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Looking to the Future: Grading Every Traded Prospect

Avisail Garcia traded to the White Sox
Avisail Garcia traded to the White Sox

June 7, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers right fielder Avisail Garcia (34) scores a run against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB trade deadline was uneventful to say the least – but that doesn’t mean a lot of good players didn’t change hands. There were a lot of prospects moved and teams don’t move prospects for just anyone. Some were highly regarded prospects that were traded for the likes of Bud Norris and Matt Garza. Others were largely unknown prospects, traded for relievers.

Consider some of 2013’s rising stars. It was just a couple summers ago that Patrick Corbin was part of a trade that brought Dan Haren to the Angels. It wasn’t that long ago that John Locke was a throw-in in a trade that sent Nate McLouth to the Braves or Chris Tillman was a throw-in in a trade that sent Adam Jones and George Sherrill to the Orioles for Eric Bedard. It was in 2012 that Andrew Rizzo was traded to the Cubs for Andrew Cashner and just last summer that Jean Segura was traded to the Brewers for Zack Greinke.

Let’s take a look at some of the prospects that were moved at the trade deadline and what kind of impact, if any, they can make in the near future.

Avisail Garcia – OF (traded by Tigers to White Sox in three-team Jake Peavy trade): While I don’t disagree that the Tigers acquiring Jose Iglesias is a good move, there’s no way Iglesias cost anywhere near an Avisail Garcia a mere two months ago – and regardless of the stats he’s still the same player he was before this season. But enough about Iglesias, let’s talk about Garcia who is the centerpiece of what the White Sox got for Jake Peavy.

He’s put up a .380/.424/.561 line in 39 minor league games, driving in 27, scoring 32, hitting 16 XBH, and swiping six bags this season. Last season, he put up a .299/.333/.455 line in 122 minor league games, adding 14 HR, 58 RBI, 78 R, 39 XBH, and 23 SB. He projects to be the next Alex Rios.

Speaking of whom, Rios didn’t get traded at the deadline but did leave today’s game with a foot injury so we may see Garcia play in the Majors imminently.

Potential: B+ to A

Mike Olt – 3B (traded by Rangers to Cubs for Matt Garza): Olt is the 22nd top prospect in the country but has fallen off significantly this season. In a perfect world, the Rangers would have kept him and used his bat to replace the presumably-soon-to-be-suspended Nelson Cruz. In a perfect world, Olt doesn’t put up a .208/.304/.405 line with just 12 HR, 34 RBI, 40 R, and 105 K through 75 games. This season is a far cry from his 2012 campaign – .288/.398/.579, 28 HR, 82 RBI, 65 R, 101 K in 95 games.

He’s a true power hitter with a ton of strikeouts and reminds me of someone like Mark Reynolds or even Adam Dunn. He can produce big hits but it’s unclear what kind of average he can really hit for.

Potential: C+ to B

C.J. Edwards – SP (traded by Rangers to Cubs for Matt Garza): Edwards is a 6’2”, 155 lb. strikeout machine. Because of his size, Edwards didn’t get drafted until the 48th round of the 2011 draft. Then, in his first season of pro ball in 2012, he went 5-3 with a 1.48 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and 85 K over 67 IP in the minors (four games in rookie league, 10 games in Low-A).

This season, he’s 8-2 with a 1.74 ERA, 0.997 WHIP, and 130 K/35 BB over 98.1 IP in Single-A. In 165 minor league innings, he has yet to allow a home run. It’s only Single-A and a lot can change but Edwards is defying his late round status and middle schooler weight and has through-the-roof potential.

Potential: Let’s see what he does in Double-A next season but he’s on the fast track.

L.J. Hoes – OF (traded by Orioles to Astros for Bud Norris): Hoes has steadily improved since being drafted in the third-round in 2008 and gets on base a lot, albeit he has no real power nor has he produced a lot of extra-base hits. He hits singles and walks. He’s supposed to be able to steal as well but has just seven this season and has been caught seven times. Last season he stole 20 but was caught 12 times. His .304 BA and .406 OBP this year makes him a good candidate for an Astros team that’s focused on getting guys who draw walks. He has 62 runs over 99 games this season and has 79 over 136 games last season. He’ll get on base and score if he has a team behind him but he’s not going to drive in a lot of runs and I really don’t see him as a real base stealer.

Potential: C to B-

Josh Hader – SP (traded by Orioles to Astros for Bud Norris): Hader is just 19-years-old and was drafted in the 19th round of the 2012 draft. Like C.J. Edwards (he also weighs 160 pounds but it’s more reasonable when you’re fresh out of high school), he doesn’t care how late in the draft he went, he’s going to pitch like he belongs there. The Orioles first used him as a reliever last year in Rookie League and Low-A where he put up a 1.88 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and 48 K/9 BB over 28.2 IP. They converted him to a starter in Single-A this season and he has done a solid job despite surrendering too many walks, putting up a 2.65 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and 79 K/42 BB over 85 IP. It’s far too early to tell how good he can be and he’s at least a couple years away from the Majors but the stuff is there, he just has to work on control.

Potential: Too early to tell.

Matt Stites – RP (traded by Padres to Diamondbacks for Ian Kennedy): Stites is an amazing looking reliever who has been closing for the last two seasons in the DBacks’ farm system with stellar results. In his first season in Rookie League and Low-A, Stites put up a 1.82 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, and 39 K/8 BB over 34.2 IP. Last season he played a full season in Single-A, saving 13 games while owning a 0.74 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, and 60 K/3 BB over 48.2 IP. This season he’s spent the full year at Double-A, saving 14 games and putting up a 2.08 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and 51 K/8 BB over 52 IP. This kid could be the next Craig Kimbrel and we could see him in the Majors as soon as next season.

Potential – A+

Francellis Montas – RHP (traded by Red Sox to White Sox for Jake Peavy): Montas is only 20 but has struggled in his first 164 minor league innings, spread across rookie league and Single-A. He’s 3-18 with a 5.54 ERA and 1.48 WHIP but does have 171 K over 164 IP. He might have the power arm but if you can’t hack it in Single-A it’s hard to get excited about you.

Potential – Meh.

Cleuluis Rondon – SS (traded by Red Sox to White Sox for Jake Peavy): Rondon is 19-years-old but has thus far failed to impress in any facet of his game. Well, he did steal 14 bases in 62 rookie league games but has only stolen eight over 86 games since. He also has a career .216 BA over 148 games.

Potential: See Francellis Montas.

Jeffrey Wendelken – RHP (traded by Red Sox to White Sox for Jake Peavy): Okay, so at least one of the prospects the Red Sox traded to the ChiSox had to be putting up decent numbers. Of course, that one prospect happens to be a reliever. He saw 13 appearances in rookie league last season, putting up a 1.27 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, and 28 K/3 BB over 21 IP. This season he’s played 27 games in Single-A, putting up a 2.77 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 54 K/20 BB over 65 IP. He’s at least a couple years away from the Majors.

Potential: Mediocre to Solid Middle Reliever.

Kyle Smith – SP (traded by Royals to Astros for Justin Maxwell): In his first pro stint in Single-A, Smith went 5-3 with a 2.86 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 98 K/21 BB over 72 IP. This season at High-A, he’s 5-4 with a 2.85 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 96 K/29 BB over 104 IP. He’s definitely at least a couple of years away but he projects far better as a starter than Justin Maxwell does as an outfielder so another good get by the Astros.

Potential: Too early to tell but looking good.

Juan Herrera – SS (traded by Indians to Cardinals for Marc Rzepczynski): In 136 games spread across the Dominican Summer League, Arizona Rookie League, and Low-A, Herrera owns a .286/.382/.369 line with 38 XBH, 46 RBI, 78 R, and 17 SB. He’s a long way away from the Majors but he’s a good lottery ticket for the low price of a middle reliever the Cardinals had sent down just a day before trading him.

Potential: Too early to tell but his walks and doubles early on make him more promising than most 20-year-old shortstop prospects.

Danry Vasquez – OF (traded by Tigers to Astros for Jose Veras): Vasquez is a 19-year-old who already has 251 pro games under his belt but hasn’t been impressive in any part of the game. He’s still in Single-A so there’s plenty of time but right now his .281 BA, five homers, 39 RBI, 46 R, and 9 SB/8 CS are pretty much what you’d expect to get for Jose Veras.

Potential: Check back in three years.

Corey Black – SP/RP (traded by Yankees to Cubs for Alfonso Soriano): Black is 3-8 with a 4.25 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and 88 K/45 BB over 82.2 IP in High-A this season. This was clearly a cost cutting move for the Cubs and Corey Black is the proverbial bag of balls.

Potential: Mediocre middle reliever.

Nick Delmonico – IF (traded by Orioles to Brewers for Francisco Rodriguez): Delmonico has struggled defensively and has moved around a lot, looking for the right position. Offensively, however, he looks like a very promising producer with a low average but a good ability to draw walks. Over 160 games spread across Single-A and High-A, the 20-year-old owns a decent .244/.346/.430 line with 24 HR, 86 RBI, 83 R, 34 2B, 12 SB, and 83 BB. Unlike someone like Mike Olt, he doesn’t just hit for power, he’s a line drive hitter with the ability to hit for extra-bases even when the home run ball isn’t there. He’s a couple years away but a very good get considering all the Brewers gave up was Frankie Rodriguez.

Potential: C to B+

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