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Sunday 25th Feb 2018

The last day of the trade deadline was indeed a busy one, and now that the dust has settled, let's look at both some of the best spoils as well as eyeballing some interesting players promoted over the past week.

Let's start with Dilson Herrera, a former Mets prodigy, now a member of the Reds via the Jay Bruce deal of last Monday. Herrera, who scored as the #1 guy on my Top 250 Prospect List in 2015, has a fine .299-58-294 minor league mark with 193 walks to 435 strikeouts (.361 OBP) and knocked 35% of his minor league hits for extra bases (that percentage is often a good barometer of future power and potential, particularly in young players, so we will begin focusing more on it in the future). Herrera made his Mets debut last year at the age of 21, has a .215-6-17 Major League line and with the Reds looking to get young, he is likely slated for a starting gig next year. He is good, so you want to stash Herrera (how I wish I had not traded him in my Strat-O-Matic league).

Boston continues to materialize the killer young outfielders, and Andrew Benintendi is indeed the new kid on the block. At just 22, Benintendi was drafted (31st round) out of high school by the Reds in 2013, but he opted for the University of Arkansas instead, and his performance there prompted a first round (#7 overall) selection in 2015, and after just 151 games in the Minors, the young flychaser has arrived. With a minor league resume of .312-20-107, with 38 doubles, 16 triples (41% for extra bases) and 26 swipes, Benintendi is tempting enough, but add in 74 walks to 63 whiffs (.392 OBP) and grabbing and playing the new Bostonian is simply a must.

Houston's A.J. Reed was recalled this week and he indeed looks to be the future at first base for the franchise, and the future is likely now with Tyler White slumping (.212-7-22) and possibly heading to the DL. Reed, Houston's second round selection in 2014, is big (6'4", 275 lbs.) and has played 273 minor league games assembling an impressive slash of .316-61-231, with a solid .403 OBP (148 walks to 243 strikeouts). Reed hit 43% of his minor league hits for extra bases and has nowhere to go but up.

The Phils might indeed have an interesting potential starter in Jake Thompson, a second-round selection of the Tigers in 2012. Detroit then swapped Thompson to the Rangers as part of the Joakim Soria deal in 2014, and Texas turned around and swapped Thompson to the Phils as part of the Cole Hamels deal a year ago. Thompson has made 92 starts, notching a 36-22, 3.06 record over 503.6 frames with 482 strikeouts, a 1.203 WHIP and just 31 homers allowed. The Phils already have two interesting starting arms, and Thompson, 22, looks to fall in line with Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff.

The Braves closer situation is a bit of a merry-go-round these days, with Jim Johnson claiming the job while Mauricio Cabrera sits in the wings. Well, add the name Brandon Cunniff to the "hmmm" list. Cunniff was drafted by the Marlins in the 27th round of the 2010 draft, was then released, and picked up by Atlanta for whom he debuted last year, going 2-2, 4.63 over 32 innings. Cunniff converted 39 saves while in the Minors, and copped 194 strikeouts over 190.3 innings, allowing ten homers and just 139 hits, good for a 1.172 WHIP. The 27-year-old could be a stabilizer in a deep league should you need to plug a gap, and is worth keeping an eye on playing on a team in serious (and fun) transition.

The Twins made a good trade with the Giants, sending Eduardo Nunez to the City by the Bay and receiving Adalberto Mejia in return. Nunez is a good fit with San Francisco, as he's able to play several positions, adding some pop and speed to a lineup that has been tired of late. But Mejia, who scored #10 on  my Top 250 Prospect List last year, has a 41-28, 3.25 record over 526.6 innings with a solid 470 punchouts and 1.176 WHIP. Mejia clocks in the high 90's, and had a 7-4, 2.86 record this year in the Minors split between Double-A and Triple-A, striking out 109 over 112.6 innings. 

I really like Yankees backstop Gary Sanchez, who was recalled and should get some good playing time as the season continues. A 23-year-old Dominican, Sanchez notched a solid .275-99-428 line in the Yanks minor league system, hitting 37% of his hits for extra bases during his minor league tenure. Sanchez looked great last year at the AFL (.295-7-21) and though he does whiff more than his mates (.339 OBP, with 216 walks to 544 strikeouts), as the Pinstripes restructure, Sanchez should be a core part of the transition.

The White Sox acquired Charlie Tilson in exchange for Zach Duke, and the outfielder Tilson has a solid enough minor league profile. The 23-year-old was a second-round pick of the Cardinals in 2011, hitting .293-19-154 over 471 games with 89 steals and an acceptable 142 walks to 295 strikeouts. He makes for an interesting cog in the Pale Hose's future outfield.

The Angels signed infielder Jose Rondon, a Venezuelan native, in 2011, and then traded him to the Padres in 2014 as part of the Huston Street swap. Rondon had a minor league line of .289-11-203 with 72 swipes over 463 games. He does make decent contact, and is not a complete free swinger (134 walks to 266 strikeouts and a .340 OBP). The 22-year-old should get some good playing time through the rest of the season.



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