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The Arizona Diamondbacks made a desperation trade yesterday. Despite a rash of injuries to the pitching staff, the 'Backs traded their best young pitcher for an average third baseman. Hillenbrand is a slight upgrade over Matt Williams playing everyday, but not nearly enough to offset the quality innings B-H Kim would have likely provided the rest of the season. Waiting in the wings is one of the top infield prospects around - thirdbaseman Chad Tracy. Look for various clubs to make overtures as the trading deadline approaches: Joe Jr has a history of trading young for old and it could well happen again. Could the Jays be among the teams looking to pry away the AAA third sacker?

Chad Tracy was not a high draft pick out of East Carolina (7th round), but blasted through A ball in 2001, before dismantling AA pitching in his first full season of pro ball (2002). He's gotten off to another good start in AAA. Here are his component batting stats to date (league norms in paratheses):

Year League(s) ---- age----- PA --- Power ------- BIPavg ----- Walk Rate --- K Rate
2001 NWL/MWL ---- 21.11 -- 279 -- .087 (.124) -- .350 (.307) -- .073 (.084) -- .087 (.195)
2002 Texas ---------- 22.11 -- 564 -- .128 (.121) -- .366 (.302) -- .056 (.085) -- .092 (.173)
2003 Pacific Coast -- 23.11 -- 216 -- .121 (.148) -- .354 (.310) -- .066 (.081) -- .075 (.179)

The league norms listed for the Pacific Coast League are from 2002.

Tracy is the type of hitting prospect I like: line-drive hitter, doesn't strike out much. His power is mostly doubles at the moment and his walk rate is a little below average, but not poor. As a player gets older, walks and homeruns usually increase, and batting average on balls in play decreases. In other words, we can expect good things from Tracy because he has young player's skills (excepting his lack of speed).

Here is an article on Tracy from Baseball America written almost exactly one year ago. I found the following paragraph most interesting:

"... Arizona scouting director Mike Rizzo compares Tracy's patient-but-aggressive style to that of another Diamondbacks prospect, Lyle Overbay. Tracy tends to focus on the fastball and adjust to offspeed offerings, but also scours scouting reports and his memory to remind himself what certain pitchers like to throw."

That's an indication that Tracy is a thinking man's hitter. The comparison to Overbay seems apt, except that Tracy is about 2 years ahead in terms of development (Overbay was 25 last year in AAA).

Corner infield/DH isn't a weakness in the Toronto organisation at the moment, but it never hurts to have an oversupply of prospects to hedge against future injuries and serve as potential trade bait.
A Prospect Ripe for the Picking? | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Dave Till - Friday, May 30 2003 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#101276) #
Aha! A potential target for Escobar!
_R Billie - Friday, May 30 2003 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#101277) #
Tracy's pretty good...I think though that Ricciardi will look for similarly desperate teams who have pitching. For instance, in the NL Central race, the Cubs lead and St Louis and Houston are 2 games back. All three of those teams, particularly the Cubs, will likely be looking to do something around the deadline. The Cubs have pitching prospects at virtually every level.
_Jordan - Friday, May 30 2003 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#101278) #
Tracy would be quite useful to this organization as a third-base prospect. Here's how I would break down the relative depth or paucity for the Jays at various positions in the minors (I'm listing players whom I would consider to be halfway reasonable prospects -- as always, take any pitcher, and especially any A-level pitcher, with a grain of salt):

RHP: J Arnold, C Thurman, D Bush, D McGowan, B League, S Nin, V Perkins, C Pleiness, J DeJong, C Reimers, A Peterson, DJ Hanson, V Chulk, M Smith

LHP: J Maureau, D Gassner

C: K Cash, G Quiroz

1B: JF Griffin, J Perry, S Fagan, M Snyder

2B: D Rich, J Alvarez

SS: R Adams

3B: S Pond

OF: G Gross, A Rios, J Werth, T Godwin, R Davenport, R Thompson

Assuming that Russ Adams' future is at second, then shortstop is pretty much vacant below Chris Woodward, who can safely be described as league-average at best. Third base is pretty thin, but then again, there's an incumbent there for the next five years, good health willing. If I were acquiring talent based on position, I'd be looking for shortstops and left-handed pitchers. But then again, who isn't?
_jason - Friday, May 30 2003 @ 02:25 PM EDT (#101279) #
Just out of curiosity, why are we assuming that Russ Adams' future is at 2B?
_Jordan - Friday, May 30 2003 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#101280) #
Jason, to tell the truth, I'm not sure myself. Adams' shift to second base has been foretold virtually from the day he was drafted, though I've never seen a specific reason why. My assumption was always that either his range or his arm wouldn't be adequate; 18 errors at Dunedin already this season haven't helped his cause. But I don't know what type of errors these are, and as others have pointed out, Adams' defensive instincts and athleticism have been praised by the likes of Mike Bordick. I'd certainly like to see him stay at shortstop, but if the conventional wisdom is correct, he's destined for second base.
_Jonny German - Friday, May 30 2003 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#101281) #
Jordan, you list John-Ford Griffin as a 1B. In the event that he pans out as a good major leaguer, what becomes of Josh Phelps? Surely the plan isn't for him to be a lifelong DH.
_Ken - Friday, May 30 2003 @ 06:36 PM EDT (#101282) #
hey jordan if ur putting people like fagan, davenport and alvarez in the depth chart then negron (still has a very good upside), rosario( the best stuff in the system, although the injury casts doubt on his career) and ismael ramirez should be included.........i know they are all in A ball but they are still legitamate prospects for this oraganisation.

i've read somewhere (cant remember off hand) that Griffin could make it in LF, but a switch to 1B has been predicted by many experts. same with adams, although i really hope he can make it as a SS.
_Jordan - Friday, May 30 2003 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#101283) #
Jonny, it's quite possible I'm being too hard on John-Ford -- he's supposed to be at least average as an outfielder, but his throwing arm hasn't recovered from surgery a while back (sounds a little like the incumbent left fielder), and he's not the fastest guy around. Looking at the other OF candidates, Rios has that rare combination of a centerfielder's speed and a right fielder's arm (though neither one is superlative), while Gross is billed as athletic with a fine arm and wheels. And we've already seen Jayson Werth in the outfield, with his good range and a ex-catcher's gun. So I think Griffin will get moved to the infield by default. It would seem strange to choose between youngsters like him and Phelps for DH, but the Jays have had success before with that strategy. But Griffin really should be listed as an OF until he proves otherwise.

Ken, I left off Negron because of his one walk in over 100 ABs at low-A Ball, but you're right, Ramirez was worth adding.
_Jabonoso - Friday, May 30 2003 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#101284) #
After adding another good ss, the next position with a great need to be addressed is third. I like the original proposition and we can only hope that there is a match we the snakes. Hinske is very good but there are so many variables in every player performance and his career is so brief...
Pond is a looong shot to become a serious aspirant to be a starter in any fielding position.
I like Jordan's list but think that he is very generous with some hitters and as he stated pitchers are volatile!
Our system is thin and we all hope for another solid draft.
And good trades too!
_Ken - Friday, May 30 2003 @ 08:08 PM EDT (#101285) #
yeah negron really does need to improve his patience but he doesn't strike out very often and plate patience is something that can be "taught" so i can see him becoming a good player because of his tools. but like u said with all the A ball pitchers, its really hit and miss if they are going to make it.

Jabonoso i wouldn't go as far as saying the system is thin, it lacks some things like major league ready pitching but the farm is stacked with OFs and young arms, i'm not saying its perfect but we could be much worse off.
Hopefully the 3rd base depth will be solidified through this years draft, brian snyder is the favorite to be picked in the 2nd, or hopefully 3rd round, by the jays according to many experts
Craig B - Friday, May 30 2003 @ 11:15 PM EDT (#101286) #
Jabonoso i wouldn't go as far as saying the system is thin, it lacks some things like major league ready pitching but the farm is stacked with OFs and young arms

Well, the Jays have very little of anything that's close to the majors. The general consensus in the offseason had the Jays in the bottom half of all MLB clubs, and not a whole lot has happened so far this season to upgrade that - some, not a lot. We'll see how things pan out after the draft.

The general consensus appear to be that the Jays are around #20 in farm systems, I wouldn't be surprised for them to be right in the middle or even above that by this time next year. And "thin" is a frequently-used term in describing the Jays farm system; it might not be accurate, but it certainly isn't wildly inaccurate.
Craig B - Friday, May 30 2003 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#101287) #
Wow, speaking of Charleston, that's one unlucky team down there. They are 23-25, but are leading the Sally League in runs scored... and ERA. How often does that happen!?
Craig B - Friday, May 30 2003 @ 11:22 PM EDT (#101288) #
I know! It's because I'm an idiot, and it's the Charleston (SC) RiverDogs who are leading the league in runs scored, and not the Charleston (WV) Blue Jays.
_Jabonoso - Saturday, May 31 2003 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#101289) #
Our Charleston team has a very weak offence, just like Dunedin and Syracuse. Only at New Haven the lineup is really well stacked. What surprised me a lot is how NH pitching collapsed after the Arnold promotion. Just Dunedin is close to win its division and that is something telling us that there are big holes as far as fielding competitive teams in every division. Out of New Haven we desperately need bats, and in AA and AAA we also need pitching.
_Jabonoso - Saturday, May 31 2003 @ 03:50 PM EDT (#101290) #
A good report about a BJ wonder boy: G Quiroz is retiring 42% potential basestealers plus a .312-9hr-24rbi line at AA. WOW
_Jonny German - Sunday, June 01 2003 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#101291) #
Back to the Chad Tracy topic, besides having just traded Byung-Hyun Kim, the Diamondbacks today put both closer Matt Mantei and set-up man Mike Koplove on the 15-day DL. Get on the phone JP!!
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