Wednesday was a three-trade day, as the Colorado Rockies swung a deal to acquire reliever Seung-Hwan Oh from the Toronto Blue Jays for a pair of first base prospect Chad Spanberger and outfielder Forrest Wall.
Oh has been very solid this season for the Jays, posting a 2.68 ERA over 47 innings with a spotless 1.000 WHIP at a very inexpensive pro-rated $2,000,000 plus a team option. I do, however, have some very serious concerns about this deal for the Rockies. As I’ve mentioned before, when running a team in Colorado, the way to find success is by acquiring groundball pitchers. Oh may be the furthest thing from a groundball pitcher in the league, as he has posted a 50.4-percent fly ball rate and just 29.2 percent grounders, which is among the lowest in the league. While there’s no denying that Oh is a fantastic pitcher, I don’t love the fit.
That being said, the middle relief corps in Colorado could certainly use some help, so assuming that Oh can handle the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field, he could be a very serviceable player for the stretch run and quite possibly next season.
The Jays managed to get themselves a nice haul, as a pair of day-two first basemen from last year’s draft will be coming over in the deal. The big name is Spanberger, who brings with him prolific power but a lot of strikeouts to go with it. The most interesting thing about Spanberger, however, is his athleticism. This season, the 21-year-old lefty bat has slashed a robust .316/.364/.580 with 22 home runs, 75 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases (in 20 attempts). That power/speed mix is not something that is very easy to find. While there is a lot of work to be done on his approach at the plate, the tools are certainly promising. Right now, I see him as a streaky platoon player to provide power off the bench based on his lack of plate discipline and strikeout issues. I would say a .230/.260/.470 batting line seems perfectly realistic over about 150 plate appearances in a given season. If he can get his walk rate up from its current 5.3 percent, then he could be a decent regular.
As for Wall, he’s a former first round pick, from 2014, who brings with him plus speed and decent plate discipline, but he struggles with power and has a spotty hit tool. Wall looks to me like a fourth outfielder, with a floor similar to his ceiling. While I wouldn’t consider his .206 batting average to be the new norm, based on a paltry .238 BABip. I would imagine his future stats could look something like .240/.325/.390 with 15 stolen bases off of the bench in parts of 60 games. Think Jarrod Dyson here.
I would give the Jays the edge on this deal, as they managed to get a pair of interesting prospects in exchange for a guy who would have just left as a free agent at season’s end. I really like the ceiling of Spanberger and the floor of Wall, and I believe that between the two of them, we will see more production than the Jays saw out of Oh (1.4 bWAR, 0.9 fWAR). I don’t mind the deal for the Rockies either, but I don’t love the fit, as Oh is a big time fly ball pitcher, and while the deficit is only two games, I don’t see the starter-starved Rockies outlasting the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Braves, Cubs, and Brewers in the playoff hunt barring significant upgrades in that department.