As many of you know by now, C.C. Sabathia has just been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for a group of 4 minor league prospects headed by AA Hunstville slugger Matt LaPorta. The other players going to the Indians are AAA Nashville LHP Zach Jackson, High-A Brevard County RHP Rob Bryson and a player to be named later, likely, Brevard County 3B Taylor Green.
Sabathia, one season removed from a 19-7 Cy Young Award season, struggled early this season but has rebounded nicely of late winning his last 3 decisions. He is a huge addition for the Brewers who need a top of the rotation workhorse to couple with Ben Sheets in their pursuit of the red hot, division leading Cubs.
In exchange for their ace, the Tribe will receive the Brewers’ #1 prospect OF Matt Laporta, LHP Zach Jackson, RHP Rob Bryson, and a player to be named later (rumored to be 3B Taylor Green).
LaPorta, 23, is the gem of this group. This former ’07 1st round pick is hitting .288 with 20 HR and 66 RBI at AA Huntsville. Zach Jackson, 25, has split time between AAA Nashville and Milwaukee with a lackluster 1-5 record and 7.50 plus ERA. He profiles as nothing more than a left-handed reliever. Rob Bryson was the 11th ranked prospect for the Brewers prior to this season. He is armed with a 95 MPH fastball and 78-82 MPH power slider. Bryson, 20, is a closer in the making striking out 73 in 55 IP at Brevard County with 5 saves. The final prospect Taylor Green is a 21 year old 3B prospect who is hitting .295 with 10 HR and 42 RBI. Green has advanced plate discipline with 42BB/42K.
Obviously, the most alluring player in this deal from the baseball card standpoint is LaPorta. I would venture to guess that he will join AAA Buffalo once the trade is consummated followed by September call up. LaPorta can play 1B, LF or DH and will be a perennial 30+ HR guy for the Indians. HIs 2007 cards should see a boost from this deal as his path to the major leagues have now been accelerated.
LaPorta’s 2007 Bowman Chrome Draft cards are selling for $3.50-4.50 each and his Sterling RC’s sell for $45-50 each. I think the best value may be found in his regular draft cards which sell for about $1.00-1.25 each. Get a bulk lot of these and wait for his major league debut. If you have some of his cards now, hold them and wait for the debut. LaPorta has eye opening power that collectors love.
Feel free to share your views on this deal or other potential deals in the making. This is an exciting time of year that will help carve out the futures of several prospects!