB ratio in 55 innings, 43 hits allowed. The walk rate is high, but the K:IP rate is stellar and reflects his 90-93 MPH fastball and hard slider. If he can get the command in gear, he could be a very intriguing bullpen presence at the major league level, though at age 20 he needs more time to develop.
Zach Jackson, LHP (Brewers to Indians in Sabathia Trade)
At one time a top prospect for the Blue Jays, Jackson has a live arm and gets grounders, but was struggling with a 7.85 ERA this year for Triple-A Nashville. He had a 34:18 K:BB ratio in 57 innings, allowing an incredible 81 hits. He no longer has the 90+ fastball that made him a supplemental first round pick out of Texas A&M in 2004, but still has some potential as a bullpen lefty if he can sharpen his command.
Sean Gallagher, RHP (Cubs to Athletics in Harden/Gaudin Trade)
Gallagher was having a pretty solid rookie season for the Cubs, with a 4.45 ERA and a 49:22 K:BB in 59 innings, though Chicago is obviously thinking that proven veterans Harden and Gaudin will be of more use down the stretch. Gallagher, meanwhile, should get every chance to succeed in Oakland, and still projects as a durable inning-eating type starter. A 12th round pick out of high school in Florida in 2004, Gallagher has a decent fastball/curveball/changeup arsenal. While not overpowering, he has a good feel for pitching and has experienced success at every level so far.
Eric Patterson, 2B-OF (Cubs to Athletics in Harden/Gaudin Trade)
Patterson was hitting .320/.358/.517 with 11 steals in 52 games for Triple-A Iowa, obviously strong performance. But his .237/.318/.342 mark in Chicago was unimpressive, and it was apparent that he no longer had a future in Chicago. He has plus speed and good power, but the Cubs had a hard time finding a home for him defensively. His glove is mediocre at second base, and the Cubs never seemed completely sold on him as an outfielder. It remains to be seen where he fits in Oakland, but a fresh start should revitalize his chances. The brother of Corey Patterson, Eric was an eighth round pick in 2004 out of Georgia Tech.
Josh Donaldson, C (Cubs to Athletics in Harden/Gaudin Trade)
Donaldson was a supplemental first round pick in '07 out of Auburn, but did not live up to that potential this year, hitting just .217/.276/.349 for Peoria in the Midwest League. His defense is also a work in progress, though he has a strong arm and good mobility. His strike zone judgment has been worse than expected this year, hampering his production, though he's shown flashes of power with 13 doubles and six homers. Donaldson still has a chance to succeed but won't advance as rapidly as most expected he would.
Article first appeared 7/10/08