From an outsider’s point of view, Jerry Hairston Jr. was having a pretty solid season for the Washington Nationals in 2011—and now he is no longer with the team.
The Nationals shipped Hairston, who was hitting .268 with four home runs and 24 RBI, to the Milwaukee Brewers for 23-year-old outfield prospect Erik Komatsu.
Hairston’s numbers were not stupendous by any means, but his batting average and .342 on-base percentage were second on the team among players with at least 225 plate appearances, behind only Mike Morse. It would be a stretch to say his is a bat the Nationals will sorely miss, but they will certainly notice its lack of presence.
In return for Hairston, the Nationals received Erik Komatsu, who could potentially make this trade a big “win” for them.
The former eighth-round draft pick has only reached Double-A, so he has not yet endured the Triple-A litmus test, but he has been impressive so far in his young career. He has excellent speed, hits for a high average and possesses solid extra-base power, if his 31-double 2010 season is any indication.
Prior to the deal, Komatsu was hitting .294 with six home runs, 40 RBI and 13 stolen bases for the Double-A Huntsville Stars. In 2010, he hit .323 with five home runs, 63 RBI and 28 stolen bases for the Single-A Brevard County Manatees. He has displayed an impeccable eye at the plate, walking more than striking out in each of the past two seasons.
That’s all well and good, but quite frequently, players who star in the lower and mid-minors often fail when they reach the higher echelons of professional baseball. So, with Komatsu, that is always a possibility.
If Komatsu does not pan out, then the Nationals will not have really lost anything major in the long run, as Hairston is a solid player, but not a star. But at present, his adequate bat may be missed—because Jonny Gomes is really not that good.