These First Sackers Deserve a Shot

We’re getting to that time of year when we should begin to see players start to change hands as playoff-hopeful teams look to solidify their rosters for that final two-month push. As a result, we could start to see some playing time open up for rookies currently applying their trades in the minors. Below you’ll find three first basemen that could be in line to benefit from some trade deadline wheeling and dealings.

Brandon Allen, Arizona
Current first baseman Adam LaRoche is having a fine season and Arizona currently sits in last place in the National league West division. The team is currently cleaning house in the front office, so that mentality could lead to a lot of changes on the field, as well. LaRoche will be a free agent at the end of the year, but he also has a 2011 mutual option for $9.5 million. Because his numbers have taken a dip since his strong April, Arizona will likely have to take a B- or C-level prospect for LaRoche.

Allen’s overall numbers may not look that impressive, but his OPS was .757 in April. Since missing all but three games in May (shoulder dislocation), he’s gone on a massive hot streak and had a 1.146 OPS in June. During that month he also walked 25 times in 26 games. For the year, Allen has 42 walks in 51 games and a slugging percentage of .529. It’s probably time to hand the job to the inexpensive 24-year-old prospect to see what he can do. Surely he can take a legitimate run at LaRoche’s 0.6 WAR.

Logan Morrison, Florida
Current first baseman Gaby Sanchez is doing everything he can to keep Morrison in triple-A. As a result, the team may have to get fancy to find room for the 22-year-old prospect. With the team falling down the standings in the NL East, now might be the time to finally trade second baseman Dan Uggla, who currently has the second highest wOBA of his career at .365 and is showing respectable fielding abilities, according to UZR. By trading Uggla, the club could then move sophomore Chris Coghlan back to the position he played in the minors and install Morrison in left (where he has some experience).

Kila Ka’aihue, Kansas City
Royals management gave Ka’aihue a token call-up in May to try and shut up the stats crowd… but we’re back and starting to make noise again. If the organization can find a take for Jose Guillen – which is no sure thing despite his 1.3 WAR – then Ka’aihue deserves to have an extended look in the Majors. Check out these triple-A numbers: .307/.472/.583 in 218 at-bats. On the year, Ka’aihue has 70 walks in 64 games, as well as a .276 ISO rate. The Royals club is second last in the Majors in walks and its on-base percentage (10th in the Majors) relies very heavily on batting average. The team also has the seventh lowest ISO rate in the Majors so a little more power could help, too.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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12 years ago

Marc- From what I’ve seen, he’s only played a few games in LF in the minors, though he probably played it in high school. I haven’t heard good things, but maybe the team can try Sanchez at third again once they officially drop from contention.