The San Diego Padres have made it official – Adrian Gonzalez will move East to play for the Red Sox next season. Most in baseball point to this deal as another glaring reason why salary reform needs to done, and I’m not in opposition, however, don’t be too fast to cry for San Diego. They might have given up a premier Major League first-basemen, but they got three of the top minor league prospects in all of Minor League Baseball in return in 1B Anthony Rizzo (pictured), RHP Casey Kelly, and CF Reymond Fuentes.
Casey Kelly is the best known prospect of the three – he was the 30th overall pick out of Sarasota High School in 2008. The Red Sox allowed him to mess around as a shortstop for his first two years, but went to the mound full-time in 2010 and was promoted to class double-A. The 20-year old faced some adversity in double-A, but let’s not forget it he still can’t legally order a beer and he is a step away from the big leagues. He went 3-5 in 21 triple-A starts last year, compiled 95 innings, a 5.31 ERA, 81 K and 35 BB. His fastball sits in the low 90s, but he has been known to rev it up to about 96mph. Mixed with a hard breaking curveball and change-up, look for him to break into the Padres rotation in 2012, if not by the end of 2011.
Anthony Rizzo is a 6’3″ 220-pound first-basemen that was originally a 6th round pick by the Red Sox out of Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. He missed some games early in his career when he was diagnosed with non Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2008, but went through cemo and was declared cancer-free later that year. He bounced back to put up solid numbers in 2009, but really exploded in 2010 when the Red Sox promoted him all the way from class high-A to triple-A. Like Kelly, Rizzo is just 20 years old, but that didn’t effect him – he hit .263 in 107 games in triple-A with 30 doubles, 20 home runs and 80 RBI. He is an advanced defensive first basemen and while he may not be able to be the perennial MVP-caliber All-Star that Adrian Gonzalez was, he won’t be much of a downgrade. He is another prospect that will be in the bigs for sure in 2012, if not by the end of 2011.
Reymond Fuentes is the farthest from the big leagues of the three players involved in this deal, but the odds are that he will be playing in a Padres uniform in a few years, too. The cousin of Carlos Beltran, Fuentes was selected in the first round of the 2009 draft and played last year in class low-A Greenville at the age of 19. His offensive line of .270/.328/.377 is modest, but he did pick up 42-47 stolen bases, and has the speed necessary to play center field at the spacious Petco Park. His plate discipline is a little concerning – only 25 walks to 87 strikeouts last year – not exactly what you want from a prospect with little potential for power. However, Fuentes has plenty of time to develop – I would look for him to contribute to the big league squad in 2014.