Mark Kotsay Is Officially A Brave; Catfish Stew Is Officially Giddy
by Ken Arneson
2008-01-14 15:42

Mark Kotsay passed his physical, and…wow. The A’s got not only one, but two of the Braves’ top 20 prospects in exchange for Mark Kotsay. As discussed before, the A’s get hard-throwing reliever Joey Devine, who John Sickels lists as the Braves’ #5 prospect, plus–bonus!–Jamie Richmond, the Braves’ #13 prospect.

Neither prospect is without their flaws. Devine was rushed to the majors too young, where he promptly gave up some devastating home runs. He was the first pitcher in MLB history to give up grand slams in his first two games, and he also gave up an 18th-inning home run to Chris Burke in the 2005 NLDS, which ended the Braves’ season. He has also had trouble throwing strikes, but seemed to have overcome this while spending most the 2007 season in the minor leagues. A change of scenery may do him a world of good.

I’m not sure why Sickels has Richmond rated so high; his numbers in A-ball last year were decent, but not overly impressive: 3.02 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 6.36 K/9. Richmond being #13 is probably an indication of how shallow the Braves’ system had grown after the big Mark Teixeira trade last summer. Still, while Richmond doesn’t seem to overpower anyone, he does have one excellent asset: his control. In 2006 in Rookie-level ball, he pitched 67 innings, and only walked an Eckersleyesque four batters all year. That jumped up to 25 walks in 138 2/3 innings as he advanced to A-ball last year, which isn’t too bad, either.

Still, even with their flaws, both players have some upside, which is two more players with upside than I had expected to get in exchange for Kotsay.

And now, this analysis has grown tiresome. This is the time on Catfish Stew when we dance.

Comments: 14
1.   Eric Enders
2008-01-14 16:38

1.  Tremendous trade for the A's.

2.   Eric Stephen
2008-01-14 16:51

2.  For the A's, to get more than simply Devine is, well, simply divine.

3.   D4P
2008-01-14 16:52

3.  I would not like to touch your monkey.

4.   Ken Arneson
2008-01-14 17:06

4.  Devine was #5 in the Braves system, and would slot between #7 and #9 in Oakland's, according to Sickels' grading system.

Richmond was #13 for Atlanta, and would fall between #15 and #24.

1. Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Grade B+
2. Gio Gonzalez, LHP, Grade B+
3. Fautino De Los Santos, RHP, Grade B+
4. Daric Barton, 1B, Grade B+
5. Brett Anderson, LHP, Grade B+
6. Chris Carter, 1B, Grade B+
7. James Simmons, RHP, Grade B
8. Henry Alberto Rodriguez, RHP, Grade B
9. Joey Devine, RHP, Grade B
10. Trevor Cahill, RHP, Grade B-
11. Aaron Cunningham, OF, Grade B-
12. Corey Brown, OF, Grade B-
13. Andrew Bailey, RHP, Grade B-
14. Sean Doolittle, 1B, Grade B-
15. Ryan Sweeney, OF, Grade C+
16. Javier Herrera, OF, Grade C+
17. Dan Meyer, LHP, Grade C+
18. Greg Smith, LHP, Grade C+
19. Sam Demel, RHP, Grade C+
20. Andrew Carignan, RHP, Grade C+
21. Grant Desme, OF, Grade C+
22. Travis Banwart, RHP, Grade C+
23. Josh Horton, SS, Grade C+
24. Jamie Richmond, RHP, Grade C+
25. Jermaine Mitchell, OF, Grade C

5.   Ken Arneson
2008-01-14 17:08

5.  Interesting though, two more pitchers: still no CF, SS or 2B prospects from the three big trades this winter.

6.   underdog
2008-01-14 17:22

6.  Great to get Devine. Hope he proves the Braves wrong.

I worry that the A's are going to be Giants-East (or the Giants are A's-West), with great young pitchers and very few position prospects, but they have a deeper farm system than SF with all these trades. I'm sure Beane'll figure something out for offense - by 2010... if not before!

7.   underdog
2008-01-14 17:26

7.  And Gonzalez, of course, should be all intents and purposes be a keeper, hopefully. Barton still has time to pan out (this should be his year...?) so, yeah, they should be okay in time.

8.   doppelganger
2008-01-14 18:31

8.  It seems only yesterday that Javier Herrera was one of our best prospects.

The farm system's getting a lot better.

9.   ToyCannon
2008-01-14 20:46

9.  How do you trade the worse CF in basball and get two prospects?
Since you have Denorfia why would you need a centerfielder coming back? He was a steal last spring.

10.   jmoney
2008-01-14 21:31

10.  I too wish there were a few middle of the diamond players on the list. Maybe Beane will remedy that with one of our forthcoming Top 10 draft choices.

All things considered, that's a pretty damn good list. 6 guys at B+ and 3 at B, and the 10th guy is Cahill, who I think Goldstein at BP loves. The A's might not be THAT far away from being good again.

11.   jmoney
2008-01-14 21:45

11.  I just went through the lists of teams Sickels has done. The only team that is obviously better than the A's is Tampa Bay, with the Rangers, Reds and Red Sox all being in the same ballpark.

It seems pretty clear the A's now have a Top 5, or at worst a Top 10 system.

And Tampa is going to win a World Series by 2015.

12.   Bob Timmermann
2008-01-15 02:54

12.  Burke's homer ended the 2005 NLDS, aka the day I bought my present car.

13.   Ken Arneson
2008-01-15 04:39

13.  12 You're driving your car in Garmisch-Partenkirchen? I am impressed!

Danke, Herr Timmermann. Ich habe den Fehler korrigiert.

14.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
2008-01-15 12:35

14.  Coincidentally, Kevin Goldstein at BP published his Braves Top 11 Prospects, and didn't list either Devine or Richmond in the top 11, though he did list Devine as "Just Missing", so you could count him as 12th.

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