Sunday, January 14, 2007

Stewart Acquired

This week the Rangers traded minor league right-handed pitcher Johnny Lujan to the Chicago White Sox for catcher Chris Stewart. In order to make room for Stewart on their roster, the Rangers designated Drew Meyer for assignment.

Johnny Lujan:

Johnny performed great in college and in the minors until last year when he had a 1-4 with a 5.74 ERA in 38 appearances with the Blaze. Before last year he was a good prospect and dominated the league with a very low BAA. Last year his BAA was .281. In this three-year minor league career, he is 7-9 with a 3.68 ERA in 83 appearances, including 6 starts.

He was a 12th round draft pick out of New Mexico College even though he had an ERA just above 1.60. He struggled before and after his minor injury last year. Last year he also became much more home run prone. He had been a ground ball pitcher but was a fly ball pitcher last year. So if he stayed here and pitched in the majors he probably wouldn’t do very well unless he recovered his previous form.

Chris Stewart:

Chris went through the Chicago system surprisingly fast. His batting is okay (.252 average in 5 minor league seasons) but his fielding is outstanding. Last year, he threw out 52 percent of base runners and threw out Grady Sizemore 2 out of 2 times. He went hitless in the majors last year (8 at-bats after a September call up) but hit well in the minors (.265 in 272 AAA at-bats).

Chris will compete for the back up job in Spring Training but being the only one with options he is the least likely to get the job. He is a very good catching prospect even if he doesn’t make the team this year. But being behind Gerald Laird he will probably be a back-up catcher for the time he’s in Texas.

Trade Evaluation:

Lujan has a very good potential but chances are he won’t reach his potential, while Stewart has a lower potential and has already reached it. Stewart will be a back-up catcher in the majors or a starting catcher in the minors for the time he’s in Texas. Lujan probably wouldn’t pitch well here (since this is a home run stadium and he has become a fly ball pitcher) while Stewart will probably bat well here (because it’s a hitters’ ballpark). I think this is a good trade for both teams because Chicago already has both Pierzynski and Toby Hall locked up for two years.

Drew Meyer is not that great of a prospect. He hasn’t gotten much better in the minors over what he was in college. His potential seems to be as a utility player in the majors, at most. He has really struggled hitting above the AA level but is a great fielder. Hopefully Meyer will make it through waivers and the Rangers will keep him.

Grade: A

Come back next week for an analyzation of every team in the AL West’s off-season so far.


Ken Pittman said...

Good eval of the trade. As much as I am not a fan of Meyer, the fact that he slid through waivers makes this trade look even better.

I still hold out a little hope for Meyer being a utility player, but I never understood why the Rangers picked him over Khalil Greene. I saw KG play for 4 years at Clemson and Meyer (who went to arch-rival South Carolina) play against Clemson 6-8 times in that period. I know its impossible for me to be completely objective, but KG was clearly a better college player and I never understood why Texas though Meyer would turn into a better pro.

donny said...

Donny Pena said...

The Rangers are still looking for a cather, I don't think they will ever find one as good as Pudge. But of course, they will see that trading Lujan will be a lost for the Rangers. Johnny's strength and heart will eventually assure him a spot in the majors. The Rangers needed to spend more time in the pitching arena with Lujan to help him work on control. Lujan is young and I see that this year chicago will give him the instruction that he needs to become major prospect. While with the Rangers,Lujan was well coach on mound position and delievery, not so much on release point. Chicago, I believe got the better deal.