Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Trade Too Far

Most people who follow baseball closely from the outside (i.e. bloggers) tend to overvalue prospects. For those of us who follow the White Sox this is very unfortunate as Kenny Williams seems to give away prospects like an illegal alien passing out escort cards in Vegas.

To Kenny’s credit, none of the prospects he has traded has yet come back to haunt the Sox. But this offseason he seems to be pushing it. First, he traded the organizations two top lefty pitching prospects, Gio Gonzalaez and Daniel Haigwood. Now he seems intent on trading the crown jewel of the Sox system, Chris Young, to the Diamondbacks for Javier Vasquez.

Chris Young just had a dominant year at Birmingham, one of the toughest hitting parks in the minors. He put up a line of 277/377/545 with 26 homers and 41 doubles. The only black mark was his 129 K’s. But great hitters often have high K rates, and at age 21, he still has a lot of time to improve.

Let's compare Young to how some other Sox sluggers fared at Birmingham.

Chris Young Age 21: 277/377/545
Mike Cameron Age 22: 249/351/429
Mike Cameron Age 23: 300/400/600
Brian Anderson Age 23: 270/346/416 (half season)
Magglio Age 22: 263/323/476
Carlos Lee Age 22: 302/350/485
Rowand Age 22: 258/320/438

As you can see, the only person able to put up the same type of numbers at Birmingham is the player Young is most often compared to, Mike Cameron. Of course, it took Cameron two seasons at AA to put up those numbers and he was two years older than Young at the time.

I know Kenny likes to have his rotation filled in years in advance, but there is hardly a need to make this move. With the right players, it would certainly make sense, and it's great that he plans on unloading El Duque. But with Chris Young, I’m afraid he is giving away the farm. This is a trade that Sox fans will be regretting for a long time.

It's a shame that at a time Sox fans should be basking in the glow of a championship holiday we have to worry if the man at the wheel has had a bit too much egg nog.