The Indians, in a trade involving two former promising prospects, acquired shortstop turned second basemen turned outfielder Preston Mattingly from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for outfielder Roman Pena.
The Evansville High School standout, and the son of former Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly, was a surprise selection by the Dodgers in the 2006 draft. Chosen with the 31st overall selection, the younger Mattingly was tabbed by Baseball America as the 10th overall prospect in a deep Los Angeles farm system prior to the 2007 season.
Mattingly began his professional career by hitting .290/.322/.403 is 199 plate appearances and stole 12 bases in 15 tries for the Gulf Coast League Dodgers. He showed promising power for a middle infielder by hitting 12 doubles, three triples, and 1 home run, but struggled mightily with the glove. In the 30 game GCL cameo, Mattingly committed 10 errors in 99 chances.
Despite the early success Mattingly has often looked overmatched at the plate and in the field since his debut.
The team promoted the position-less and quickly fading prospect to high-A prior to the ‘09 season despite him hitting .210/.251/.297 and .224/.263/.337 in back-to-back seasons in A-ball. To no one’s surprise the newly christened left fielder continued to swing a paper thin bat mustering a .238/.296/.350 line.
This season the Dodgers, running thin on patience, demoted the former first rounder back to rookie ball where he continued to struggle.
The Los Angeles organization envisioned him as a raw, and a potential middle-of-the-order run producer, but Mattingly has failed to improve his pitch recognition. The change of scenery away from his father’s organization might allow him to become a useful career minor leaguer or even a fourth big league outfielder.