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Prospects in the Cubs/Rockies Trade

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Prospects in the Cubs/Rockies Trade

In their first transaction, the Chicago Cubs under Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer traded outfielder Tyler Colvin and infield prospect DJ LeMahieu to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for third baseman Ian Stewart and right-handed pitcher Casey Weathers.

The two rookies in this trade are LeMahieu and Weathers, so let's take a look at them.

D.J. LeMahieu, 3B-2B: LeMahieu is a 23-year-old infielder originally drafted by the Cubs in the second round in 2009 out of Louisiana State. A right-handed hitter, he is very adept at making contact and has some pop to the gaps, but his swing is tailored for line drives. Despite a 6-4, 205 build and inherent physical strength, he's never shown much power, slugging just .399 in his minor league career (overall line .317/.353/.399).

He hit .358/.386/.492 in 50 games for Double-A Tennessee in 2011, followed by a .286/.328/.366 mark in 58 games for Triple-A Iowa. He hit .250/.262/.283 in 60 at-bats for the Cubs. LeMahieu's best defensive position is third base, but he lacks the power typical of the position. He can also play second base and shortstop without committing excess errors, though his range is limited at those positions according to scouts. Personally I think his range may be a bit underrated. He can be a useful role player, and it is plausible (although not likely) that he could develop into a Freddy Sanchez-type regular statistically, although LeMahieu is four inches taller.

Casey Weathers, RHP: A 26-year-old reliever, Weathers was drafted by the Rockies in the first round in 2007 out of Vanderbilt. He was expected to develop into a major league closer, but he had Tommy John surgery in the fall of 2008 and has never been the same. He still hits 96-98 MPH on his best days and has a nasty slider, but his command is seriously fouled up. He posted a 5.32 ERA with a dismal 48/48 K/BB in 46 innings this year for Double-A Tulsa, although he allowed just 32 hits.

Weathers still throws hard enough to be an impressive reliever, but he can't succeed without throwing more strikes. A change of scenery seems like a good idea, and perhaps the Cubs coaching staff can figure out some way to turn him around that the Rockies couldn't. Since he still throws hard, he qualifies as an intriguing reclamation project.