Thursday, November 20, 2008

Phils and Rangers With a Minor Deal

Today, the Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies completed a trade swapping ex-first round picks. This deal hardly skimmed the surface of Major League Baseball headlines, despite the fact that there really wasn't anything else to report today. That aside, neither piece swapped is going to make or break the futures of either of the teams involved. However, there still has to be a winner, right?

The Phillies picked up John Mayberry who turns 25 on a historic day in December. The monstrous corner outfielder hit 65 extra base hits in 519 at bats. While he is a free swinger by nature, there really isn't a better location for him to hack away then in Philadelphia.

Mayberry was rated as a B prospect by John Sickels entering the 2008 season. Presumably Mayberry's stock will drop, although there is a chance he makes the Phillies top 10 list. He has what is described as 'plus plus raw power'.

A great tool over at Minor League Splits allows us to input data from a players seasons and translate those stats into their Major League equivalents. John Mayberry's 2008 triple A OPS of .784 translates out to .659 in Philadelphia. Adjustments will need to be made in order for Mayberry to excel at the Major League level, as is, he's probably a decent right handed platoon hitter.

In exchange for Mayberry is 2004 first round pick Gregory Golson. The speedy 23 year old outfielder has been vulnerable to striking out, despite not showing any specific flaws against either right or left handed pitchers. Couple that with a weak base on balls rate, and you have the perfect (albeit terrible) National League leadoff hitter.

Golson began this season as a C+ prospect, according to John Sickels. Sickels asserted that many disagreed with Golson's relatively low rating, however Sickels felt as though his strikeouts were holding him back. That managed to hold true, and unless Golson improves his plate discipline, he will have no part on a Major League roster.

That said, Baseball America rated Golson as the Phillies #10 prospect entering the 2007 season and #7 for the 2008 season. He also rated as the fastest runner and best athlete within the organization. In addition to that, Golson has the best arm in the Phillies system. Couple that with speed and athleticism, Golson rated as the best defensive outfield in the Phillies system, so possibly he has a chance as a 5th outfielder and a defensive substitute.

What I find most interesting about the Baseball America report is the fact that they rated him as the best power hitting prospect in the Phillies system entering the 2008 season.

Similarly, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus wrote that Golson "might possess the best package of tools in all of the minor leagues". Goldstein continues, suggesting that Golson has plenty of raw power and as high of a ceiling as anyone in baseball.

Possibly a change in scenary will be the best bet for Golson, as a change in his overall approach, coupled with some good mentoring could certainly be the remedy to Golson realizing his potential. All it will really take is a positive step in his contact rate, and the Rangers could have themselves a monster of a player.

Based on potential alone, this deal will go to the Texas Rangers. The Rangers have a more pressing need for a center fielder (right now), and the chance to win a job at the Major League level may help Golson become a better student of the game. The Phillies did not receive a slouch on their own, however Mayberry will be hard pressed to find at bats outside of Leigh High Valley.

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