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Monday 18th Dec 2017

Monday was a fun day for swaps as the trade deadline brought forth 13 deals involving 40 players plus the ubiquitous "future considerations" over the final 24 hours of swap window.

And, there were indeed some swaps involving stars like Yu Darvish and Sonny Gray, and some fun veteran trades like Tony Cingrani for Scott Van Slyke: a pair of players I like involved in a bench deal who would be useful in Strat-O-Matic, and maybe to the Reds and Dodgers, and not much else.

But, a cluster of young players were involved in this last wave of swaps who have bright futures but are likely a few years away from seeing big league daylight. So, seeing the name now, and then watching how soon they hit Double-A, and then how well they perform there will tell us most of what we need to know for Major League possibilities.

Jorge Mateo (22, SS, Athletics): Oakland is restocking so well, though Gray is the one veteran I wish the Athletics had retained. But, Mateo has some huge potential having hit .240-4-11 with 28 steals over 69 games and then .300-4-26 over 30 games with another 11 swipes. With 31 walks to 115 strikeouts (.315 OBP), Mateo needs some work to realize his table-setter potential, but the tools are there.

Dustin Fowler (22, OF, Athletics): Over 421 minor league games, Fowler has hit .282-39-251 with 74 steals, making him a Mark Kotsay kind of player, with some speed and some power. Fowler is hitting .293-13-43 at Triple-A this season with an .871 OPS. He should challenge for an outfield job next year.

Willie Calhoun (19, 2B, Rangers): A plug package at 5'8" and 185 pounds, Calhoun has a quick bat and some serious pop, having banged 62 homers over 306 games with a .516 Slugging Percentage. This year he is hitting .294-24-69, largely at Round Rock prior to the swap with a great 36 walks to 50 strikeouts, good for a .355 OBP and a .930 OPS. He is not a second sacker, so the question is a lot more a question of where, but when is pretty soon.

A.J. Alexy (19, P, Rangers): The Rangers did well in exchange for Yu Darvish, with Alexy being another part of the equation. The Dodgers drafted Alexy in the 11th round last year and he made a brief Rookie Ball appearance (1-0, 4.61 over 13.6 IP). He then moved to Great Lakes this year, posting a 2-6, 3.67 line over 73.6 frames with 86 strikeouts and a 1.13 ERA. 

Oneil Cruz (18, 3B, Pirates): A pretty good gamble for the Bucs, swapping Tony Watson to the Bums, who signed the 6'6", 175-pound Dominican last year. He's hitting .236-8-48 this year at Great Lakes, with just 28 walks to 110 strikeouts and clearly needs some work on playing the zone. But, he is a big kid (Cruz is just an inch shorter than Aaron Judge but weighs 107 pounds less) with big potential power, making him worth an eyeball every now and then.

Isaac Paredes (18, SS, Tigers): Detroit scored a pretty good coup in getting Jeimer Candelario, who is Big League ready, and Paredes, whom the Cubs signed last year. He is hitting .273-7-53, largely at South Bend, with 26 doubles and 29 walks to 54 strikeouts. Paredes has actually put together 149 minor league games, posting a .281-8-76 line with a .762 OPS.

Samad Taylor (19, 2B, Jays): The Jays are retooling in a cool way, and Taylor could be up the middle in the future. Drafted in the 10th round by the Tribe last year, Cleveland turned Taylor (and Thomas Pannone) into Joe Smith for some pen help. Taylor has spent the bulk of the year at the New York Penn League, hitting .300-4-19 over 29 games and 122 at-bats, stealing four bags. He does pose typical flaws for a young player, without a lot of pop (.460 SLG). But he still weighs in at just 160 pounds, and similarly his eye (five walks to 24 strikeouts) should improve, but interesting raw talent. 

Teoscar Hernandez (24, OF, Jays): Signed by the Astros, Hernandez was part of the Francisco Liriano deal and might be the closest to Major League ready of the lot here. He has hit .273-12-44 with 13 swipes this season at Triple-A, walking a solid 41 times to 77 strikeouts, good for a .365 OBP and an .839 OPS. Hernandez had one at-bat with Houston before the swap and will challenge for time next year.

You can follow me @lawrmichaels and listen to the Tout Wars Hour every Thursday from 9-11 PM ET (6-8 PT) on the FNTSY Sports Network.


0 #1 CubFan 2017-08-05 16:45
The big question for Fowler is how well does his knee heal up. Freak injury as he ruptured his patella tendon when crashing into an object jutting out of the outfield wall. Word is Oakland thinks he can be their CFer to open the season.

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