Trade: Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, and cash consideration to the Texas Rangers; Matt Harrisoin, Jake Thompson, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jerad Eickhoff, and Alec Asher to the Philadelphia Phillies
Jake Thompson – RHP – This makes back-to-back years Thompson has been moved at the deadline, but that is only because he is a highly thought of prospect. Thompson has the body of a starter who can be a real innings eater to go with the stuff of a guy who can pitch at the front of a rotation. His fastball works up to 95 with sink, but that isn’t even his best pitch. His slider sits in the mid-to-upper 80s with plenty of depth that makes it a true plus pitch. He mixes in an average-to-better curve and change and has shown the ability to control all four pitches. He does not have ace potential in his game, but a ceiling of a number two and likely role of a high end number three is certainly attainable.
Jorge Alfaro – C – Alfaro is out the rest of the season with injury, but he might have the strongest arm behind the plate in all of baseball. He is a decent receiver of the ball, but he does show good athleticism given his body type. He is listed at 6’2 225 lbs., but when standing next to him this spring, that weight may be a bit low. The bat has good power that currently produces more doubles than home runs, but 25+ potential is reasonable to project. Some outlets don’t buy the pair of seasons with better than 15 steals, and his recent uptick in weight may limit his steals potential, but sneaking in 10 steals is certainly in his game.
Nick Williams – OF – At the Arizona Fall League, Williams nearly made it through the entire season without drawing a single walk, but managed his lone ball four in 115 trips to the plate in his 27th and final game of the fall. This year he has shown a much better approach at the plate, but drawing walks in nearly 8% of his trips to the plate rather than the 4.5% last season. When swinging the bat, he has pop to all fields and has enough of a combination of bat-to-ball and speed to project a potential .290 hitter in him. His speed plays better providing extra base hits and covering ground in the outfield that it does in the stolen base department. He also seems like an excellent clubhouse guy, as there are few players in the game who have more fun than Williams. He is certainly a future starting big league outfielder, but he is probably limited to left field, where he could become one of the better ones in the game.
Jerad Eickhoff – RHP – With a fastball that touches 97 with excellent downhill plane, Eickhoff has really risen prospect ranks over the past year. He led the Texas league in strikeouts in 2014 and has two breaking balls that grade out to average or better. His change is not very good right now, but if he continues to improve its consistence and command, he can become an inning eating starter. If the change does not come around, he could be a late inning reliever.
Alec Asher – RHP – Yet another big bodied starter on his way to Philadelphia, Asher may be the biggest lottery ticket of them all. Elbow injuries in high school caused him to slip in the draft, but a couple good years at a pair of junior colleges helped make him a fourth round selection by the Rangers in 2012. Since then he has remained relatively healthy, but has never put up great numbers. He can throw his fastball up to 96 MPH, but it gets flat and works best in the lower 90s. He has a 12-6 curve that is just for show, but he does have a slider that can be average or better. His change is not consistent, but does have the potential to become a borderline plus pitch. He is likely a mid-rotation starter that, like the other pitchers in the deal, can really eat up innings.
Trade: Jonathan Broxton and cash considerations to the St. Louis Cardinals; Malik Collymore to the Milwaukee Brewers
Malik Collymore – OF – Collymore is in his third pro season, all of which have been spent in short-season rookie ball. He was drafted in the 10th round out of a Canadian high school as a second baseman but has moved to the outfield full time this season. The move to the outfield comes as a bit of a surprise as most reports heading into the 2013 draft had him good chance to stick at short, if not be a very good defensive second baseman. Flipping him for Broxton shows the Cardinals have soured on him some, but he has shown solid extra base hit power with a knack for putting the bat on the ball. He is still incredibly raw, and he joins a very good low-minors system for the Brewers, he is certainly not a name to completely sleep on.
Trade: Gerardo Parra to the Baltimore Orioles; Zack Davies to the Milwaukee Brewers
Zack Davies – RHP – After acquiring Parra for Anthony Banda and Mitch Haniger at the deadline last year, the Brewers flip him for the small statured Davies. There have been plenty of questions about whether the 6’ 160 lbs. Davies can stick in the rotation, but he has done everything he can to quiet the doubters. He dominated the Arizona Fall League after showing very well in each of his first three seasons in the minors. He moved up to Triple-A this season and may be having his best year yet. He has a three pitch mix with a quality fastball and curve, but his best pitch is an excellent changeup. He also has very good control that has allowed him to walk less than three batters per nine in his career. He may not be a front line starter, but in the middle or back of a rotation he could be very good, and could earn that chance as early as this season.
Trade: Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants; Adam Duvall and Keury Mella to the Cincinnati Reds
Keury Mella – RHP – A rare 18 year old signing out of the Dominican to get a six-figure bonus, Mella has been worth the money for the Giants. He has struck out more than a batter per inning while walking less than three per nine in his career and posting an ERA just barely over 3. His fastball works in the mid-90s that runs in to righties. Working from the first base side of the plate, he is able to create extra deception and has developed not just control, but very good command. His curve is inconsistent, but is a big 11-5 power curveball when it is at its best. When not at its best, it flattens out some and become far too hittable. He does a good job of locating his change, but it still needs refining to become a quality pitch. He could develop into a solid number three starter, if not better, within a few years.
Adam Duvall – 3B – 2014 was a great season for fans of minor league home run chases. Top prospects Joey Gallo and Kris Bryant were battling it out all year, but it took a promotion from Duvall for them to take the lead. In late June it was Duvall, not Gallo or Bryant, leading the minors in home runs. He struggled in his brief big league stint, and that continued after being sent back down, leaving him with “just” 27 home runs on the season. It was his third minor league season with at least 20 home runs, and he is at it again this year with 26. He plays both first and third, neither supremely well, and he has never been a great hitter for average, but with the pop he provides he can become a valuable backup corner infielder behind Joey Votto and Todd Frazier.
Trade: Kevin Jepsen to the Minnesota Twins; Chih-Wei Hu and Alexis Tapia to the Tampa Bay Rays
Chih-Wei Hu – RHP – The Taiwanese righty has rocketed through the Twins system all the way to Triple-A at just 21 years old. He has never posted an ERA higher than 2.45 at any stop and has a career K/BB ratio approaching 4. He has a low-to-mid 90s fastball and three off-speed pitches, although the curve is not where you want it to be in Triple-A and he has started tinkering with it and may be swapping it for a slider. The other two off-speed pitches are a change and a palm ball, both of which flash above-average although rarely on the same day. Hu is the type of pitcher who has, and may continue to, sneak under the radar, but that is just the type of pitcher that the Rays love.
Alexis Tapia – RHP – Another young pitcher, just 19, Tapia has a K/BB ratio of an incredible 5.61. Most of that is thanks to the fact he barely walks a batter per nine, but in the Venezuelan Winter League last year he struggled against better competition. He has a projectable body, but has just 80 innings in the states thus far, so the reports are very limited. In his two outings in full-season ball, he has been used as a reliever, but it is far too early and the control is too good to give up on Tapia as a potential starter.
Trade: Mark Lowe to the Toronto Blue Jays; Rob Rasmussen, Nick Wells, and Jake Brentz to the Seattle Mariners
Rob Rasmussen – LHP – This is the fifth time the left handed reliever has been dealt, being a large part of the deal for Carlos Lee, another time for Michael Young, but he has managed barely 12 innings in the big leagues thus far. The lefty reliever has the upside of a Loogy, but has never been able to reel in his control he has struck out less than twice the number of batters he walked, leaving his upside very limited.
Nick Wells – LHP – The best prospect in the deal, a third round pick last year, he has just over 66 pro innings under his belt. He has struggled with control thus far, but he has very good upside with a pair of above-average to plus pitches and a change that is just below average. His fastball sits in the high-80s but can get up to 93 with some cut action to it. The curve is a big, looping pitch that is by far his second best pitch as he rarely needed to use the change in high school. His 6’5” and 185 lbs. frame is what really has scouts so high on him. If he grows into his body, adds velocity, and the change develops, he could be a solid number three starter, but that is still a long way away.
Jake Brentz – LHP – Brentz was a highly touted lefty going into the 2013 draft, but signability concerns caused him to slip to the 11th round. He may have been better served heading to college as he has really struggled since entering pro ball, with a career ERA of 4.80 and walking nearly 6.5 per nine innings. He can get his fastball up to 96 MPH from a ¾ arm slot, but consistency is a real concern thus far. He also features a curve and change, but both are still very raw. There is certainly some upside here, but it will be quite some time before he the Mariners know if they hit or missed on Brentz.
Trade: Dan Haren and cash considerations to the Chicago Cubs; Ivan Pineyro and Elliot Soto to the Miami Marlins
Ivan Pineyro – RHP – Dealt to the Cubs from the Washington Nationals for Scott Hairston, Pineyro was a $16,000 signing out of the Dominican Republic as an 18 year old. He is now a 23 year old Double-A pitcher who made four starts in the Arizona Fall League last year. He has a fastball in the low-90s, a decent change, and a curve that flashes average at times, but nothing that really stands out. He does a good job filling the strike zone, but does not have the stuff to dominate. He has an upside of a number four starter, but his likely big league role will be as a spot starting long reliever.
Elliot Soto – SS – A defensive minded 25-year old shortstop, there is not much of a ceiling left for Soto. He has an unimpressive triple slash line of .252/.328/.304 in his six year minor league career. Having a slugging percentage lower than OBP is never a good sign, even if it comes from a middle infielder with three total home runs in six seasons. Soto is the type of guy who may get a cup of coffee in the big leagues, but only as a September call-up to be used as a defensive replacement.
Trade: Ben Revere and cash considerations to the Toronto Blue Jays; Jimmy Cordero and Alberto Tirado to the Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Cordero – RHP – A 20 year old signing out of the Dominican in 2012, the Blue Jays were likely just looking for an arm to fill out the DSL roster, but he managed to stick around and move stateside in 2013. His numbers were never that great but he managed to find himself in full season ball in 2014, where he began to work exclusively out of the bullpen, and started to flash triple digits with his fastball. He still struggles with his control and doesn’t have a secondary pitch that has shown much promise to even play as average in the big leagues thus far, but his fastball makes him an arm worth taking a flyer on just as the Phillies did in this deal.
Alberto Tirado – RHP – Another pitcher who recently gave up on starting really turned a corner once the focus was solely on being a reliever. After a 2014 season that saw the walk rate jump to eight per nine innings and an ERA of 5, Tirado moved to the pen and has an ERA of 3.23 in 2015. His control is still a major concern, still over five, but he has a fastball that has touched 98 and a pair of secondary pitches. Both his slider and change are still grading out as below average, but they flash the potential to become above average. If one or both his secondary pitches live up to the ability he has shown in flashes, he could become a quality late inning option.
Trade: Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets; Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa to the Detroit Tigers
Michael Fulmer – RHP – Neither of these pitchers are of the quality of Zack Wheeler, which was the original rumor of return for Cespedes, they are still quality arms. Fulmer was once a top-100 prospect in baseball thanks to his excellent fastball-slider mix, but his results just haven’t matched up with his stuff. The slider is a pure power slider in the mid-80s, which plays very well with his 94 MPH fastball that has plenty of movement and downhill plane. He also has a change that lacks far behind his two best pitches. He is still a starter, but may fit best long term as a reliever, where his two best pitches can play up and be potential closer quality stuff.
Luis Cessa – RHP – Cessa shows a shocking amount of control and feel for pitching given he was a middle infielder his first two years in pro ball. Since moving to the mound as a 19 year old in 2011, he has really shined. His ERA numbers can deceive, but his career ERA is 3.50 and strikes out four times the number of batters he walks. His fastball sits consistently around 93 MPH with a curve that can lose its depth at times, but also plays up in other outings. He also features a changeup that could easily become at least big league average. He won’t ever be a frontline guy, but he could be a very good four or five.
Trade: J.A Happ to the Pittsburgh Pirates; Adrian Sampson to the Seattle Mariners
Adrian Sampson – RHP – A recipient of Tommy John Surgery in high school, Sampson was a fifth round pick out of a Washington community college in 2012. His fastball sits in the low-90s but plays up given the run and sinks in it. He began his pro career with a big curve, but it has slowly transformed into a quality slider over time. He has struggled to develop a changeup, which may end up limiting his upside as a starter. If Sampson moves into the bullpen, he could be a very effective seventh or eighth inning option.
Trade: Sam Dyson to the Texas Rangers; Tomas Telis and Cody Ege to the Miami Marlins
Tomas Telis – C – Signed as a shortstop, it was immediately clear that he didn’t have the athleticism to stick in the infield so he moved behind the plate. He had Tommy John surgery in 2010, but his arm has come back and is now average to a little better than average thanks in large part to his excellent footwork and quick release. He is just 5’8”, which allows him to crouch very low behind the plate and is a decent receiver. With a bat in his hand, he relies on his ability to hit for average. Outside of 11 home runs in 2011, he has never hit more than five in a season, but does flash some doubles power. He has seen some time in the big leagues where he profiles as a backup catcher at best.
Cody Ege – LHP – A pure reliever, Ege has a pro ERA under 2.30 and has struck out better than four times the number of batters he has walked. He is 24 years old and was promoted to Double-A this season, where he has allowed just three earned runs in more than 31 innings. His role will likely be as a Loogy given his near sidearm release and a fastball that tops out around 90 MPH. He also has a slider that sits in the mid-70s. Given his success at nearly every stop, he will likely continue to earn promotions, but his ceiling is purely a lefty specialist.
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