By Scott Barzilla

The destruction of the Houston Astros major league roster continued this Sunday when they dealt third baseman Chris Johnson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league outfielders Bobby Bochering and Marc Krauss. With less than 48 hours left before the deadline, it is anyone’s best guess about whether Jeff Luhnow is done dealing. He has shown that no one on the roster is safe in this attempt to acquire as many prospects as possible.

Both Bochering and Krauss were drafted in 2009 as they were taken in the first and second round respectively. The Dbacks opened up third base when they designated Ryan Roberts for assignment last week and then traded him to the Tampa Bay Rays. The series of moves was a bit peculiar for the Dbacks as the two are not incredibly different. In fact, in a preview of tomorrow’s third base TRI review, here is a comparison of the two players.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .WAR

  • Chris Johnson. . . . . . . .0.5
  • Ryan Roberts. . . . . . . ..0.4

So, Johnson is a slight upgrade by the slimmest of margins. I’m not sure he was worth all the effort, but for those that follow the prospect series know that the Dbacks have prospects coming up at third base, so the Dbacks aren’t counting on him to be a long-term solution. Still, his higher batting average hides a multitude of sins. For one, Roberts was a superior defender and a little more patient at the plate. Yet, Johnson is improving in that department, so maybe we are underestimating him.

As for the Astros, they add two more midrange prospects when Johnson’s level of production really doesn’t warrant it. The Dbacks ultimately have a number of good outfield prospects, so surrendering these two won’t kill them. Johnson may be good enough to help them gain a game or two in the standings and he is under club control for quite some time. Bobby Bochering (rated #11 among Dbacks prospects by Jonathan Mayo) and Marc Krauss (rated #20 among Dbacks prospects by Mayo) are added to the Astros system and presumably will go to Corpus Christi since they were both in Mobile for the Dbacks.

Bochering was taken in the first round in 2009 and is the better of the two prospects. Bochering will turn 22 following the season and has combined to hit 20 home runs this year between advanced A and AA, but he still needs to learn patience at the plate. He has a 123/31 strikeout to walk ratio. Yet, he is still young enough to where progress could be made.

Krauss was taken in the second round of that draft as a college hitter and has better numbers in AA (.283/.416/.509) but will turn 25 following the season. He has a 91/73 strikeout to walk ratio, so he appears to be more ready to make an immediate impact, but he probably will not be a long-term prospect as the Dbacks have struggled to find a home for him on the diamond. With the DH coming to Houston next season, he might be a dark horse candidate in Spring Training.

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at hardballchat.com. He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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