Here at the prospector, we’re mostly concerned with the long-term, so with that in mind, we’ll continue our look at some of the prospects acquired at the trade deadline and their value as future fantasy players.
The Braves traded prized prospect Jose Peraza to the Dodgers but received a MLB ready second baseman in return, Cuban defector Hector Olivera. I reviewed the then Dodgers farmhand just a few short weeks ago and my opinion remains unchanged. While he may not have Peraza's ceiling in the speed department or be 21 years of age, Olivera, when he comes up in the next week or two, will at least be a solid defensive second baseman. He also offers more power, a batting eye that should help the Braves overall OBP game, and bat speed that will let him hit for average too. Olivera looks like a possible .280s+ guy with modest power/speed skills who could be worth at least a mid-teens bid in NL leagues next season.
Zack Bird (from Dodgers) – Bird is a 21-year-old righty who has perhaps been pushed up the minor league ladder a bit too aggressively. A very hard thrower, the former 9th round pick has potential as a mid to upper end of the rotation starter or as a late-inning reliever but really has not refined any of his secondary pitches to the point where they are consistent weapons. I suspect he’ll end up in relief. If he can improve his curve, which flashes plus potential on occasion, he could be a name worth remembering.
John Gant (from Mets) – Gant was a fairly late-round pick and had been climbing up through the Mets system one level at a time. He’s done very well in the lower minors, putting up spectacular strikeout rates and showing above average command, but most of his stuff with the exception of his changeup rates at fringe to average at best, making him an unlikely fantasy target.
Rob Whalen (from Mets) – Whalen was the better prospect in the deal and could develop into a big league starter. The righty has a plus sinker/curveball combination and a workable changeup and slider. After a good year in A-ball in 2014, his follow-up in A+ has not been as strong, however, his strikeout rate dropping below 7.0 and his walk rate jumping a full point to 3.7. At 21 years of age, expect him to finish the year in A+ and to spend all of 2016 in Double-A with an ETA of late 2017 or 2018.
Rob Kaminsky (from Cardinals) – The trade of veteran Brandon Moss yielded a young lefty with some upside and some question marks. Kaminsky was a first-round pick for his pitchability and mid-nineties fastball that he commanded well. While he can still reach that level on occasion, he works frequently in the lower nineties and despite having a plus curve and solid change, is starting to look more like a middle to back end of the rotation starter. There is MLB ability here, but much of it rests on Kaminsky’s ability to increase his separation between his fastball and change and curve in velocity. At 20 years of age, he has plenty of time to work on it.
Eric Stamets (from Angels) – The declining David Murphy did not net a player of tremendous upside, but it did bring back a player who should at least give the Indians some potential bench depth. Stamets is a well above average defensive shortstop who could make the Majors on that attribute alone. The righty makes frequent contact but lacks the power or speed to do much of anything with it, hitting just .248/.306/.360 for the Angels.
Dustin Ackley brought back two fairly fringy prospects in Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez from the Yankees. Flores, a 23-year-old outfielder, gets on base, makes good contact and has hit .286/.377/.417 in Triple-A, but he has only gap power and is not much of a runner. It is difficult to see him beyond a Quad-A player, though his bat and glove might be decent off the bench. Ramirez, 25, has excellent raw stuff, posting a 10.2 K/9 as a reliever in Triple-A. Once considered a top prospect as a starter, his inability to stay healthy and to throw his multiple plus pitches for strikes with any consistency made him expendable. The Mariners are keeping him in the bullpen and he can still be filed under “you never know” as a potential late-blooming, late-inning reliever.
Rob Rasmussen (from Blue Jays) – The 26-year-old Rasmussen has now been a member of five different organizations and has just 14 innings of MLB service to his credit, so it speaks a lot to the desirability of his left-handed arm and his effectiveness. The move to the pen full-time in 2014 has helped his career quite a bit as he has added velocity to all of his pitches and now may have a future as a left-handed relief specialist, though he still needs to improve his command of said secondary pitches. The Mariners have opted to throw him right into things in middle relief where he’ll likely stay.
Nick Wells (from Blue Jays) – Wells is a highly projectable left-hander. The 6’5” starter has done well in rookie ball, posting an 8.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9, working with a plus fastball that is steadily gaining velocity as he fills out and a curve with plus potential. At just 19 years of age, Wells will need to stay healthy and develop a changeup before we get too excited, but he is one to track particularly once he starts at full-season ball in 2016.
Jacob Brentz (from Blue Jays) – The Mariners did well to acquire projectable arms and Brentz is no exception. Like Wells, he too is a lefty, but this 20-year-old already touches the mid to upper nineties and throws much harder with regularity. His secondary stuff has potential but is a project, as evidenced by his 6.6 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in rookie ball this season.
Until next week, happy prospecting.