Hot Stove: Josh Johnson Blockbuster?

December 8, 2009

ESPN Rumor: “’s Richard Durrett reports tonight that the Texas Rangers have offered top prospects Justin Smoak and Neftali Feliz to Florida for right-hander Josh Johnson.”

Diamond Cutter Spin: As much as I love Josh Johnson, if the Texas Rangers were to give up those two incredible young players then someone should shake them violently.

Diamond Cutter Scouting Report on Josh Johnson:

Johnson has established himself as a rising ace for the Marlins. He is a tall power pitcher who is very imposing on the mound with his 6-7 frame. He has a very smooth, sound delivery and takes advantage of his stature by producing a fantastic downhill angle to the plate which gives the appearance that the pitch is coming down on the hitter.

His pitch arsenal includes both a two and four-seam fastball (sitting between 92-96 mph) which is lively both up and down in the strike zone. Johnson does a great job pitching inside on hitters which helps open up the strike zone for him where many pitchers are affraid to go. His secondary (strikeout) pitch is a power slider that he is able to change the break on depending on if he is facing a lefty or a righty and keeps hitters honest. Also adds a decent changeup as a third pitch.

Johnson has completely recovered from his Tommy John surgery he had a few years ago and established himself as a legitimate star on the mound. The only question now remains how good can he become and what uniform will he be wearing as he realizes his greatness.

This would be a HORRIBLE deal for Texas as both Feliz and Smoak are essentially major league ready and big parts of this team’s future. Here’s my scouting reports on each of them…

Diamond Cutter Scouting Report on Neftali Feliz:

Feliz made a big impact in his first season in the majors. He has an incredibly smooth, effortless and clean motion with great mechanics. His fastball has reached triple digits (sits 94-99 mph) with good movement and counters that with two improving secondary pitches including a curveball and changeup that are showing to be at least average. If he can continue to build on his secondary stuff, his projections are off the chart and is a definite ace in the making.

Diamond Cutter Scouting Report on Justin Smoak:

What makes this kid so special is his incredible eye at the plate, especially for a power hitter, as he consistently drew more walks than strikeouts each year in college. Smoak also posses a very sweet and fluid swing with the ability to hit productively from both sides of the plate as well as having plus-power to all fields. He has outstanding bat speed and takes healthy cuts which together helps the ball jump off his bat. While he does a great job staying inside the ball, he may need to pull the ball more (something you don’t hear too often with power hitters) rather than trying to force things to other fields. Smoak’s power will translate well to the majors and has the potential to hit 35-40 as well as hit for a high average. He’s a player for the Rangers to start building around.

Needless to say this is way too much for Texas to give up and they would regret this one for years to come.

Diamond Cutter Scouting Report: Curtis Granderson

December 8, 2009

Granderson is a premier leadoff hitter (Keith Allison/Flickr).

Name: Curtis Granderson
Number: 28
Position: Center Field
Born: 3/16/81
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Height: 6′1″
Weight: 185
Debut: 9/13/04

Scouting Report: Granderson has made a name for himself as a six-hole hitter in the lead off spot. He has a short, quick stroke and loves fastballs up in the zone. Drives the ball hard very well from left-center on around to right. He struggles mightily versus left handed pitching and tends to have a tough time with breaking stuff. These two items cause him to strikeout way too much, especially for a lead off hitter. He does run very well which helps his lead off spot by stealing bases and stretching hits into an extra base.

Granderson flows so naturally out in center by using his speed to generate good jumps and taking good routes to the ball. Does better going back and side to side than he does coming straight in as he tends to be a little late on balls in front of him as his first instinct is usually to head straight back. He also has a pretty good arm which helps him cut down runners in the gap.

Hot Stove: Rumored 3-Way Deal

December 8, 2009 has reported a rumor of a blockbuster three-team deal that would involve some pretty big players between the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Tigers. Here’s a breakdown of what this scenario would see:

• The Yankees would receive Curtis Granderson from the Tigers and one or two prospects from the Diamondbacks.

• The Diamondbacks would get Edwin Jackson from the Tigers and right hander Ian Kennedy from the Yankees.

Diamond Cutter Scouting Report on Ian Kennedy:

Kennedy is a young pitching prospect in the Yankees organization who has a lot of potential. He has a four seam (88-94 mph) and two seam (a newer pitch at around 89 mph) fastball, great command of a plus-changeup, as well as a curve and slider. Kennedy is a very intelligent pitcher choosing to set-up hitters and attack their weaknesses rather than try to overpower them. He has great mechanics and uses this and control to his advantage. Kennedy just hasn’t seen his skills translate to success at the big league level yet due to nagging injuries and the fact that the Yankees continue to have a crowded rotation.

• The Tigers would get right hander Max Scherzer from the Diamondbacks, and center fielder Austin Jackson and left handed relievers Phil Coke and Michael Dunn from the Yankees.

Diamond Cutter Scouting Report on Austin Jackson:

Jackson is another shining star that the Yankees have waiting in the wings. Jackson is a good contact hitter with some good power potential. Needs a little more polishing at the plate to really establish himself (already started this by cutting down his strikeouts). He is a strong athlete who will be a very nice base stealer someday with his plus speed. Also transfers his speed well in the outfield and is also plus defensively.

This would certainly be an interesting move as none of the teams really get “ripped off” at all. Of course as I always say, I hate seeing the Yankees getting stronger.