A Late April Update on The Matt Garza Return

Nearly a month into their Rays careers, it’s time to check up on the (minor league) players receive for Matt Garza.

Christopher Archer

After walking six batters over his first 8 2/3 innings, Archer has walked one in his last 10 innings. Pitching prospects are difficult to analyze and Archer is no different, as the team could be working with him on various aspects of his game. Still, Archer has maintained his strikeout rate from his 13 Double-A starts last season (8.68 K/9 this season, 8.61 last) while lowering his walk total (3.38 instead of 5.01). Maybe that does not hold up heading forward, but maybe it does.

Robinson Chirinos

The only player in the trade who should be considered struggling, Chirinos’s 2010 slugging percentage (.582) is more than .100 point higher than his 2011 OPS (459). The walks are still there (9.1 percent), but the strikeouts are too (27.1 percent) and he is yet to record an extra-base hit.

Brandon Guyer

The big question with Guyer was whether his power surge endured last season—his ISO was .244 after the sum of his 2009 stints in Double-A and High-A was .207—would prove legitimate. Through 82 plate appearances, Guyer has a career high ISO (.260) thanks to four home runs (his high at any level is 14, back in A-ball). The improved power production has come at a cost, as Guyer is fanning in nearly a quarter of his at-bats. The walks are there too.

Hak-Ju Lee

Whenever a player ascends to a new level, there is always the chance they suffer a setback as they adjust to the improved and more experienced competition. But nobody could tell by looking at Lee’s line (.447/.523/.763). Remarkably, the hot streak comes after Lee missed time with the chickenpox. No word on whether calamine lotion is equitable to the Clear or the Cream, but different strokes for different folks. There are reasons to believe he will not continue to hit for power—his stance and stature, mostly—but if it somehow does, then he immediately becomes the Rays best prospect.

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