2018 MLB Prospect Report: Trade Analysis Part 2
Matthew Selz breaks down prospects who were recently involved in trades and what type of impact that will have on them.
Yesterday brought the non-waiver trade deadline and with that came a flurry of activity, especially late in the day. The deadline caps off what was a busy last couple of weeks around the MLB that saw a lot of trades for contenders to bolster their rosters for the late-season run and playoffs, but it also saw some surprising moves from teams that no one expected to be buyers when the season started or even a month ago, looking at you Pittsburgh. At the same time however, several players expected to be dealt, weren’t as of yet. This year’s trades featured a lot of international bonus pool money being swapped so the full totality of the value of trades is hard to get immediately since it will take time for the young international players to realize their potential or not. A lot of the trades that were made over the last week or so involved prospects that aren’t all that big and so I will only be talking about trades involving prospects worth talking about. There is still time to make trades though it gets a bit more complicated with waivers being involved at this point.
A key trade made, the biggest one of the day actually, Chris Archer going to the Pirates won’t be broken down simply because the return of Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow involved two MLB players and the PTBNL hasn’t been named yet.
Brewers acquire Jonathan Schoop
This trade was actually announced after the deadline passed but since the paperwork get into the league office in time, it’s an official move. It was no secret that Baltimore was going to offload a lot of their talent since they aren’t competing and need to rebuild, however it’s the team that acquired Schoop that’s a bit confusing given the Brewers acquired Mike Moustakas earlier in the week and stated that Travis Shaw would play second. In getting Schoop, the Brewers gave up Jonathan Villar and two minor-league prospects who were both in the top-14 of the Milwaukee system in Luis Ortiz (RHP No. 7) and Jean Carmona (SS No. 14). Ortiz has already been dealt once at the deadline when he came to Milwaukee from Texas, along with Lewis Brinson , in the Jonathan Lucroy deal in 2016. The 22-year-old has been at Double-A since 2016 for both the Rangers and Brewers as he tries to put together healthy campaigns being that his largest innings total in a year is the 94.1 thrown last year and he’s still working on dominating at that level. This year in 68 innings over 16 appearances (11 starts), Ortiz has a 3.71 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 8.6 K/9 and 2.38 BB/9 which are his best numbers across the board at Biloxi. He features a mid-90s fastball, a low-80s slider, changeup, and developing curveball with the first two offerings being plus-pitches. Overall his profile is one of a number three starter at 6’3” 230 lbs who can be a slightly above-average MLB starter. Meanwhile Jean Carmona is an 18-year-old switch-hitting shortstop prospect who was signed in July 2016 and has spent his time in pro ball at Rookie ball. In 99 career games, 362 AB and 420 PA, he has a slash line of .254/.339/.406 with five homers, 70 runs, 48 RBI, and 15 steals while working at both short and second. Carmona is 6’1” and 183 lbs. indicating he may not stick at short long term and thus far his better defensive position has been second with fewer errors committed. He brings a 50-grade Power tool and 55-grade Run tool which indicate a 20-20 player at the MLB level though his average might have a tough time cracking .260. Overall not a bad haul for Schoop.
Ortiz’s ETA: 2019
Carmona’s ETA: 2021
Braves acquire Kevin Gausman , Darren O’Day
In the first deal of the day for the O’s (it came before the Schoop deal), they dealt their former fourth-overall pick in Gausman along with injured reliever O’Day for four prospects and $2.5 million in international bonus pool money. Jean Carlos Encarnacion, Brett Cumberland, Evan Phillips , and Bruce Zimmermann are the four prospects, though the first two are really the only ones worth talking about at the moment. Encarnacion is a 20-year-old third baseman who was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2016 and has since progressed to Class-A Rome. He showed well at three stints in Rookie ball and this year in 97 games (361 at bats) Encarnacion is slashing .288/.314/.463 with a .341 wOBA and .370 BABIP with 10 homers, 57 RBI, 45 runs, and five steals to boot. He grades out as a 50-grade skill guy in Hit, Power, Run, and Field with a 60-grade Arm which is plenty strong for third base. He is still rough around the edges but has already shown flashes of the impressive raw tools he has and with more work in the lower levels, you could be looking at the next big third base bat in Baltimore, if he can cut down his 26.4% K-rate and increase his 3.4% BB-rate. Brett Cumberland is the other key return in the deal as a switch-hitting offensive-minded Catching prospect. Cumberland was drafted with the 76th pick in the 2016 draft and since then has made his way to Double-A Mississippi this year before being dealt to the O’s. His main attraction is his power and the switch-hitting, like a normal catcher, his average won’t be impressive but the run-producing aspect is there. In 82 games at High-A for Atlanta this year he slashed .236/.367/.407 with 11 home runs, 40 runs, 39 RBI, and 15 doubles. He did have 85 strikeouts in that span but did walk 52 times which is nice to see. The defense is behind the bat and that will take some time to continue to develop but in the near future he could be an MLB regular behind the dish.
Encarnacion’s ETA: 2021
Cumberland’s ETA: 2019
Rays acquire Tommy Pham
This might have been the most perplexing move of the day for one side of the deal, St. Louis. A guy that was expected to go 30-30 this year is all of a sudden traded away without warning? It does however make sense for the Rays to get a controllable, cheap, upside outfielder to continue to build their roster for a run in a season or two. In return for Pham, the Cardinals got three prospects from Tampa in Justin Williams , Genesis Cabrera, and Roel Ramirez with Williams and Cabrera being the bigger names. Williams was drafted in 2013 by Arizona in the second round out of high school as an outfielder and since then has been moved to Tampa in the Jeremy Hellickson trade in 2014 and now to St. Louis. His average in the minors has always been a pretty solid figure but the rest of his offensive game continues to take steps forward without realizing his full potential yet. In 2017 he played the full year at Double-A Montgomery and slashed .301/.364/.489 with 14 home runs, 72 RBI, 53 runs, and six steals in 96 games, compare that to his 94 games at Triple-A Durham this year of .258/.313/.376 with eight homers, 46 RBI, 41 runs, and four steals. It’s clear he’s still working on his raw tools. Williams needs to refine his approach to take some more walks and cut down the strikeouts but that should come in due time. Genesis Cabrera meanwhile is a lefty pitcher who has been starting in his pro career but could be moved to the pen if need be. A quintessential lanky southpaw (6’1” 170 lbs.), he features a very good 93-95 mph fastball with great late life and a mid-to-high-80s slider that can look like a cutter at times with the tight late action on the pitch. He also features a changeup that keeps batters honest but it is behind in grade and feel compared to the other pitches which are both plus-grades. Cabrera, between last year and this year, has pitched pretty close to a full season at Double-A Montgomery with 178.1 IP for a combined 3.93 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and 8.8 K/9 rate. None of those are great, though the K/9 is solid, the problem is the 4.2 BB/9 rate, the 34.4% ground ball rate, and the 17 homers he’s given up the last 32 starts. Cabrera’s fastball-slider combo from the left-side of the rubber will work great out of the pen late in the game, but obviously St. Louis will want to give him the chance to stay as a starter as long as they can, especially with the lack of southpaw prospects in their system.
Dodgers acquire Brian Dozier
Dozier’s name has been in the rumor mill since at least last trade deadline and on Tuesday the Twins finally pulled the trigger receiving in return Logan Forsythe and prospects Luke Raley and Devin Smeltzer. Raley is a 1B/OF at Double-A and Smeltzer is a Double-A starter with only Raley rating in the top-30 of the Dodgers farm system prior to the trade. Raley was taken in the seventh round of the 2016 June draft and since has worked his way up to Double-A Tulsa this year, playing 93 games there. Since starting in A-Ball with Los Angeles he’s played a combined 272 games (1,064 AB and 1,207 PA) with a slash line of .278/.353/.455 with 33 home runs, 191 runs, 132 RBI, and 16 steals all of which indicate his ability to swing the bat well even with increasing competition. In 2018 specifically he’s played 44 games at first and 53 games spread across the outfield, mainly in right with 28 starts there, but that kind of utility will help in the majors as you can keep his bat in the lineup and spell others plus his defense plays with 11 total errors in his 282 game pro career. Devin Smeltzer has made it to Double-A Tulsa despite posting a career ERA of 4.52 and a WHIP of 1.31 with a 9.1 K/9. Mostly working as a starter in his time in pro ball, 39 starts in 60 appearances, his ultimate destination in the majors will likely be a high strikeout reliever who has a career walk rate of 2.08 per nine. Time will tell for the nearly 23-year-old southpaw which role he plays for Minnesota.
Raley’s ETA: 2019
Smeltzer’s ETA: 2019
Indians acquire Leonys Martín
It was well-known heading into the trade deadline that Cleveland needed a left-handed hitting outfielder and on Monday night they were active in trying to pry Bryce Harper away from Washington, until the Nationals decided to hold onto the slugger. Instead Cleveland made a more minor deal to get Martin from Detroit in exchange for Willi Castro , a shortstop prospect, and minor-league righty Kyle Dowdy. Castro is really the main part and the only one worth breaking down. Castro, at 21 years old, has been at Double-A Akron all season compiling a .245/.303/.350 triple slash with five homers, 55 runs, 39 RBI, and 13 steals. In fact the only year he hasn’t posted double-digit steals was his 43 game stint at Rookie level ball in 2014 when he stole nine bags. At High-A last season, in 123 games. he posted a .290/.337/.424 line with 11 homers, 69 runs, 58 RBI, and 19 steals which gives you a glimpse of what he’s capable of when everything comes together. Castro has 50-grade tools across the board but still has some filling out he can do at 6’1” 165 lbs. which should add strength and pop to already good swing. His defense needs to improve though as he has posted 22, 25, and 25 errors each of the last three seasons and has 13 already this year. The Tigers have been missing offense from their middle infield, particularly at short, and Castro could fill that role.
Castro’s ETA: 2020