Austin Jackson, OF
The toolsy outfielder was initially selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2005 Draft out of the Texas high school ranks. A big basketball recruit -- he had a scholarship to Georgia Tech -- the Yankees gave him $800,000 to lure him away from the hardcourt.
The 22-year-old is definitely knocking on the door after spending all of last season at Triple-A. He was named International League Rookie of the Year after hitting .300 for Scranton. Over 132 games, Jackson had a .354 on-base percentage and .405 slugging mark. That brought his career line to .288/.356/.410.
Jackson, ranked No. 23 overall in MLB.com's midseason top 50 prospects list, stole 24 bags in 28 tries in 2009. While he's not a burner, he combines good speed with improving knowledge to be a successful basestealer. He should be able to continue to do so at the next level. The general theory with player development is that power is the last to come. Some feel Jackson will add some pop as he continues to mature.
He uses his speed to his advantage defensively as well. While there has been some division about where he might profile long-term, many feel he has the skills to be an everyday center fielder at the Major League level, with above-average range and a solid arm.
From the Yankees to the D-backs:
Ian Kennedy, RHP
A first-round pick out of USC from the 2006 Draft (No. 21 overall), Kennedy was fast-tracked to the big leagues, making his debut in 2007. He pitched well in that brief stint -- 1.89 ERA over three starts -- and the hope was he'd be a part of the Yankees' rotation in 2008. He spent a good chunk of time with the Yankees in '08, but went 0-4 with an 8.17 ERA in 39 3/2 innings.
Kennedy, 24, got off to a good start in 2009, with a 1.59 ERA in four Triple-A starts. But he was then diagnosed with an aneurysm near his right shoulder and he underwent surgery in May. He managed to work his way back at the very end of the year, making one relief appearance for the Yankees in September.
From there, the right-hander went to the Arizona Fall League, where he threw fairly well, with a 4.25 ERA over 29 2/3 innings. He struck out 28 and walked five.
That rate is an indication of what Kennedy does best. When he's right, he's a big-time strike-thrower with a fastball that sits in the 88-91-mph range. His pure stuff will never grade out that highly. Instead, he relies on fastball command and changing the eye levels of hitters by elevating his fastball. He combines that with an ability to change speeds and locate his breaking pitches.
It appeared that Kennedy had a little difficulty adjusting to the bright lights of New York City and the extreme competitiveness of the American League East. The D-backs are likely hoping a change of scenery will do Kennedy some good.
From the D-backs to the Tigers:
Daniel Schlereth, LHP
The son of former NFL standout and current ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth, Daniel worked his way up into the first round of the 2008 Draft as a lefty reliever coming out of the University of Arizona.
Schlereth had Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery as a senior in high school, but he hasn't had any health issues since. Leading up to the 2008 Draft, he was being clocked in the mid- to upper-90s, a big reason why he snuck into the first round.
As a pro, Schlereth zipped through the D-backs' system, making it to Arizona during his first full season. During his big league stint, he showed both the positives and negatives of what he brings to the mound. Hitters managed just a .221 average against the southpaw, and he struck out 22 in 18 1/3 innings. He also walked 15 during that span.
He's been virtually unhittable as a Minor Leaguer, with a 1.13 ERA in 32 total outings. Over 39 2/3 innings, he's allowed just 21 hits, while striking out 60. He has, however, issued 23 walks.
While he's not thrown as hard as he did during that final stint with the Wildcats, he's still a lefty who throws around 93-94 mph. His breaking ball is a curve, which is a solid offering with flashes of being a plus pitch. He also has a changeup, which at times is a plus pitch, but he doesn't use it as much as some would like. The biggest issue, as the walk rate would show, is command, something not exactly uncommon among young power pitchers. Perhaps being reunited with fellow University of Arizona reliever Ryan Perry in Detroit will help.