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Monday 24th Jul 2017

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Refreshed after a nice vacation camping in the Catskills, we come to the MLB trade deadline and all of the prospect swapping that comes with it! So we will now concentrate on some of the prospects acquired, starting this week with the Athletics and Brewers.

Athletics

Aaron Brooks (from Royals) – A bit long in the tooth to be a prospect at 25 years of age, this former 9th round pick certainly knows how to throw strikes, continuously posting a sub 2.0 BB/9. He profiles mostly as a pitch to contact, ground-ball inducing innings eater. He could be a passable fourth or fifth starter long-term but is likely to sport a 4.00 ERA in the process. The A’s have thrown him to the fire and he is a legitimate AL-only FAAB target this week.

Sean Manaea (from Royals) – Manaea, a former 2013 supplemental first-round pick, has battled a number of minor strains and tweaks that have cost him development time. The lefty has two to three plus pitches and is finally healthy. He dominated A+ ball and is currently in Double-A with the A’s. The knock on him, beyond his seemingly constant array of minor injuries, has been his mechanics and control, walking 4.0 batters per nine in 2014. He profiles as a number three or four starter or possibly a late-inning lefty reliever with an ETA of 2016.

Casey Meisner (from Mets) – The 20-year-old Meisner was known as a projectable right-hander with a fastball that was gaining velocity. The 6’7”, 190 pound pitcher can now touch the mid-nineties with regularity and his once sub-par to mediocre secondary offerings are starting to improve, especially his curve which now has plus potential. Mechanical issues beyond those of simply being 6’7” may be an issue long-term, particularly as it relates to his long-term health and durability, but they have not affected his command. Meisner has managed a 3.6 BB/9 in five A+ starts and a 2.3 BB//9 over 12 A-ball starts. If his changeup develops, he could range from a #2 to #4 starter, but his ETA is likely 2017 or 2018.

Jacob Nottingham (from Astros) – A former sixth-round pick, Nottingham is a 20-year-old catcher known more for his offense than his glove (14 home runs between two minor league stops this season). He’s overly aggressive at the plate and will likely have difficulty maintaining his .300 batting average at the upper levels of the Minors. His defense is now considered passable. Right now, he looks like a possible platoon player.

Daniel Mengden (from Astros) – The 22-year-old right-hander has succeeded at the lower levels of the Minors and is in need of a challenge at the Double-A level. For now, the A’s have kept him in A+ ball. He features one or two potential plus pitches, has a good feel for hitting the strike zone and may have a future as a back-end of the rotation starter.

Brewers

Zach Davies – Acquired in exchange for Gerardo Parra from the Orioles, Davies is not a high-end prospect. The former 26th round pick nevertheless has performed well, translating his skills to each new level of competition. The six-foot tall right-hander has an average fastball at best, but he works with refined secondary pitches and commands all his pitches quite well, generating a fair share of swings and misses (7.2 K/9 in Triple-A) while keeping the ball on the ground close to 50% of the time over his professional career. He projects most likely as a back-end of the rotation starter and his success will be determined by his ability to translate those strikeout skills to the final level and the infield defense behind him. He’ll pitch in Triple-A now and could get a cup of coffee in the Majors in the coming weeks.

Domingo Santana – (From Astros) – The 22-year-old righty has plenty of raw power and is patient enough to wait for his pitches, but he is also known for striking out close to a third of the time in the Minors. Has fared decently against righties in the Minors but has crushed lefties to a .303/.385/.523 slash over his minor league career. He could push Khris Davis for playing time in right field as soon as later this season. His brief call-ups have not gone well to date, featuring an over-aggressive approach that doesn’t reflect what he has done in the Minors and given his youth, the righty still projects as a possible everyday, albeit low batting average, good power/OBP hitter or useful platoon player.

Brett Phillips (from Astros) – Phillips was the centerpiece and most likely the long-term replacement for Carlos Gomez. The 21-year-old is a legitimate centerfielder with 20-20 potential. Last year, he made some strides in the plate discipline department only to give them back and once again become an aggressive hitter who rarely walks, limiting his potential as a possible leadoff hitter. On the other hand, his once questioned power has come on strong with 16 homers combined between two levels. Expect him up in Milwaukee in mid to late 2016 and if all goes well, to be their 2017 opening day centerfielder.

Josh Hader (from Astros) – This trade marks Hader’s third organization since being drafted by the Orioles in 2012. It’s good to be young and left-handed, even if you are a former 19th round pick. Hader does not have a plus pitch, but he has improved his ability to throw strikes and generate strikeouts due to a deceptive delivery. He’s a starter at the moment but is probably a middle reliever in the long run.

Adrian Houser (from Astros) – Houser is a fairly hard thrower with multiple potential plus pitches, but he has not always been effective at using them. He posted a 10.0 K/9 with a 3.6 BB/9 in A+ ball this year but has struggled upon promotion to Double-A, where his K/9 has dropped three points and his command has faltered. If he can keep improving his secondary pitches and his ability to throw them for strikes, he may have back-end of the rotation or middle relief potential as soon as 2016.

Yhonathan Barrios (from Pirates) – Barrios is a converted infielder with a cannon of an arm. However, he is still very much a thrower and not a pitcher to date, yet he’s made it all the way to Triple-A. He could be up later this year or next season. Given his recent move to pitching, he has late bloomer potential if he can develop his command and a secondary pitch.

Malik Collymore (from Cardinals)- A toolsy and raw 20-year-old outfielder with good power/speed potential, Collymore is the epitome of a “project player.” The righty hit well in rookie ball last year and remains in rookie ball for a third straight season, but he is showing signs of improvement. He’ll move up to full-season ball next season.

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