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Andy Behrens

A quick word on this Bonifacio character

Andy Behrens
Roto Arcade

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It certainly seems like the Diamondbacks were on the better side of the Rauch trade. They received an excellent, proven, cost-controlled relief pitcher who can help immediately. The prospect they dealt, Emilio Bonifacio, is not considered an elite talent.

But apparently the Nats see things differently:

A lot of people compare Bonifacio to second baseman Luis Castillo when the latter was in his prime with the Marlins. The Nationals are expecting Bonifacio to be called up before the season is over, and general manager Jim Bowden went so far as to say that Bonifacio is slated to be the everyday second baseman and leadoff hitter for the Nationals in 2009.

As a fantasy owner, you can't really care about which team wins a trade in real-life. The only thing you're worried about are the fantasy implications -- and if Bonifacio is going to bat leadoff for Washington next season, that makes him an interesting player in dynasty leagues.

Luis Castillo was certainly worth owning when he was 23. He stole 50 bases for the Marlins while hitting .302. Bonifacio is batting .302/.348/.387 in Triple-A, and he's swiped 17 bases. Last year he stole 41 bases in Double-A, and the year before it was 61 in Single-A.

Castillo had a more refined batting eye at age 23, however. He drew 67 walks back in '99 and struck out 85 times. Bonifacio has taken 27 walks so far this year, and he has 64 Ks. He's also struck out over 100 times in each of his previous two minor league seasons.

Still, a leadoff-hitting second baseman with terrific speed is a player of interest, fantasy-wise. Don't dismiss Bonifacio just yet.

Further info from the Washington Post, just in case you're not completely convinced:

Here is assistant GM Mike Rizzo's free-of-charge scouting report on Bonifacio, acquired for Rauch: "He was the fastest guy I ever scouted ... We started him switch-hitting then, and the bat has really come on to the point where we think he's going to be a productive major league hitter ... He's left-side dominant right now, and he's still a work-in-progress with the right hand. But he's really gotten a feel for playing the little game ... For him, fly balls are bad. He makes his living on the ball on the ground ... He's probably the fastest player in all of baseball right now."
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