ESPN Rumor: “ESPNDallas.com’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.