White Sox Get In On Pitching Action With Jackson

The Deal
Starting pitchers have been the most coveted trade targets this July. The Rangers kicked things off by snagging Cliff Lee, then the Angels dealt for Dan Haren and the Phillies for Roy Oswalt. The AL Central-leading White Sox got in on the action by trading a pair of their own pitching prospects for Diamondbacks righty Edwin Jackson, who famously no-hit the Rays, his former team, on June 25 despite walking eight batters. Chicago surrendered righthander Dan Hudson, who had his way with the Triple-A International League this year, and teenage lefty David Holmberg.

With their trades of Haren and now Jackson, Arizona has focused on getting pitching in return. Hudson and Joe Saunders (from the Haren deal) can help the Diamondbacks right now, while reliever Rafael Rodriguez is not far away in Triple-A. All of the remaining acquisitions are young lefties drafted in 2009. Among them, Tyler Skaggs (the rumored player to be named in the Haren deal) has the highest ceiling, but Holmberg and Pat Corbin both are second-round selections with upside.

Hudson recently joined the Chicago rotation, ascending to take the place of the injured Jake Peavy, whom the White Sox acquired at last year’s deadline.

Diamondbacks Acquire
Dan Hudson, rhp

Age: 23.

Born: March 9, 1987 in Lynchburg, Va.

Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 225. Bats: R. Throws: R.

School: Old Dominion.

Career Transactions: Selected by White Sox in fifth round of 2008 draft; signed June 15, 2008.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Charlotte (IL) AAA 11 4 3.47 17 17 0 93 81 41 36 13 31 108 1.20
Chicago (AL) MLB 1 1 6.32 3 3 0 16 17 11 11 1 11 14 1.79

Hudson rocketed from the 2008 draft to the big leagues in little more than a year. He left the International League this season as its leader with 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings, while also ranking near the top with 11 wins and .228 opponent average. Hudson has a good arm—he sits in the low 90s and touches 94 mph—but he would not best be described as overpowering. His low three-quarters arm slot and long arm stroke make it difficult for him to get on top of his below-average curveball and slider. However, the funky delivery does provide cover for Hudson’s changeup, which is quite effective versus lefthanded batters, who hit just .212/.246/.303 against him in Triple-A. In the end, Hudson probably fits best as a mid-rotation starter or reliable reliever.

David Holmberg, lhp

Age: 19.

Born: July 19, 1991 in Port Charlotte, Fla.

Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 220. Bats: R. Throws: L.

School: Port Charlotte (Fla.) HS.

Career Transactions: Selected by White Sox in second round of 2009 draft; signed June 12, 2009.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Great Falls (PIO) R 1 1 4.46 8 8 0 40 52 23 20 2 9 29 1.51

Despite his size, Holmberg does not have premium velocity at this stage of his development. He sits at 86-88 mph and touches 90 now and then from a straight overhand delivery. What Holmberg lacks in present velocity, he makes up for with a pair of plus secondary offerings: a 12-to-6 curveball and changeup. That alone makes him a potential big league starter candidate or perhaps situational reliever. Holmberg pitched in the Rookie-level Appalachian League a year ago, so with his move to the Pioneer League this year, he’s making more or less a lateral move.

White Sox Acquire
Edwin Jackson, rhp

Age: 26. Remaining Commitment: Prorated portion of $4.2 million salary, plus $8.35 million for ’11.

Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Tampa Bay (AL) 2008 14 11 4.42 32 31 0 183 199 91 90 23 77 108 1.51
Detroit (AL) 2009 13 9 3.62 33 33 0 214 200 93 86 27 70 161 1.27
Arizona (NL) 2010 6 10 5.16 21 21 0 134 141 80 77 13 60 104 1.50
3-Year Totals 33 30 4.28 86 85 0 532 540 264 253 63 207 373 1.41

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