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Prospecting, part 2

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  April 24, 2008 02:51 PM

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SAN DIEGO PADRES
Phenoms:
RHP Jacob Peavy (3), LHP Oliver Perez (10)

Flops: 3B Sean Burroughs (1), RHP Dennis Tankersley (2), RHP Ben Howard (6), 2B Jake Gautreau (8)

. . . and those lingering somewhere in between: OF Xavier Nady (4), 2B Ramon Vazquez (9), RHP Justin Germano (21), SS Jason Bartlett (23)

Six years later:
Obviously, Peavy never would have made it if he hadn't started going by Jake. That's way more befitting of an ace . . . I don't think much of Omar Minaya as a GM, but getting the enigmatic Perez from the Pirates two years ago for Xavier Nady may turn out to be a masterstroke. At age 22 in '04, he struck out 239 and had a 1.15 WHIP in 189 innings for Pittsburgh. Even with his control struggles in the following seasons, you don't trade an arm like his for a so-so bat like Nady . . . The Padres dealt Vazquez, along with Jay Payton and David Pauley, to the Sox for playoff hero Dave Roberts in December, '04. He was brutal (his OPS+ was 23) and in July he was mercifully sent to Cleveland for a better and more expensive version of himself, Alex Cora . . . Burroughs's power apparently peaked in Little League. In over 1,500 big league at-bats, he slugged .358 . . . The Padres got Tankersley from the Sox for the mummified remains of Ed Sprague in June, 2000. He went 1-10 with a 7.61 ERA in 27 career games - including an ERA of infinity after giving up seven runs without recording an out in his lone appearance in '03. So, yes, I guess you could say he tanked. (Groan.)

TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Phenoms:
RHP Dustin McGowan (4), OF Alexis Rios (8)

Flops: C-1B Josh Phelps (1), OF Gabe Gross (2), OF Tyrell Godwin (10)

. . . and those lingering somewhere in between: C-1b Jayson Werth (3), 2B Orlando Hudson (5), OF Eric Hinske (6), RHP Brandon League (7), C Kevin Cash (9)

Six years later: Phelps, a lanky, scatterarmed catcher with middle-of-the-order power, was supposed to be the next Dale Murphy. Turns out he hit more like Dale Arnold, though he has had occasional if hardly prolonged success (he hit 15 homers in 265 at-bats in '02, and has a career OPS+ of 112. He's in the Cardinals system now . . . It seems like Rios - aka The Next Dave Winfield - has been around for a decade, but he's just 27 and a prime candidate for a huge spike in performance this season . . . Hinske won the Rookie of the Year in '02, but he's stagnated since and got a ring as a just-happy-to-be-here sub on last year's Sox. Surprisingly, he's off to a monster start with the Rays, with five homers and a .727 slugging percentage in 55 at-bats. I didn't think he'd be in the majors this year . . . I'm probably overrating the post-Tommy John surgery version of McGowan, but he strikes me as a future ace every time I see him pitch. The results haven't been there yet, however . . . Cash might be the most overmatched major league hitter I've seen since - well, who, Creighton Gubanich? - but he gets a thumbs-up here for sparing us from another season of current Amato's sandwich artist Doug Mirabelli.

* * *

I'm not saying Macha is the most boring broadcaster I've ever heard, but I bet when he can't sleep, he solves the problem by talking to himself for a few minutes.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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