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Scouting report on Cubs prospects Rays could get in Garza deal

7

January

The names of the Cubs prospects that could come to the Rays in the reported Matt Garza trade may not be familiar to Tampa Bay fans.

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But Billy Gardner, the manager of the Rays' Double-A affiliate in Montgomery (Ala), knows a few of them pretty well, having faced them last season. 

RHP Chris Archer, C Robinson Chirinos and OF Brandon Guyer all have played for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies, and Gardner offered a scouting report on the trio. (SS/2B Hak-Ju Lee is the other prospect reportedly involved, but he played for Single-A Peoria last season). Rays OF Fernando Perez is reportedly heading to Chicago, though the deal is not set to be announced yet.

*On Archer, the Cubs top prospect and minor league pitcher of the year:

Gardner: "He's a kid with a high ceiling, I thought. He's got plus stuff, he creates good angles, a good downhill plane on his pitching which makes him tough to face. He's shown a plus-slider, his fastball sits at 91-92, and would get up to 95 when we saw him. He's capable of adding to his fastball when he needed to.

"He's long and loose, has a good pitcher's body. He's a couple years away, there's some fine-tuning he needs to go through, some maturity as far as being a pitcher. But he's got good upside."

*On Chirinos, the Cubs top catching prospect, who is coming off a career season

Gardner: "He's a converted guy who was an infielder, moved to catcher. I was impressed with how well he adapted to that position, such a demanding position. He was voted the best defensive catcher in the league. I liked his approach at the plate, he attacked the ball, he could drive the ball, he had a good selective approach which made him a better hitter. I just think he needs to go through the experience of being a catcher and learning how to handle a staff and game-management type of stuff, which comes with experience. I was impressed with his physical work behind the plate, his ability to catch, throw and block.

*On Guyer, a strong defensive outfielder.

*I thought he was one of the better tools guys in the league, he could run and throw and hit with power. He's a guy who might be the late bloomer type of guy, they expected a little more out of him when they drafted him and I think he started to put it together this year. "

The trade has yet to be officially announced. But Gardner said if it is these prospects the Rays are getting, they are all "good makeup" guys, which he says is a credit to the Cubs organization.

"Obviously Garza is an established major league guy, but what we'd get back in return in terms of players I think it's a pretty good group. I don't know if they're major league ready....I think if you're looking down the road a few years, it's a pretty good core group, a guy who can play a premium position behind the plate, a guy like Archer with very good upside, and a guy like Guyer who can run, throw and hit with a chance to be a front-line major league outfielder."

-- JOE SMITH

joesmith@sptimes.com

 

[Last modified: Sunday, February 6, 2011 12:15am]

    

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