First off, an apology for not having an article on Tuesday. I have one written up, but am waiting on a quote from someone who has seen the player in person and this would greatly enhance the report. Once I get the quote, I will post immediately. Anyway, I took a crack at discussing the guys traded from June 30-July 25 last week and said if warranted, I would do it again this week. Well, it's warranted, with a ton of guys switching teams that should be known. As I did last time I am going to discuss the deals as close to chronologically as possible and discuss every minor league player involved that I know of. If you want a ranking, I can try and post one in the comments or make another post out of it but I know Kevin Goldstein did one that is up at ESPN and BP, and well, he's a significantly better Goldstein. Let me know if you want me to take a crack at it though and I'll see how much interest there is. On to the prospects...
Jean Segura - SS - Brewers - Segura is the headliner of the three prospects sent to the Brewers for two months of Zack Greinke. He's rarely been healthy for a full season, but he's often been effective either way. He brings fantasy value in batting average and stolen bases, and likely in runs depending on the lineup behind him. He was briefly called up to the Angels after Erick Aybar broke his foot, but only appeared in one game, striking out twice in three at-bats. Strikeouts won't be a huge problem for him long term though. Milwaukee has assigned him to Double-A Huntsville for now and it seems probable he gets a September call up. Shortstop has been a problem for Milwaukee since trading for Greinke, and Segura is now their long term guy. He does have one leg that's shorter than the other which is odd, but as Vlad Guerrero showed, doesn't necessarily inhibit production, but is something to note given his dependency on stolen bases for fantasy production.
Ariel Pena - SP - Brewers - Possibly best known to prospect hounds as the owner of the worst Future's Game pitching line of all time, Pena is a very real prospect. He will throw in the low to mid 90s and complements it with a sharp slider. He doesn't have much of a third pitch with his change up registering as below average. If he can establish his change up as something even close to average he could be a mid or back of the rotation starter, but failing that he profiles as someone who will pitch in the 8th or 9th inning. He's 23 and in Double-A and if they wanted him in the big leagues as a reliever we could see him in September. If they want him as a starter I think he's a late 2013 guy at best.
More after the jump...
Johnny Hellweg - SP - Brewers - Hellweg is a possible monster with one potentially fatal flaw. His career took off after being moved from the bullpen to the rotation just over a year ago. Standing 6'9/210 lbs, he is an imposing mound presence and his plus mid 90s fastball really gets on hitters given how close he is to the plate upon release. He will also throw a power curve that has potential to be another plus pitch and a change up that is average. Given the repertoire he seems to be a lock for the rotation and the stuff pushes him towards the profile of a number 3 starter. Unfortunately his one flaw is a major one as he's walked 60 batters in 120 innings versus 88 strikeouts in Double-A. At 23, he's not young for the level and the walks could be his undoing. Given his height, his mechanics are tough to repeat and that can wreak havoc on his control, so while the walks are understandable, they might not be fixable. I think he probably makes his first appearance as a Brewer in the middle of next year (they could lose Shaun Marcum in the offseason too) based on need, but won't be ready to be a fantasy asset until 2014 at the earliest.
Charlie Culberson - 2B - Rockies - It's a fairly minor deal that brought the veteran presence of Scutaro to the Giants in an intradivision trade, and the return for Colorado was 2B prospect (usually not a good thing) Charlie Culberson. Culberson reached the majors this season and was predictably terrible, striking out in just under 33% of his at-bats. He's hitting .236/.283/.396 in Triple-A, and while he's 23 and has a little time, it's not looking great. He does have pop for a MI and can hit a little, but he has little to no patience to speak of. He's probably a backup MI long term.
Eduardo Escobar - SS - Twins - You might not know it, but Escobar has been on the White Sox major league roster for all but two games this year. The 23 year old Venezuelan is smooth with the glove and has both the range and arm for shortstop. Offense has been his nemesis, not posting an OPS over 700 in his career. He has a contact oriented approach with gap power and speed that could be of use in fantasy leagues. It's possible he earns playing time due to his defense, but he's something like Alcides Escobar without the average which is to say, not worth much.
Pedro Hernandez - P - Twins - There's something SO Twins about this pickup. Hernandez, like trade-mate Escobar is a 23 year old Venezuelan, but he plies his trade from the rubber as opposed to the field. He is a control artist, walking only 21 batters in 86 minor league innings this year, between Double- and Triple-A. Unfortunately, and this is where the Twins part of this comes in, he has only struck out 54 batters in those innings. He owns a plus change up but as Edwar Cabrera has shown us, you need more than that to succeed in the majors. His fastball registers in the low 90s, and he features some deception in his delivery. He's not much of a prospect, and got lit up like an pinball machine in his major league debut earlier this year. You can safely avoid him.
Bobby Borchering - OF - Astros - Houston keeps stockpiling depth trading a fringe average third baseman for two outfielders who are future DHs with some major question marks. Borchering is the more well known of the two because he was a first round pick and split time with Matt Davidson at third for the last couple years. He struggled to keep pace both at the plate and in the field with fellow first rounder Davidson, and they were finally separated this year. He did earn a promotion to Double-A after posting a .277/.340/.534 slash line in the California League with 18 bombs and 23 doubles. He's struggled to keep the strikeouts down, with 96 in 307 at-bats in Hi-A and a disturbingly high rate thus far in Double-A. He's going to struggle to hit for average but he's a switch hitter with big raw power. He's likely destined for the DH role, and he's going to have to step up his game to separate himself from other DH types. I wouldn't expect to see him til 2015 or so.
Marc Krauss - OF - Astros - Another outfielder in name only, Krauss has often been described as a poor man's Adam Dunn. Keith Law and Kevin Goldstein discussed Krauss in their podcast on ESPN today, and Goldstein brought up a pertinent point. Can you be successful as a poor man's Adam Dunn? The reason Adam Dunn is worthwhile is because he has 40 homer power. Can you be valuable with the same peripherals but 25-30 homer power? Krauss is hitting .280 at Double-A with both power and patience, but his hit tool isn't that good, and he projects well below that average in the majors. At 24, he is a bit old for Double-A. There's a chance he sees playing time with Houston as a DH next year as they will surely try to see what they have in him.
Jake Brigham - SP - Cubs - Brigham is an interesting guy who features an over the top delivery and a fastball/curveball repertoire. Both his delivery and lack of a viable change up lead him to have a major platoon split this year in Double-A. At 24 he is not young for the league, but he did rack up 116 strikeouts in 124 innings against only 46 walks. He figures to be a bullpen piece where his high 80s/low 90s fastball can play up until he can figure out how to get lefties out. He has dominated right handed batters though, so could be valuable to the Cubs in that role.
Arodys Vizcaino - P - Cubs - Unless you have the memory of a goldfish, you know about Vizcaino. Mid 90s heat and an curveball he can get outs with, but he lacks a third pitch for starting as of now. Of course he lacks the ability to do anytthing pitching wise right now due to Tommy John surgery. He was a prominent member of prospect lists before his injury, though it's worth noting he does have an injury history, so this wasn't out of the blue. It's possible the Cubs will try to put him in the bullpen to reduce the wear and tear on his arm, and if so he could be an impact closer. As a starter he has a #2 ceiling, and while that is obviously the optimal usage in terms of value, his injury history will play a part in their decision. Think of the Andrew Cashner dilemma but with elbow injuries instead of shoulder.
Jaye Chapman - RP - Cubs - Short right-hander with a plus change up who is racking up tons of strikeouts at Triple-A. He's projected for middle relief at best given his high 80s fastball. He'll likely see time in the majors since he's on the 40 man roster but isn't worth worrying about.
Travis Snider - OF - Pirates - He's not a prospect, but like Eovaldi he's worth discussing as someone who has a lot of question marks and is still young enough that we can't rule out serious adjustments. Snider has routinely crushed minor league pitching while struggling under the weight of expectations in the majors. It surprised me to learn that his career major league OPS was 735, and while that's nothing to write home about, it's better than I figured given the bust label thrown on him. I'm still a fan and actually prefer him to fellow recent call up and new teammate Starling Marte in terms of long term prospects. Keith Law pointed out that he's changed his swing several times per the instruction of the Blue Jays and has had success with it in the minors, only to regress in the majors and return to a longer swing that has been the cause of some of his problems. I still like him as a guy to take a chance on.
Brad Lincoln - RP - Blue Jays - Toronto receives a player picked ahead of Snider in the same draft, but who has had a decidedly different career path. While Snider was a major prospect throughout his time in the minors, Lincoln didn't receive the same attention and suffered through mediocrity and injury. He certainly wasn't bad but, perhaps disappointing for a first round pick. He has been much improved as a reliever however and that is how Toronto will employ him. His stuff doesn't scream closer, but then again neither does Casey Janssen and look at him. He will likely work his way into an 8th inning role if he can maintain his current effectiveness, and once you're in the 8th, you can usually get a shot at the 9th.
Steve Delabar - RP - Blue Jays - Contributing to the notion that relievers are the most fungible asset for a team is Delabar who was in independent leagues the last two years before signing with the Mariners in April. Well, he went from A-ball to the majors in that time and worked his way into Toronto's plans. He sits in the mid 90s and throws a mean splitter with some deception. It's a combination that should allow him to stay in the majors for a while but he won't be a closer. He shares my birthday but is three years older than me so remind me to try out for the Mariners in three years please.
Leon Landry - OF - Mariners - Seattle was looking to unload Brandon League and did so at his nadir, which is why they were unable to net more than Landry and Logan Bawcom. Landry is likely a 4th outfielder if anything. He's a good athlete but doesn't look to be able to handle CF on a full time basis and doesn't have near enough pop requisite for a corner spot. His numbers look good, but he's a 22 year old in the Cal League, so they need to be discounted some. He has good speed, but isn't a good technical basestealer. Not worth monitoring right now.
Logan Bawcom - RP - Mariners - Bawcom is averaging a strikeout an inning while acting as a closer at Double-A Chattanooga, and sits in the low 90s with his fastball. He is able to control the pitch fairly well, and gets good plane out of his 6'2/200 lb frame. He throws a low to mid 80s slider as well. He's a middle relief prospect despite closing games in the minors.
Ethan Martin - SP - Phillies - I profiled Martin not long ago, and speculated that he would be involved in a trade at the deadline, though I thought it might be for Ryan Dempster if the Dodgers wouldn't give up Allen Webster. Instead he goes to Philadelphia along with Josh Lindblom for two months of Shane Victorino. I'm not going to recap what I've written on Martin before, so check out the article if you're interested.
Tommy Joseph - C/1B - Phillies - Joseph has serious power from the right side of the plate and his improved his receiving skills since arriving in pro ball. It's no lock he stays at catcher which will be important in terms of the value he gives the Phillies and fantasy owners. He's posted underwhelming numbers in Double-A so far, but he's in his age 20 season, so he's quite young for the level. He has a serious platoon split so far, but we shouldn't preclude him from developing as a hitter given his age. The questions on Joseph are whether he will stick behind the plate and whether he can hit enough to access his impressive power. He will be one of Philadelphia's better prospects, but he's got a lot of miss in him and if he's going to make a top 100 list it would be toward the back end.
Seth Rosin - RP - Phillies - Rosin was transitioned to relief this year and has been highly impressive there striking out 68 batters in 56 innings against only 18 walks. He stands 6'6/250 lbs and throws his fastball from the high 80s to the mid 90s. His fastball has weight to it and while he throws a slider and a change, they really only play off the fastball. He's likely a middle innings guy in the majors.
Zack Cox - 3B - Marlins - The Marlins upgraded their third base prospect situation by going from Matt Dominguez (shipped off to Houston for Carlos Lee) to Zack Cox, though there are certainly a lot of questions on Cox as well. He did well in Double-A last year, but is struggling in Triple-A this year. He's 23, and has time to adjust and has been a slow starter at each level he's been at, though he has gone well beyond a slow start this year. He's got a short swing that plays to a high contact approach that has resulted in 12 walks in 299 at-bats at the time of the trade. He's not expected to have more than average power, and at this point it's a question whether he even gets there. He could be a good average/15 homer guy in time, but will obviously need to reach that ceiling to be a worthwhile third baseman for fantasy. He's a guy that I wouldn't bother with until he shows he can do it in the majors. He's worth looking at in deeper leagues with minor league systems, but he's not a high upside guy.
Gorkys Hernandez - CF - Marlins - It might surprise you to learn that Gorkys is only 24 years old. It certainly surprised me, as it seems like he's been around forever. I first remember learning about him when he was traded from Detroit to the Braves as part of the Edgar Renteria deal. He remains a fine defensive players but has struggled with the bat even at Triple-A. His future seems to be that of a 5th outfielder who can play plus defense at all three outfield positions. He has great speed but can't seem to reach base to make use of it. The bigger part of this deal was the competitive-balance lottery pick that the Marlins acquired. As of now it's the 33rd overall pick, which had an allotment of $1.525 million this past year. It's a large amount of money to add to a draft budget and a high enough pick that they could draft a legitimate talent with it in next year's draft.
Juan Carlos Sulbaran - P - Royals - Sulbaran can touch the mid 90s with his fastball and it features a lot of life on it. He will flash plus secondaries in his curve and his change, and the results are evident in his 111 strikeouts in 105 innings. He does walk his fair share with 54 on the year, perhaps due to finishing his delivery across his body. He is a potential mid rotation starter if it all comes together, but even if he can't consistently maintain his delivery, he could be a devastating reliever. Definitely a name to keep an eye on for those in leagues with a minor league system.
Donnie Joseph - RP - Royals - Sulbaran was an impressive enough get for Broxton, but to add in an impressive relief prospect like Joseph, and it's a great haul for the Royals. He features two plus pitches in a low to mid 90s fastball and a nasty slider. He's lost the feel for the slider before, but managed to maintain it so far this year and the results are notable, striking out 68 in 52 innings versus a mere 17 walks. That stuff coming from the left side can be deadly, and he is going to be a good LOOGY at worst and possibly an 7th/8th guy at his peak. Could be worth a look in holds leagues once he's up (I love targeting 1-2 batter guys in holds leagues due to frequent usage with leads).
Steve Wright - P - Red Sox - I'll pass on the comedian reference and knuckler comparisons to say that he has whiffed 101 batters in 116 innings. He throws the knuckler in the 70s and can touch the 80s while mixing in the occasional sinker or cutter which he used to throw before giving the knuckleball a shot. It's always fun to track a knuckleballer and I'm rooting for him but he's not someone to bother with right now. He's walked 62 on the year.
Lars Anderson - 1B - Indians - Like Gorkys Hernandez, it seems like Anderson has been around forever. Becoming a hot prospect at a young age will do that to you, and Anderson's stagnation has continued at Triple-A this year where he's maintained his impressive batting eye, but hasn't hit or hit for power enough to be an option at first base. He might be an option for the Indians given their other choices, but that's more of a reflection on their system than it is his offensive prowess.
Christian Villanueva - 3B - Cubs - The Rangers dealt from a position of strength to acquire Ryan Dempster, but that doesn't mean the Cubs didn't do well here. Ranked Texas' #10 prospect heading into the season, Villanueva has performed well at Hi-A posting a .285/.356/.421, that display his tools effectively. He's not going to be a big power hitter, though he has some; and he's not going to hit .300 but he has a nice bat. He has added nine steals on the year which demonstrates his feel for the game because his speed is a bit below average. He plays good defense and will stick at the hot corner. He won't blow anyone away but I would be shocked if he isn't a major league player. That's a pretty good return for two months of a starting pitcher.
Kyle Hendricks - SP - Cubs - Hendricks is a fine prospect at the moment, but nothing special. He works with a 5-6 pitch mix, none of which are plus but he controls them all incredibly well. He throws a two- and four-seam fastball, a cutter, change, slider and curve. He has whiffed 112 in 131 innings while walking a stunning 15 batters. Pitchers of his ilk often need to prove their mettle in Double-A before being taken seriously as big time prospects, and Hendricks has earned that chance. He's not to be written off right now, but I'd like to see him do it at the next level before buying in completely.
All right! Got all that? Good. Let me know if I missed anyone. Hope you all found these useful.
Kevin Goldstein/Baseball Prospectus
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