Deadline day commences with … Matt Cusick?

Sure, there are bigger names from the Minor League perspective being mentioned out there — and I’ll be blogging all day on prospects both rumored to be and actually dealt — but the one deal overnight that was official was the huge LaTroy Hawkins to the Astros deal. The Yankees had designated the reliever for assignment, but then found a taker in Houston.

In return, the Astros sent their 10th-round pick from the 2007 draft, Matt Cusick, to New York.Lexington at bat (r to l).jpg The USC product was hitting .285 with a .365 OBP and .462 SLG in his first full season with Lexington in the South Atlantic League. The left-handed hitting second baseman was a SAL All-Star this year as well as a New York-Penn League All-Star in his pro debut with Tri-City last summer, when he hit .306 with a .422 OBP and .446 SLG.

Cusick is one of those slightly undersized, gritty middle infield types. He’s not blessed with the greatest tools in the world, but has a makeup that’s off the charts and constantly works to improve all facets of his game. He doesn’t have much power and isn’t blessed with great speed, though he’s used his smarts and plus instincts to go 8-for-9 in stolen-base attempts. What he does bring to the Yankees is an ability to make consistent contact — he doesn’t strike out much (43 K vs. 40 BB in 94 games) — and get on base. He’s largely been used as a leadoff hitter in Lexington, where he’s hit .322 in that role with a .394 OBP and .513 SLG (mostly 16 doubles, 4 triples, a suprising seven homers in 236 AB), but might profile better as a No. 2 hitter with a terrific approach at the plate.

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