Prospect Breakdown: The Jake Peavy and Justin Masterson trades
There will undoubtedly be many more trades made as the trade deadline passes at 3PM EST on Thursday. In the meantime, we had two major league pitchers change uniforms with relatively minor prospects exchanged in the process.
San Francisco Giants receive Jake Peavy
Boston Red Sox receive Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree
Edwin Escobar (4-22-92) 6’1” 185 lbs. – Left-handed starting pitcher
Assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket affiliate
Heading in to 2014, I ranked Escobar as the Giants number two Fantasy Prospect behind Kyle Crick because of his solid middle of the rotation repertoire, impressive K/9 stats from the left side, and because he could possibly contribute to Fantasy owners in 2014. Escobar has a low 90’s fastball and flashes the potential for three above average secondary pitches (curveball/slider/changeup). In six minor league seasons and 530 innings, Escobar has a 9.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 9.2 Hit/9 and an impressive .6 HR/9.
Escobar’s career numbers are perplexing. His career ERA (4.12), WHIP (1.36) and 3.0 BB/9 has to concern Fantasy owners but his K/9 and HR/9 (37 home runs in six seasons) are extremely impressive. A comparable Fantasy pitcher that comes to mind, with similar peripherals and stuff, is Jose Quintana of the Chicago White Sox. Quintana has 365 strikeouts in 473.2 major league innings in a hitter friendly environment, and you could see that kind of production from Escobar if he can prove to his new organization that he deserves to remain a starter. He’s not an ace and never will be, but he is a good third tier, matchup, or streamer and double-start SP for Fantasy who can provide strong strikeout totals.
Escobar goes from AT&T Park in San Francisco, which ranks as the best pitcher’s park in baseball in runs allowed (2010-2013, 81 runs and 67 HR’s allowed for every 100 innings played), to Fenway Park in Boston that ranks as the tenth worst (2010-2013, 115 runs and 95 HR’s allowed for every 100 innings played).
Fantasy Future: With the pitching fire sale currently going on in Boston it looks like Escobar has a clearer path to innings in Boston than he did in San Francisco. But there are a lot of young arms in the Sox system and free agency could change that as well. The Giants and Red Sox are both winning organizations dedicated to consistently being competitive, but the difference in the leagues, having to face the DH, pitching in the AL East and the difference in the home parks, makes this trade a negative for Edwin Escobar Fantasy owners.
Heath Hembree (1-13-89) 6’4” 205 lbs. – Right-handed reliever
Assigned to Boston’s Triple-A Pawtucket affiliate
Hembree has a wipeout slider and an above average fastball that he can run into the upper 90’s but works most effectively sitting 93-94 mph. He had 12 strikeouts in 7.2 innings for the Giants this season and a ridiculous 252 K’s in 202 innings over five minor league seasons. Hembree isn’t the next Craig Kimbrel but he profiles well as a potential closer or holds machine.
Fantasy Future: Both the Giants and Red Sox provide a lot of opportunities for saves and neither bullpen has an elite, long term closer to block Hembree. The Fantasy impact is neutral, but if I had my preference I would prefer he was in San Francisco.
St. Louis Cardinals receive Justin Masterson
Cleveland Indians receive James Ramsey OF
James Ramsey (12-19-89) 6’0” 190 lbs. Left-handed hitting outfielder
Assigned to Triple-A Buffalo
The Cardinals minor league system is strong and relatively deep which explains why Ramsey didn’t crack my Cardinals Top 10 Fantasy Prospects list for 2014. If he had started the season in, Cleveland, he would have ranked ninth overall behind Jesus Aguilar and ahead of SP Dace Kime.
The Indians appear to value makeup in their prospects, so it makes sense that they would target Ramsey in a trade even though he lacks impact Fantasy tools. They already have high character prospect Francisco Lindor playing shortstop in Triple-A, and now with Ramsey, they are overflowing with high character/low tool prospects in their upper minors. Some reports out of Cleveland suggest that the Indians believe they may have found another Michael Brantley in Ramsey. I am less optimistic.
Ramsey has a career minor league stat sheet of .266 BA, .368 OBP, 129 walks, 30 HR’s and 23 steals over three seasons and 235 games. His impressive walk totals suggest good plate discipline and an approach that could lead to improved Fantasy numbers as he develops further. Right now, Ramsey profiles as a 10 HR/5-10 SB fourth or fifth outfielder but there is some reason to think he could exceed those projections. His makeup and work ethic lead scouts to believe he could outperform his current tools. If Ramsey can stay in centerfield and not move to a corner, where his offensive skills don’t profile as a full time player, then he is more likely to earn a full time job, and with more at bats should come more Fantasy production. If everything goes perfectly, Ramsey could become a 15-20 HR/10-15 SB CF with low batting averages but respectable on base percentages. A major league comparable under that scenario would be Drew Stubbs without the benefit of Coors field, with better on base percentages but half the stolen bases. I don’t see a good reason to have Ramsey occupying a roster spot in your minor league system.
Fantasy Future: Ramsey was road blocked in St Louis due to a logjam that left uber prospect Oscar Taveras fighting for at bats, and he goes to an outfield just as crowded in Cleveland. Michael Bourn, David Murphy and Michael Brantley are all signed through 2015 and beyond. I would rather see Ramsey battling John Jay and Peter Bourjos for playing time in St Louis than Michael Bourn in Cleveland or praying for a trade, which is probably his best chance to see at bats before 2016. Slightly negative impact but very similar situations.