Braves, Padres Swap Lefties




The Deal
The Braves added their second lefthanded reliever in a 24-hour period, netting Royce Ring from the Padres for a pair of their own lefties, Wil Ledezma and Will Startup. Ledezma had been acquired from the Tigers for Macay McBride, another lefthander, in June.
The Big Leaguers
Ledezma, who was designated for assignment Sunday, joins his third team in a little more than a month. He went just 0-2, 7.71 in 12 appearances for Atlanta, as his season numbers ballooned to 3-3, 5.40 in 35 games. Signed out of Venezuela by the Red Sox in 1998, Ledezma came to the Tigers via the 2002 major league Rule 5 draft. The 26-year-old lefty offers low- to mid-90s velocity and a hard curveball. Though Ledezma struggled to stay healthy in the minors--a stress fracture kept him out from late July 2000 to April 2002--he's been durable, if not always effective, as a big leaguer, appearing in 118 games and going 15-20, 5.23 with 178 strikeouts and 130 walks in 293 innings.
The Prospects
The 26-year-old Ring, the White Sox' first-round pick from San Diego State in 2002, has pitched in the majors in each of the last three seasons, but was in the minors at the time of the trade. In fact, he's logged just 38 1/3 innings in 41 big league games, going 1-2, 3.60 with a 33-27 K-BB ratio. Ring, who threw in the low- to mid-90s in college and early in his pro career, lowered his arm angle while a member of the Mets organization and now relies on fastball location and a sweeping breaking ball to challenge lefthanded batters. This season, Ring has gone 1-0, 3.60 in 15 innings for the Padres, and 4-0, 1.99 in 31 2/3 innings for Triple-A Portland.

Startup, a fifth-round pick from Georgia in 2005, already has reached Triple-A, where he's gone 3-2, 2.23 with a 47-17 K-BB ratio in 48 1/3 innings for Richmond. His most attractive traits are his competitiveness and his durable arm. Startup, 22, has compiled a 2.31 ERA in 114 career games.
Quick Take
Ledezma didn't work out as the Braves had envisioned, and Ring has been a lot tougher on lefthanders in Triple-A this season (.135 average) than has Startup (.262), giving the Braves another big league lefty candidate to go with the recently acquired Ron Mahay.

« Trade Central 2007