Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Christian, Jackson, Aceves, Shelley -- the farms are yielding crops

Three weeks ago, nobody in our farm system had broken out.

That was then. This is now.

Tonight, we've got players starting to dominate their leagues.

Justin Christian is 29, a career minor-leaguer who we signed from an indie league. He's got great speed, great CF glove. Normally, you wouldn't give him a second look. But he's hitting at Scranton, and he's stealing bases. He's now got 16. This could be the 9th inning base-stealer, the pinch runner we've been waiting for. I know what you're thinking: That role was to be Brett Gardner's, also at Scranton. But Christian's emergence -- he's batting .303 -- could make Gardner into trade bait. We can still have that 9th inning speed. And this guy could be the ghost of Scott Seabol.

Austin Jackson, 21, is suddenly murdering the Eastern League. He's got 4 HR in the last four games. (Last year, he broke out at just about this same time.) He plays CF. Here's what could happen: We trade Gardner, move Christian up to the base-stealer role, and move Jackson to Scranton. He could be our CF by this time next year.

(By the way, I'm not advocating trading Gardner for the sake of trading Gardner. We better get something for him. He's legit. But how many CF do we need.)

Shelley Duncan tonight at Scranton: 4 at bats thus far... 4 walks. Hard to gauge what's going on. But we'll take the discipline.

Alfred Aceves, 26, is a linebacker-sized RH from Mexico. We signed him from God Knows Where last winter. This spring, over 8 games, he absolutely killed the Florda State League. His ERA was 2.11. They brought him up to Trenton. He's absolutely killing the Eastern League. Tonight, he's throwing a 1-hitter through 8 innings. His ERA is 1.64.

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