Saturday, December 30, 2006

And Then There Were Three . . . . Prospects

Now that the Randy Johnson trade has travelled from possible to probable to imminent the NY Daily News has leaked the three young arms which have caught the Yankees' eye. As pictured above the 3 high-end prospects are Ross Ohlendorf, Dustin Nippert, and Micah Owings. And as the NY Post is reporting, the Unit trade has become reliant on just how much green New York is willing to eat of the remaining $16million left on his deal. Of course Arizona still has to pay Johnson from money deferred during his previous DBack tour. As can be imagined these types of money negotiations can be complex and take some time to be worked out. There is also the fact - as Peter Franklin blogs on his site - that nothing will be get done until Tuesday at the earliest because the commissioner's office is closed until that time.

Owings and Ohlendorf are both 24 and Nippert is 25. While Nippert is suggested as the DBack's top pitching prospect, many believe that Owings is the most prized arm in Arizona's farm system. While the Yankees are asking for 2 of these 3 prospects in exchange for Randy Johnson, it is believed that the more the Yankees eat of Johnson's remaining contract the greater the litter from which to choose from. Although it would have been nice to have gotten Chad Tracy back in some capacity for the Old Unit, that may have been a little delusional on my part. In any event, most realistic Yanks fans would have to be overjoyed if New York could shed the greater part of Randy's contract in exchange for young, high-level talent. Personally, I would take any deal that involves Owings. He commands a plus fastball and plus slider and is said to have that bulldog mentality that makes pitching coaches smile. Although most believe Owings needs to develop another solid pitch to truly compete in the majors, his upside is outstanding.

I do not know much of the three pitchers, but Ohlendorf is said to have ridiculous control of a low 90s fastball and does not walk anybody. Although it is apparently this refusal to throw balls out of the strike zone which gets him in trouble as he becomes somewhat hittable. He is a Princeton guy who sports a 1580 SAT score which means Mussina might actually have someone he can't talk down to in the clubhouse.

Nippert is the top prospect in Arizona's system. His arsenal includes a low to mid 90s fastball and a filthy breaking curveball. He has been projected as a 2 or 3 starter but it has been said that he has the tendency to give up big innings which may be due to lack of composure. This break in concentration results in a loss of his control which means crooked numbers for the opposition.

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