The Prospect Breakdown of the Trade Deadline Part #2
Wednesday before the trade deadline, I thought the best of the prospects had already been traded. None of them were currently blue chip, impact Fantasy prospects but some of them had the upside to get there. Well, less than 48 hours later, a lot of talented prospects were traded, and I could not have been more wrong. The minor league talent traded on July 30 and 31 were some of the better prospects we have seen traded in recent years.
What made the final two days of the deadline so interesting was the mix of blockbusters with impact Fantasy prospects and smaller trades where a couple of general managers were able to sneak a lot of prospect potential for relatively minor major league contributors.
Lets start with the headline deals of this year’s deadline.
Blue Jays receive LHP David Price
Tigers LHP Daniel Norris, LHP Matt Boyd, RHP Jairo Labourt
Getting a pitcher with Daniel Norris’ potential for a two-month rental was surprising and telling. If the Jays hadn’t rushed Norris in 2014, instead allowing him to work on his command issues rather than rapidly promote him through their system, they may not have made this trade to begin with. That is the story of the Blue Jays’ 2015 season. They were forced to trade away a significant amount of their future because their prospects were too far away (Miguel Castro) and too underdeveloped (Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey) to put them in the position that they are currently in. Daniel Norris makes this deal a steal for the Tigers, while Boyd and Labourt are lottery tickets that they hope one day comes in.
Daniel Norris, LHP: In 2013-2015, Norris walked 148 batters in 346.2 innings pitched. In case it isn’t obvious, that’s not good. That didn’t stop the Jays from promoting him from High-A to the major leagues in 2014 so that he could begin 2015 in their rotation where he pitched his way back to Triple-A. That’s why Norris is in Detroit. Norris has plus velocity and plus secondary pitches from the left side which is why Detroit wanted him. He has a chance to be a SP2 with 185-plus strikeouts per season, but he has command issues that could threaten his ability to be a consistent, dominant starter. He has as much upside as any prospect traded at the deadline.
Matt Boyd, LHP: Boyd’s repertoire grades as relatively average across the board. He has average velocity and lacks a plus secondary offering, which is not a combination that Fantasy owners want to hear in a prospect evaluation. The stuff looks like a back-end starter or middle reliever, but the results have been consistently good, averaging a strikeout-per-inning and a 2.48 ERA in the minor leagues. He profiles as a streaming option that makes a living on the waiver wire in Fantasy leagues.
Jairo Labourt, LHP: Labourt has a good arm with plus potential in his fastball and slider, but command issues. He profiles as an above average late-inning reliever. You can expect the Tigers to try to develop him as a starter until he forces his way to the bullpen where he doesn’t profile well as a closer.
Rangers receive LHP Cole Hamels, RHP Jake Diekman
Phillies receive C Jorge Alfaro, OF Nick Williams, RHP Jerad Eickhoff, RHP Alec Asher, RHP Matt Harrison
Ruben Amaro Jr. took a multiple of years and a lot of money to do it, but he landed two talented Fantasy prospects in the end. Anyone who picks apart and analyzes the meat and bones of contracts and trades in Major League baseball, knows that a contract like Cole Hamels’ was never going to bring back meaningful prospect talent without contributing a meaningful amount of money into the deal, and that’s what happened here.
Jorge Alfaro, C: Alfaro has plus power, surprising speed and the athleticism that absent the unforeseeable should guarantee that he stays behind the plate for Fantasy owners. He profiles to be a Top 10 Fantasy catcher, a lot like Kansas City Royals backstop Salvador Perez. He is a little raw behind the plate and a little over aggressive when he is at it, but the skills make Alfaro a possible difference maker as a Fantasy catcher.
Nick Williams, OF: There is nothing not to like about the tools that Williams brings to the park every day, the questions lie in his ability to recognize pitches and to be disciplined in his approach at the plate. He has struck out 382 times in 358 games played while hitting 47 home runs and stealing 40 bases with a .297 career batting average. The upside is that of an all-star with a floor comparable to Austin Jackson or Mike Cameron. Williams and Nationals OF Michael Taylor are comparable talents at similar stages in their career.
Alec Asher, RHP: Asher lacks the arsenal to make a meaningful impact in a Fantasy rotation or as a potential closer. The velocity is at best average and he doesn’t have a secondary pitch to get swings-and-misses. His ceiling is as an innings eater or a swingman.
Jerad Eickhoff, RHP: Eickhoff has average velocity that plays up in short stints and a slightly above average breaking ball that could allow him to become a SP4, but he lacks the impact stuff to be worth stashing in Fantasy leagues. He could earn some spot starts in 2015 and possibly find a way into the Phillies rotation in 2016, but expectations for a Fantasy impact should be kept low.
Astros receive Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers
Brewers receive OF Brett Phillips, OF Domingo Santana, LHP Josh Hader, RHP Adrian Houser
The Brewers like to draft good athletes with impact tools, and they aren’t afraid to take on the risks that often come with that kind of profile. They received those kinds of prospects in this trade. The one major difference is the proximity to the major leagues. The prospects the Brewers have are in the lower-minors, and the prospects they received from Houston are performing well at Double-A (Brett Phillips) and Triple-A (Domingo Santana).
Brett Phillips, OF: Phillips brings decent power and speed as well as the ability to make consistent, hard contact. He is having a second straight strong season, which bodes well for Fantasy owner’s confidence that this is what we can expect from Brett Phillips going forward. He has 33 home runs and 38 stolen basses while batting .310 and .313 respectively in 237 games the last two seasons between Low-A and Double-A. He has struck out 200 times in those 237 games, not a bad total in todays game. He is a safe bet to be a full-time major league player that provides both stolen bases and home runs along with respectable batting averages. At his best he could be Hunter Pence with slightly less power, or he could finish on the lower-end of his potential and be a fourth or fifth Fantasy outfielder.
Domingo Santana, OF: There is a lot of raw ability, tools and athleticism to go with an overwhelming number of strikeouts in Domingo Santana. His approach and inability to make consistent contact threaten his ability to be a full-time major league player. He struck out 14 times in 17 at-bats with one walk in Houston last season. Scouts doubted ex-Brewers OF Carlos Gomez would ever make enough contact to utilize his power and the same questions, and potential, exists with Santana.
Josh Hader, LHP: Hader has above average velocity making his fastball a major league caliber offering. Coming in to the season, he needed to work on his breaking pitches and an improvement of his command wouldn’t hurt. Scouts believe he is destined for the bullpen as a lefty specialist, but he could reach his ceiling as a SP4. Pitching in the National League with the pitching starved Milwaukee Brewers improve his chances of getting an opportunity to stay as a starter. The change of laundry should help Hader’s Fantasy value.