Santa Barbara Quakes Preview


Coming into the 2005 season, it became quickly obvious that this franchise needed a major overhaul and lacked the talent to compete in the near future.   The two most marketable assets were Eric Gagne and Bobby Abreu and management determined that the franchise needed to move them immediately in return for young talent.  Super closer Eric Gagne was put on the block and the Quakes received Grady Sizemore and Jered Weaver in a package from Maryland.  Time will tell if these two youngsters pan out and provide solid young talent for the rebuilding program.  Bobby Abreu, Scott Shields and Eli Marerro netted young upcoming talent David Wright, Merkin Valdez and two future picks.  Angels vet, Garrett Anderson was included in the package for Abreu and management hopes he recovers to pre-injury form with the Angels this coming season.  He’ll provide veteran leadership for the young Quakes squad.   Santa Barbara also moved cards for prospects in a couple of more deals.  Vet John Mabry who has a very nice card was dealt to Silver for Taylor Buchholtz and a 7th rounder next year.  Buchholtz rates 7th in the Houston organization as rated in the Baseball America Handbook which states he “has one of the best curveballs in the minors and plus velocity of 91-95 mph”.  Buchholtz may get some more seasoning in the minors to start the year, but the hope is he gets called up to the rotation at some point in 2005.  The Quakes most recent deal involved Jose Valentin and Dustin Nippert for Joey Votto, Chris Woodward and Virginia’s 4th rounder next year.  Votto ranks 4th in the Reds organization by Baseball America .  BA states Votto “has excellent strength, discipline and savvy at the plate, a combination that makes him the best hitter in the system.  Sean Casey has a club option for 2006, so Votto could be pushed.  Baseball Prospectus projects Votto to replace Casey by 2007.    


In addition, the Quakes needed to make good use of its draft picks along with the supplemental picks to build a foundation for future success.  Management feels confident it was able to do just that.


First Round – Jason Bartlett, SS was taken with the Quakes first pick and looks to be the long term solution at SS for the franchise.  As Baseball Prospectus notes “a strong-armed shortstop who possesses solid lateral range and can handle plays from deep in the hole, and Bartlett is one to watch”.  Bartlett will get every opportunity to win the job at short in camp”.


Comp A – Mark Teahan, 3B was taken with the first comp pick.  He’ll be given every opportunity to nab the starting job with the Royals by June.  He was the centerpiece in the Royals trade of Carlos Beltran last year.  If he delivers as expected, the Quakes will have depth at 3b to deal to fill other needs down the line. 


Second Round – Ryan Church, OF looks to get some time with the Nationals and was named the Expos top minor leaguer after finishing third in the AAA PCL in 2004.  Good contact hitter with excellent bat speed and a good eye. 


Comp B – Ryan Doumit C shows “enough offensive upside to get excited” according to Baseball Prospectus.  With Jason Kendall gone, the hope is Doumit gets playing time and proves his worth.  He’s one of several interesting catchers in the Pirates system. 


Bonus – Gustavo Chacin, P hopes to make the 5th slot in the Toronto rotation.  He had two good starts in the majors last year and needs some more refinement on a 3rd pitch.  He went 16-2 for New Hampshire in AA last season before his call up. 


Fourth Round – Macier Izturis, 2b looks to get playing time with the Angels due to injuries to Adam Kennedy and Dallas McPhearson.  Izturis had a .400+ obp in the PCL and scores out similar to his brother Cesar with the same excellent defensive abilities and is a good contact hitter with gap power from both sides of the plate.   


Overall, the foundation is in place and with another year of deal making and smart drafting, the Quakes look to rebound into playoff contention by the 2007 season.