Sunday, March 27, 2011

Scott Diamond News (UPDATED)

In other late spring news, former Atlanta prospect Scott Diamond failed to make the Twins 25-man roster. As readers of this blog may know, Diamond is a collegiate product of Upstate, NY, having attended Binghamton University. Reports are that Minnesota is still interested in Diamond and, as he was a Rule 5 pick this past winter, are pursuing a trade with Atlanta in order to retain his rights. If a deal isn’t worked out, he must be offered back to the Braves for a $25k fee.

I’d be in favor of Atlanta bringing Diamond back, as he would provide additional Triple A pitching depth and, outside of Minor, would be one of the few higher-level LHP prospects in the organization. However, I could envision a trade working out if the Braves could get a top 20 prospect from the Twins, especially if it’s an outfielder. Minnesota will be visiting Turner Field for final spring exhibition games on Tuesday and Wednesday, so we should likely know what will happen with Diamond by then.

UPDATE: Well that didn't take long. The Braves announced this afternoon that they traded the rights to Diamond for Twins righty-reliever Billy Bullock. Bullock, a big 23 year old power-pitcher, was drafted by Minnesota in the 2nd round of the 2009 Amateur Draft. That's right - the Braves traded a non-drafted free agent for a top round draftee. Another impressive move by Frank Wren. Bullock reached Double A New Britain of the Eastern League last season and has put up some impressive peripherals during his two minor league seasons. His 12.8 K/9 rate in 2010 is borderline jaw-dropping, but control (5.2 BB/9 in '10) will be the main item he'll have to work on.

At first glance, it would seem that Atlanta already has plenty of young arms developing in their system. While that's certainly true, Bullock was highly rated in the Minnesota organization (some ranking had him in the top 10) has some serious upside, if he can address his control issues. He has the potential to be a solid late-inning type guy for Atlanta within the next few couple years. It will be interesting to see where the Braves place Bullock. Double A Mississippi would seem to make sense, with a shot at Gwinnett later in the season if he performs well.

I'm a bit disappointed that Diamond's career with Atlanta is now officially over, though we did get a very good return for him. Diamond's ceiling is probably as a 4th or 5th starter at a time when the Braves seem to be set with starting rotation options over the next few years (Hudson, Hanson, Jurrjens, Beachy, Minor, Medlen, Teheran, Delgado, Vizcaino, Perez, etc.). The Braves could afford to part with him.

Welcome Billy!

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