Emil Brown vs Ruben Rivera

First off, the All-Star Game. Based on this year’s stats, there was nobody less likely to make an offensive contribution than Cal Ripken, but there he went, knocking one out of the park in the third inning. How sweet was that… Did you see Matt Morris’ curveballs? Glad I don’t have to try to hit those for a living. And of course, Tommy Lasorda toppling over to avoid being hit by Vlad Guerrero’s shattered bat was classic.

Elsewhere, the Padres made a minor deal last night, sending farmhands Shawn Camp and Shawn Garrett to the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Emil Brown. I know Brown was a prospect in the A’s organization several years ago who was rushed to the big leagues via the Rule V draft, but what are the Padres going to do with him? Unless Mike Darr’s about to be traded.

I’m sorry to see Garrett go. I haven’t mentioned him in my Elsinore reports this year but I like the way he plays. He’s a slashing hitter who plays good defense, sort of a Steve Finley type. The 22-year-old switch-hitter was batting .313/.373/.505 in the Cal League. He’ll make a good fourth outfielder down the line.

Emil Brown? I just looked him up. Sigh… We interrupt this program for a brief history lesson. Here are the career big-league statistics of two players at age 26:

Player A 26 390 .205 .295 .310 .095 .313
Player B 26 1115 .210 .307 .400 .127 .330

Kevin Towers has proven me wrong more times than I care to admit, so I’ll withhold judgment on this one, but for the curious among you, Player A is the aforementioned Brown; Player B is none other than Ruben Rivera. Looks to me like the Padres just picked up a Rivera clone with less power, worse strike-zone judgment, and almost certainly worse defense. I’ll give Towers the benefit of the doubt–I mean, did anyone really figure Phil Nevin would be that much better than Andy Sheets–but this looks strange to me.

Well, this is interesting. STATS projected Brown to hit .296/.353/.440 this season. A shade better than the .203/.300/.325 he’s actually posted. I dunno. He’s young and Towers has pulled out some serious diamonds in the rough in the past. Maybe the Diamondbacks want him as part of a deal for Erubiel Durazo? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens…

Couple loose ends to tie up. First off, belated congrats to USD alum Kevin Reese on his selection to the Midwest League All-Star Game last month. Second, there was one player on the San Antonio Missions I forgot to mention a while back. His name is Craig Kuzmic. He’s a switch-hitter who played mostly first base at Lancaster in 2000. He was a bit old for the Cal League, and he didn’t put up overwhelming numbers. But this year he’s playing a respectable second base and hitting .286/.377/.468. I don’t think he’ll be a star but he could turn into a handy utility player. Keep an eye on him.

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