Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Former Reds minor leaguer named "player poised to erupt" in 2012

On Tuesday, ESPN Insider Jim Bowden published the names of seven players who he thinks are "poised to erupt" this season. One former member of the Cincinnati organization made the list. He was included in the trade that brought right-hander Mat Latos to the Queen City in exchange for three others. Who is it? It's none other than RHP Brad Boxberger.

Here's what Bowden had to say regarding Boxberger:

3. Brad Boxberger, RHP
San Diego acquired Boxberger in the trade that sent
Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds and netted the Padres four players, and Boxberger’s the sleeper of the deal. He should break camp in the Padres’ bullpen and could play a prominent role in the sixth or seventh innings. He has a 92-95 mph fastball and he whiffed 11.9 per nine in his minor league career. His delivery is deceptive and his fastball has above-average life; he can cut it or sink it. He also has a hard slider/cutter. His changeup still needs development, but in a short-relief role he can get away with just two pitches. He blows away right-handed hitters but is effective against both sides of the plate. Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley and closer Huston Street should be positive influences.

Had he not been dealt this offseason many around Reds camp thought he was a good bet to make the big league roster out of Spring Training -- perhaps even taking on the team's closer role. Obviously, those thoughts are a mere mirage now. But the loss of the 23-year old reliever could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for all parties involved.

The trade may have pushed GM Walt Jocketty to fill the vacated closer role with free agent Ryan Madson -- a more proven commodity over the younger Boxberger. And in a year where the Redlegs look to be going "all-in", they want to take no chances at securing victories in the late innings. They will have that piece of mind with "Mad Dog".

However, Boxberger and the Padres will definitely benefit as well. The Friars will give him his fair shot in sunny San Diego as the franchise looks to groom its top-rated farm system for winning seasons ahead.

For the record, Boxberger sported a tidy 2.03 ERA, 0.968 WHIP and a gaudy 13.5 SO/9 in 55 relief appearances with Double-A Carolina and Triple-A Louisville in 2011. He has yet to make his debut in the majors.

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