Newberg Report: Short-term yield
How the players Texas traded in July have fared
The impact that Cliff Lee, Bengie Molina, Jorge Cantu, and Cristian Guzman (and possibly Mark Lowe) have in Texas will be measured largely on what they do over the final third of the 2010 season and, the Rangers hope, in October.
In contrast, the young players that the Mariners, Giants, Marlins, and Nationals got in July from Texas in exchange for those veterans will be counted on to develop over a longer term, making what they do in a small sample size this summer relatively unimportant.
But that won't stop us from taking a look at what the 10 players Texas traded in July have done so far for their new organizations, ranked from the best debut to the least effective one. Again, this is not a big picture ranking of the 10 players -- that assessment will take years -- but instead a look at which of them have gotten off to the strongest starts since being traded.
1. Josh Lueke, RHP, Triple-A Tacoma: Until a shaky outing on Aug. 20, Lueke had been unconscious since joining the Mariners in the Lee trade. In six relief appearances for Double-A West Tenn, he struck out 14 and walked none in 7.1 scoreless innings, scattering four hits. In his first six games pitched for Triple-A Tacoma, he fanned 12 and issued one walk in 10.2 frames, allowing seven hits and just one earned run. He was tagged for three runs in an inning of work on Friday, but there's still a chance that he finishes the season in the big league bullpen, auditioning for a 2011 setup role.
2. Blake Beavan, RHP, Triple-A Tacoma: Beavan, who was on the verge of a promotion to Triple-A before Texas shipped him to Seattle, made three Double-A starts before the Mariners gave him his first look at Triple-A hitters. Three of his five Tacoma starts have been outstanding (2-0, 2.25, 13 strikeouts and three walks in 20 innings), while two others have been ugly (0-2, 13.09). He's very young for Triple-A, however, and now has 14 wins in what has been a breakout season.
3. Matt Lawson, 2B, Double-A West Tennessee: Lawson's breakout season with Frisco has held up since the Lee trade. After hitting .277 with an .809 OPS for the RoughRiders, the 24-year-old is hitting .328 with an .847 OPS for the Mariners' Double-A club. Lawson made six errors for Frisco, playing mostly second base with a little outfield mixed in. Playing strictly second base for the Diamond Jaxx (other than two shortstop appearances), he's committed just one error in 33 games -- and it came in his first game following the trade.
4. Ryan Tatusko, RHP, Double-A Harrisburg: Tatukso has followed his 9-2, 2.97 breakout campaign with Frisco with a solid three-start debut in the Nationals system since coming over in the Guzman deal, going 1-1, 2.70 with 20 strikeouts and nine walks in 16.2 innings, holding Eastern Leaguers to a .210 batting average, and inducing twice as many groundouts as flyouts.
5. Tanner Roark, RHP, Double-A Harrisburg: Like Tatusko, Roark has been sensational since joining Washington, posting quality starts his first two times out and coming an out short of doing it again in his third start. In 17.2 innings, he's allowed four earned runs (2.04 ERA) on 14 hits (.212 opponents' average) and three walks, fanning 14, after he'd gone 10-5, 4.20 in 17 starts and five relief appearances for Frisco.
6. Justin Smoak, 1B, Triple-A Tacoma: After struggling terribly on his arrival in Seattle (.159 average with 23 strikeouts and one walk in 63 at-bats), Smoak was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma, where his first month looked like his early work in Texas: he's drawing walks and hitting for occasional power, but he's not hitting for average (.232). Smoak's potential is huge, but it's been a disappointing season, both before and since his inclusion in the Lee trade.
7. Chris Ray, RHP, San Francisco: After Ray held opponents to a .205 batting average as a Ranger, batters hit him at a .298 clip in his run with the Giants, which was halted in mid-August when he landed on the disabled list with a strain in the ribcage area. Sporting a 5.40 ERA for San Francisco, Ray's strikeouts remain frustratingly low for a short-dose reliever with power stuff.
8. Evan Reed, RHP, Double-A Jacksonville: The 24-year-old right-hander was having a terrific year in the Rangers system (1.76 ERA, 36 strikeouts and 13 walks in 41 innings between Frisco and Oklahoma City, one home run) when he keyed the Cantu deal for Florida. He made only one relief appearance for the Suns, however, before complaining of elbow tightness and seeing his season end prematurely.
9. Michael Main, RHP, Double-A Richmond: Main was in the midst of a solid comeback season with Bakersfield, surpassing his career high in innings pitched by the first week of June and sitting at 5-3, 3.45 at the time of the Rangers' trade with San Francisco to get Molina. The Giants challenged Main with an immediate assignment to the Double-A Eastern League, and things did not go well. In five appearances (including four starts), Main logged only 13.2 innings, surrendering 26 runs (21 earned: 13.83 ERA) on 21 hits (.362 opponents' average) and 14 walks, fanning seven. He's been shut down since late July.
10. Omar Poveda, RHP, 60-Day Disabled List: The 22-year-old from Venezuela has missed the entire season after Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in March. The Marlins expect he'll be ready to go physically in Spring Training.
Jamey Newberg is a contributor to MLB.com. A Dallas lawyer, he has been an insane Texas Rangers fan since the days of scheduled doubleheaders, Bat Nights when they actually handed out a piece of lumber instead of a grocery store voucher, and Jim Umbarger. He has covered the Texas Rangers, from the big club down through the entire farm system, since 1998 on his website, NewbergReport.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.