Matt LaPorta was recently called up from Double-A and joined the Cleveland Indians for his first major league game on Sunday. LaPorta was the cornerstone of the trade the Indians made last year sending CC Sabathia to the Brewers. He was selected in with the 7th pick in the 2007 draft, a class which also included the likes of David Price, Matt Wieters, and Rick Porcello. In his first major-league game he was up against the recently resurrected Justin Verlander, going 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. He recovered nicely Monday, hitting his first major-league home-run, a 2-run shot, against the Blue Jays. Box Score
LaPorta is stacked with talent, just check out his 2007-2008 minor league batting line, 131 Gs, 136Hs, 332B, 34HRs, 105Ks, 57BBs, and a .285 AVG. That is one hell of a batting line, even if there are a few too many Ks in there. During his senior year of college he was even better, compiling a .402 AVG with 20 homers in only 52 games. Why was he called up so early you ask? The Indians, because of injuries are currently carrying a 14-man pitching staff which left only 2 bench players so skipper Eric Wedge and the Indians decided to see what they had in this young kid (he's 23), despite the fact he's only played 1 1/2 seasons of minor league ball. Source
In a article written over at Beyond the Box Score about a year ago, Peter Bendix compared LaPorta to Ryan Braun and even suggested then that the Brewers might trade their young power hitter because of a lack of room for him. According to Peter, LaPorta is a below-average defender which would have made him odd-man-out in Milwaukee because they were already set on corner-outfielders and a 1st baseman. The trade ended up working out with the Indians and I think LaPorta will be a much better fit in the American League because of the DH spot. LaPorta is a pure hitter, I'm anxious to see what he does these first few weeks in the big leagues.