For a scouting report on the Rangers-Rays series, click here.
A three-team trade takes place in December 2009, and the major players in that deal are all key components in getting all three teams to the 2011 playoffs. A win-win-win scenario?
Two of those teams match up in the American League Division Series as the Detroit Tigers meet the New York Yankees. The Yankees received Curtis Granderson in that trade, while the Tigers got Max Scherzer from the Diamondbacks (as well as reliever Daniel Schlereth) and Austin Jackson from the Yankees. (For their part, the Arizona Diamondbacks got their top two starters out of the deal -- Ian Kennedy from the Yankees and Edwin Jackson from the Tigers, who they later flipped for their No. 2, Daniel Hudson.) Everyone seems pretty happy with the outcome.
And while the ALDS isn't a referendum on who won the trade, Granderson, Jackson and Scherzer will certainly play large roles. Here are scouting reports on each club that will help us decide which team has the edge.
• Granderson, of course, was one of the stories of the season thanks to his work with hitting coach Kevin Long on altering his swing late last year. The center fielder quieted his setup at the plate, and a switch to keeping both hands on the bat on his follow-through rather than having his left hand fly off of it kept his swing closed and kept him from pulling off the ball, resulting in more consistent, harder contact. The biggest improvement was against southpaws (an impact which won't be felt as much in this series, with the Tigers not having a lefty starter), as he slugged almost .600 against them this season after posting a .334 mark against them from 2008 to 2010. It resulted in 41 homers overall.