Minor League Keeper Thoughts: Players Traded Before Reviewing

Mar 13, 2012; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (44) hits a solo home run during the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

We've reached the end of this year's minor league keeper thoughts series, just in time for games to start for most of the teams in the next week. But our minor league cover doesn't end with the season beginning. Here's some of the details:

Sundays - Minor League Level Review - Each Sunday I will be reviewing a level of the minor leagues (AAA one week, AA the following week), and taking a look at how some of the prospects at those levels are performing, as well as some of the top performers who might be jumping onto prospect radars.

Mondays - Coming Soon to A Stadium Near You - I will be taking a look at a player in AA or AAA who could be making his way to the Majors this season depending on how things play out. It could be someone like a top prospect, or just a player who could benefit from a change of role or an injury at the big league level.

Wednesdays - Minor League Level Review - Each Wednesday I will be reviewing another level of the minor leagues (High-A one week, Low-A the following week), similar to the reviews on Sundays.

Thursdays - Waiting In The Wings - You've already seen Craig's most recent post in this series, talking about Cardinals' 3B prospect Zack Cox. Each week Craig will be previewing a prospect at AA or AAA who could be up in the Majors before too long.

Fridays - Prospect Review - I will be taking a look at a lower level prospect (High-A or lower) who could be moving up prospect rankings with continued excellent performance.

Saturdays - Call Ups and Demotions - Craig will take a brief look at some of the players who've moved up and down in the past week.

Needless to say, there's a lot of coverage planned for the minor leagues here at Fake Teams, but if there are specific prospects or players you'd like to read more about, post them in the comments and we'll see what we can do to get to them during the season.

There were only a few players who were traded by their teams prior to my writing them up, but after I had published that team's report. Here's the profiles of those players:

Anthony Rizzo

Traded by the Padres to the Cubs, Anthony Rizzo becomes the long-term solution at first base for the Cubs. Rizzo has shown great power numbers in each of his last few seasons, including 26 home runs last year in just 93 games at AAA Tucson. While the PCL is known as a hitters' league, the difference may not be as much of an issue as one thinks. Here's what our own Kenneth Arthur had to say about the topic last season:

He's very young for his league, and perhaps the best hitter in the PCL. He doesn't play in a hitter park, but his power numbers have been phenomenal. He won't make as much contact as Adrian Gonzalez, but he may actually possess more raw power. Like Gonzalez, he sprays the balls to all fields, and if you want to succeed in PETCO, you need to be able to hit the ball everywhere.

Rizzo was already sent down to AAA Iowa and will be there to start the season, but I have to imagine that if he performs well and Bryan LaHair struggles, Rizzo will get the call sooner rather than later. Once he's up in the Majors to stay, I could see a hitter who posts a solid batting average (.280 range), along with 20-25 home runs on a consistent basis for the Cubs.

Jesus Montero

Traded during the offseason by the Yankees to the Mariners, Montero will likely catch a couple times a week and be the DH a majority of the time for the Mariners. Every level that Montero has played at, he has hit extremely well, and generally been given poor grades on his defensive skills behind the plate. Montero currently only qualifies as a UT in most leagues, but it appears that he will get enough time behind the plate during the season to qualify as a catcher for next year. Even in Seattle, we could be looking at a player who will hit for a .290+ batting average with 25+ home runs each year. He is one of the few players who, if for some reason he doesn't end up qualifying anywhere but UT, would still be valuable enough to overcome that.

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