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Saturday 16th Dec 2017

My mate Zach Steinhorn covered some of the fun post-Winter Meetings Hot Stove action and implications in his Keeping Busy piece.

To a large degree, the big swaps and big name implications of those trades have hit cyberspace, so this time, let's go in the other direction and look at some lesser deals and some of the spoils of even the big trades.

Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte, and Aaron Blair to the Braves:

The troika spoils for Shelby Miller was a real potential haul for the re-structuring Braves. I love Inciarte (.303-6-45 w/21 SB last year), who plugs right in as an outfielder and is a fine $10-range outfield gamble in most roto structures.

Blair was a first-round pick in 2013 who just went 7-2, 3.16 with 56 strikeouts over 77 innings to complement a 1.221 WHIP. The 6'5" righty will likely get a rotation shot in the spring, making him a fun reserve gamble in a deeper format.

Swanson, the top overall pick out of Vanderbilt last June, hit .289-1-11 over 29 Low-A games after signing. Swanson also walked and whiffed 14 times each (.394 OBP) and will be fast-tracked on this team. The soon to be 22-year-old shortstop will likely start at High-A, but he will be moved up aggressively with success, though we should not expect a serious impact until 2018 if he makes it. However, Swanson could make it to The Show for a taste late next year, and certainly sometime in 2017.

The Athletics, with the acquisition of Jed Lowrie and minor league presence of Chad Pinder, jettisoned Brett Lawrie for Zack Erwin and Jeffrey Wendelken.

Erwin was a fourth-round pick by the White Sox out of Clemson last June. A 6'5" Southpaw, Erwin went right to work with a 2-2, 1.34 mark over 40 innings and 15 games after being signed. The lefty whiffed 15 over 17 Sally League frames to close the season, and it is there I would expect Erwin begins 2016. Since it is Billy Beane, we never know where Erwin will find himself in two years, but it well could be the Coliseum.

Wendelken was a 13th round pick of the Red Sox in 2012, but was then swapped to the other Sox as part of the Jake Peavy deal a year later. He is a stocky (6'0", 235 lbs.) reliever who has whiffed 304 over 304.3 minor league innings with 19 saves. Wendelken has pretty good control (just 139 walks) but his pitches are too much around the middle of the zone (321 hits and a 1.34 WHIP). But, as witnessed by his Double-A Birmingham performance last year (6-2, 2.72 w/5 saves), the right-hander could be a help for a needy Oakland pen soon.

Jason Rogers traded to Pirates for Keon Broxton and Trey Supak

Pittsburgh gets Rogers, who can hit and can help stabilize first base. At 6'1", 255 pounds, Rogers' value is his stick which produced a pretty good .296-4-16 line with an .808 OPS over 86 games in the Majors last year. He should get a chance and at least put up James Loney-type numbers.

Broxton is a speed-burning gamble. Drafted by Arizona in 2009, then purchased by the Bucs in 2013, Broxton has 150 swipes over 826 games, but the outfielder has 967 whiffs over 826 games with a .333 OBP and .743 OPS, meaning not much else. At 25, things probably will not change much for Broxton in cheeseland.

Supak was a second-round pick out of high school in June of 2014, and is also a project with a 2-5, 5.85 record over 52.3 innings the last two seasons.

Todd Frazier to the White Sox, Micah Johnson, Frankie Montas and Trayce Thompson to the Dodgers, Brandon Dixon, Jose Peraza and Scott Schebler to the Reds.

Johnson could be a second baseman if he can get on base in the Majors. He had a shot last year with the White Sox but couldn't keep the gig.

Frankie Montas is a 22-year-old Dominican who throws hard, as 390 strikeouts over 388.3 innings suggests. He played in Birmingham last year (5-5, 2.97) and then at the new Comiskey (0-2, 4.80 but 20 whiffs over 15 innings).

Thompson was signed in 2009, and the now 24-year-old outfielder hit well enough with Charlotte (.260-13-39) and then went .295-5-16 with the big club. Thompson has a .241-101-395 line in the Minors with a .747 OPS over 734 minor league games.

Brandon Dixon was selected in the third round in 2013 out of the University of Arizona. The second sacker/outfielder has a .247-29-131 line over 247 games, with 40 steals, but with 51 walks to 312 strikeouts (.296 OBP). Another project, and one likely destined for the "utility" tag from here on out.

Jose Peraza (also 2B/OF) is a 21-year-old Venezuelan import with a .302-9-183 line over 461 games, with 210 steals and a .347 OBP. Peraza makes good contact (207 whiffs, 93 walks) but is likely not ready for the Majors, as witnessed by the .182-0-1 mark he posted over seven L.A. games last year.

Scott Schebler is an outfielder who was a 26th round pick in 2009, and another within the three-way deal who appeared in the Majors last year (.250-3-4 over 19 games). He is now 25, and hit .241-13-50 over 121 minor league games, with a reasonable 40 walks to 93 strikeouts (.322 OBP). All the Reds spoils could challenge for Major League time next year, making them all at least reserve-radar worthy.

Finally, within the Ken Giles swap, the reloading Phillies got prospects Mark Appel, Harold Arauz, and Thomas Eshelman while the Stros nabbed Jonathan Arauz.

Appel, in my view, is toast, ranking around 1000 overall in my minor league rankings.

Harold Arauz is a 20-year-old Panamanian who is pointed towards the pen with four saves and an 11-8 record over four years and 185.3 innings. He has 178 whiffs, a 1.225 WHIP, and will likely start next year at High-A.

Eshelman was a second-round pick last year by Houston. The 21-year-old pitcher has thrown just 10.3 innings over four games since being drafted. The right-hander was a monster at Cal-State Fullerton, having tossed 362.6 college innings and allowing just 17 walks. Apparently, the Astros were being light with his workload in deference to the heavy college frames pitched, but Eshelman should begin 2016 at High-A.

In one of the more obscure trade trivia notes ever (minor leaguers named Arauz swapped for one another), Jonathan is a 17-year-old middle infielder who hit .254-2-18 as a 16-year-old in the Gulf Coast League last year over 44 games. A future project as well, but one worth checking out.

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