Astros Acquire Evan Gattis

The Houston Astros acquired C/OF Evan Gattis and RP James Hoyt from the Atlanta Braves for 3B Rio Ruiz, P Michael Foltynewicz, and P Andrew Thurman on Wednesday. The trade was reported by David O’Brien of the AJC.  It is currently only pending the results of Gattis’ physical.

Gattis is the centerpiece of the deal, and figures to fill in at different places that the Astros need him. He could see most of his time behind the plate in 2015, but could also play first, the corner outfield spots, and DH. Gattis, nicknamed El Oso Blanco, will turn another chapter in his interesting career.  He is known for his amazing raw power, and he has hit 43 homers and 82 total extra base hits in his 783 Major League plate appearances. Last year, he hit .263/.317/.493 with an impressive 125 OPS+ and 2.2 WAR.

Hoyt is a 28 year old career minor leaguer but could help the Astros in relief of provide minor league depth

The Astros sent two of their three top ten prospects on most lists to the Braves. Rio Ruiz is about a year away but could fill in for Chris Johnson if Atlanta finds a trade partner and Foltynewicz could be a useful swingman for Atlanta as soon as this year if he can fix his WHIP and command.

I wrote this scouting report on Ruiz last month. He was ranked the Astros seventh best prospect.

“Ruiz is a good all-around hitter with some power, and he had a very good season in 2014. He could be a regular in Houston by 2017.  Grade: B  Upside: A solid, everyday bat who has above average power and a great OBP”

I also wrote this report on Foltynewicz, who ranked eighth on Houston’s list.

“He pitched in relief 16 times for the Astros this past season and had an ERA over 5, but the 2010 first rounder has a really good fastball. He throws like a fire baller, and despite having both the opportunity to start or relieve in the future, some think he’s better suited for the bullpen. He’s the biggest risk on this list, but he can also hit 100 MPH. Grade: B  Upside: number four starter or better.”

I think Ruiz is slightly better overall, but comparing a pitcher and hitter which isn’t easy. If both reach their potential, Atlanta got a decent return.

The third prospect in the deal was Andrew Thurman, a pitcher. He was a second round pick in 2013 and had a rough 2014 as a starter, but some of his secondary stats suggest he could develop into a decent starter if he smooths everything out.

The most interesting thing to watch is going to be if Evan Gattis takes advantage of the Crawford Box seats in Houston. He pulls most of his homers and could hit it out with the best of them, but it could really add to his home run total. According to Jeff Zimmerman’s fly ball distance leader board, Gattis had the eleventh furthest average fly ball in 2014, at a little over 300 feet. That’s pretty impressive.

Houston’s fans should be excited for Gattis, and Atlanta fans shouldn’t be mad at the return he got, but whether he should’ve been moved or not is another question. Overall, both teams got a fair end in the instant analysis, but like with any trade, we’ll have to wait 20 years to be sure it was fair.

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