We already laid out for the fantasy baseball ramifications of the Brewers trade for C.C. Sabathia. NL-only fantasy GMs get a top-quality pitcher. AL-only GMs lose a top-quality pitcher, and mixed leaguers continue to have a top-quality starting pitcher who should receive much better run support and even more strikeout opportunities.
What exactly does the trade mean for the Cleveland Indians? The Tribe received three prospects and a player to be named in exchange for Sabathia. One prospect is a highly-touted future Major Leaguer. The other two you might not be sure about… but lucky for you, Fantasy Baseball Dugout is here to break it down.
Matt LaPorta, Outfielder: LaPorta is the gem of this trade, a highly-rated prospect tearing it up in AA that could see some 2008 playing time as the Indians prepare for 2009. A 2007 first round pick, LaPorta came into the bigs out of the University of Florida as a catcher before being converted into an outfielder. He was invited to Big League Spring Training for the Brew Crew and was assigned to AA Huntsville. In 84 games for Huntsville, LaPorta won two Southern League Player of the Week Awards, batted .288, hit 20 homers, knocked in 66 RBI, scored 54 and stole 2 bags. With guys like Shin-Soo Choo in right, and the platoon of David Delucci and Ben Francisco in left, LaPorta should see some Big League time for the Indians this season, but don’t rush to add him yet.
Rob Bryson, Pitcher: Bryson, a 31st round pick in 2006, was projected by Baseball America to be the Brewers’ closer in 2011. He has a better chance of making the bigs as a reliever or closer rather than a starter. His ERA at A-level ball was 4.25, but he struck out 73 in only 55 innings. Possessing a 96-mph heater and slider described as “electric” never hurts. While we’re pretty sure the Indians farm system moves faster than Milwaukee’s, don’t expect Bryson to join the squad until at least next season. Don’t worry about adding him at all in 2008, even in keeper leagues.
Zach Jackson, Pitcher: Jackson is a left-handed starter and spent time with the Brewers’ big league roster in 2006. Most of his pitching career, however, has been with Milwaukee’s AAA affiliate, Nashville. He made two appearances in late May for the Brew Crew out of the bullpen, and had a 4.91 ERA and 1 strikeout in 3.7 innings of work. Jackson will start in the minor leagues for the Indians, and probably will not see Major League time in 2008. Don’t worry about finding a spot for him on keeper league roster, either. His career Major League record of 2-2 in 7 starts with an ERA of 5.36 and 23 strikeouts in 42 career innings don’t make him an attractive fantasy baseball sleeper.