Rays, Twins show no fear
November, 29, 2007
You can look at this deal in two parts: It's a Delmon Young-for-Matt Garza swap, with the extra four players there to try to equalize what the two GMs must have agreed on as the difference in value between those two players. The Twins come out ahead slightly in the first part, but the Rays win the second part in a rout. Young was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft and raced to the big leagues, where he's performed well for a young player, although his presence on so many rookie of the year ballots this year was an embarrassment. His performance in the majors to date has been held back by his refusal to take a walk. He hits for average and has plus raw power, but that power hasn't manifested itself in games yet. His composite line across his 192 games in the majors is .293/.319/.419. For one comparison, Roberto Clemente hit .285/.308/.408 in his first two seasons in the majors, which he played at ages 20 and 21 like Young has. It's possible to end up a productive big league hitter with such terrible walk rates, but this flaw limits Young's upside, and he's going to an organization that has neither valued nor improved patience in its hitters. If he does up his walk rate just a little bit, he's a potential star, a middle-of-the-order bat who plays a solid right field. Garza, also a first-round pick, steps in as a potential No. 2 starter for Tampa Bay, giving them a shot to have their best front three starters in the short history of the franchise. Garza has big stuff -- a 91-95 mph fastball with some arm-side run but no sink, a low-80s changeup with good fading action, a hard slider at 83-86 mph with a good two-plane break and a show-me curve that he uses to try to get lefties to chase. He uses a bit of a kitchen-sink approach against lefties, relying more on his fastball against righties. His delivery has some effort with a slight head-whack as he releases the ball, and there's some recoil as he's finished, all of which can affect his ability to improve his fastball command. To succeed in the AL East, a pitcher needs either plus command and control or plus stuff, and the Rays didn't have enough of either type to fill their 2008 rotation. Garza fits the second mold.