Remember the big trade of last season? The one that had Indians fans pouting about the team throwing in the towel? For those with memory loss, I’m referring to CC Sabathia to Milwaukee for a bag of balls and three minor leaguers. The Indians must have known CC was going to want ridiculous amounts of money, which the Yankees are dumb enough to throw around yearly, and would want out by 2009. So they call their “Bud”, Selig in Milwaukee and basically loan Sabathia to the Brewers for the rest of the season. One of the minor league players Cleveland obtained in the deal is Matt LaPorta.
Matt LaPorta was a stud at Florida University. He was a two-time SEC Player of the Year. In his junior season, LaPorta injured his oblique. Boston wanted to take a chance on what they saw prior to the injury and drafted him in the fourteenth round. LaPorta opted to return for his senior season with the Gators and did enough to up his draft stock. The Brewers drafted him seventh overall and gave him a $2 million signing bonus.
LaPorta was doing well in Milwaukee AA ball with plenty of power at a young age. The problem was he had to unseat Prince Fielder, who was coming off of an MVP-type season and is probably going to be the starting 1B for the Brewers for awhile. This made LaPorta expendable. I applaud the Indians for pulling the trigger on this move. If Travis Hafner fails on his bid to return to form, LaPorta is a capable replacement waiting in the wings.
Matt LaPorta will in all likelihood start the year in AAA Buffalo. If either Hafner or Ryan Garko slump or get hurt, look for LaPorta to get a call up before September. Otherwise, just look for him then when rosters are expanded. He is now considered the number one power-hitting prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization.