If you’ve known me for very long, you’ve probably heard me comment from time to time on how deceptive High Desert is as an environment for evaluating prospects. The Mavericks have a massively offense-friendly park in what’s probably the most offense-friendly league in professional baseball. That has lead time and again to overly-inflated offensive numbers, and good pitchers putting up bad numbers.
High Desert plays their home games in Stater Brothers Stadium, located in Adelanto, CA. Adelanto is in the Mojave Desert, which on it’s own would increase the offensive friendliness of the park thanks to the warm, dry air. Making the place a ridiculous bandbox is the fact that the city’s elevation is approximately 2,870 feet above sea level. The heat plus the thin air creates just a ridiculous environment for baseball to be played in, and unlike Coors Field, there’s no humidor to be found.
One of the prospect storylines of interest this year is the transition of 2010 draft pick Forrest Snow from the bullpen in to the rotation. Snow had a wonderfully successful debut in Everett in Clinton last year in a relief role, giving up just three runs in 45 1/3 innings over 25 appearances, including nine saves.
Then, during the offseason, the Mariners decided to move him to the rotation. Mostly a starter at the University of Washington (Snow is a local boy, having been born in Seattle), Snow is no stranger to the role, and supposedly welcomed the change with open arms. He could have been fast-tracked as a reliever, but given his arsenal, he has intriguing potential as a starter.
We go back to July 9th, 2010. Mariners fans wake up to flurries of rumors that the Yankees have made a strong offer for pitcher Cliff Lee centered around top hitting prospect Jesus Montero. Details start to emerge, and indications are that the Mariners are going to accept the offer… until news comes out that the M’s have declined the offer because one of the players the Yankees would be sending to Seattle has a medical issue that they’re concerned about.
From there, things got a little nuts. Rumors fly of other teams getting involved, and of the Yankees changing their offer. Eventually, the dust settles, and the Rangers stood atop the pile, having snagged Lee and reliever Mark Lowe from Seattle in exchange for four prospects. We all know the rest of the story from there, but the question is this: did the Mariners make the right call?
To help figure that out, we’ll look at the secondary pieces. In this first part, we’ll look at the more secondary players in the trade: Continue reading