I recently found on Yahoo that the Dodgers
have been very aggressive in their pursuit of pitching,
Here's the link
I know that the Dodgers are one of the top teams out there in terms of payroll, so they could take on Roy O's contract, but I would like the Astros to pay a portion of his contract if we could get better prospects.
SO to the prospects the Astros could potentially receive from the Dodgers:
I started out my search for these prospects by looking at the Dodgers SB Nation which is True Blue L.A.
I found some of my work already done for me in posts by regulars on that blog.
Here's the latest minor league report.
On a side note, I was surprised to find that former Stro Brad Ausmus was/is playing for LA's triple A club. I'm not sure if he is just on a rehab assignment, or he just accepted a minor league assignment.
So back to the prospects:
Dee Gordon, SS: He is probably the Dodger prospect the Astros covet the most. According to John Sickels of Minor League Ball, Gordon was the Dodgers highest rated prospect at the beginning of the season (link). He has plus plus speed evident by his 36 steals in 368 at-bats. That's Michael Bourn speed. Bourn has stolen 28 bags in 335 at-bats, which is about the same rate. Gordon also could potentially have better contact skill than Bourn because of his 22/52 BB to K ratio to Michael's 36/68 BB to K ratio. Gordon has less K's than Bourn in more at-bats. Also, Gordon is only 22 years old, has good bat speed, and could add to his lanky frame as seen in this video, so he could develop more power. To clear up some stuff, I don't mean to say bad things about Michael here. I like Bourn, and I feel that Gordon is similar to him, so I made the comparison. So, to Gordon's defensive skill, he is listed as having "outstanding range and a good arm at shortstop" via the scouting report that comes with the video link above. Overall, Gordon is an elite prospect who is good on both sides of the ball. Just think, potentially a better version of Bourn at Shortstop!
John Ely, SP: now to a pitcher the Astros could acquire. He is a name you may have heard of because he has played at the major league level this season, and because the other guys here at TCB have mentioned Ely as a player that could be included in a deal to the Astros. From the start he had against the Astros some time ago in LA, I feel that he is a control pitcher who does not throw too hard. Fastball sits around 88-89 MPH, and he has good control of his secondary pitches especially a "dandy" of a changeup as Jimmy Deshiaes would say. He had great success early this year for Dodgers, but had some bad starts recently, so he was demoted to triple A. I see him as possibly a No. 4 starter at the major league level. Just throwing it out there, but maybe a Dave Bush type of player.
- Chris Withrow, SP: The Astros will probably demand this guy to be included in a potential trade. John Sickles from Minor League Ball says the Withrow has "excellent stuff," so I assumed he has a plus fastball and some other secondary pitch. His stats this year reflect his stuff (82 K's in 86 innings), but he has control problems. He has 44 BB's this year (link). Looking at his minor league stats, he has done worse this year than the previous. His ERA has increased and his K rate is lower this year. I was thinking that this was due to his promotion to a higher level thus there would be a higher level of competition, but he had 6 starts at double A last year where he did very well with a 3.95 ERA and allowed opponents to only hit .240. This year he is pitching in double A for all of this season so far and has a 5.09 ERA and has allowed opponents to hit .271. Maybe those six starts are not enough to say that he has dominated double A just yet. Besides, he's only 21 years old. He's got time to adjust to double A. In additon, in his last 10 starts he has a 4.14 ERA and has 52 K's in 50 innings of work. To give a comparison to another player, he looks like a Bud Norris type of guy with possibly better stuff with his secondary pitches which I cannot find, but assume he has some quality offerings. He has potential for top of the rotation material, but he does not look major league ready just yet. As he finds better control, he will have more success. With the Astros, he would be awesome coming up to the majors with Lyles as two potential aces.
- Trayvon Robinson, CF: He is the last prospect I will detail in this post. He is 22 yrs old, and is doing well at double A this year (link). He has 17 dbls and 8 hrs already in 324 at-bats, so he has power potential. He also has 29 steals, and again, that is right on par with Bourn's 28 steals in 335 at-bats. Robinson does strikeout more than Bourn with 89 K's, but has a decent amount of walks with 44 BB's. John Sickels lists him as a "toolsy outfielder" who did well in single A, and is now continuing that success at double A. So for the Astros, even though we have depth in the OF, we could always use a good prospect such as Robinson. His addition to the Astros down the line along with Bourn and maybe Gordon would give us 3 guys who could steal 40 bags a seaon EACH. That's how we'll generate runs, but Robinson could also develop into a 15-20 hr power guy.
JUST EDITED to add another potential pitcher to the mix:
- James McDonald, SP: I forgot about this guy, maybe because I did not find him on prospect lists, but this morning I saw on ESPN his start against the Giants. I thought I remember somewhere that he was a pitcher with a mid-90s fastball and with control problems, but the Espn highlight told a different story. I saw readings of what I think is his fastball to be around 91 mphs. I don't believe that is his changeup because I saw him throw an offspeed pitch at 83 mph that look like a changeup. Now this start/my observation simply from an espn highlight should be taken with a grain of salt. So I then went to find some more concrete evidence. I went to MLB.com's gameday for that Giants game. I found that McDonald actually threw his fastball at around 92-93 mph and sometimes dipped to 91 mph. The thing I found most interesting is the movement on his pitches. According to gameday, his fastball had 5 to 7" break. I think that is a ton of movement, so quite possibly, he is throwing with less velocity but with more movement and control. He could be throwing sinkers now. At 92-93 mph, he could have a very solid sinker.
- He also has some secondary pitches. According to gameday he threw curveballs and changeups. The curveball registered at around 79-81 mph and the changeup was actually pretty close to that velocity as well sitting at 80-83 mph. Now I believe that gameday could have confused some of McDonald's changeups as curveballs and vice versa. But nevertheless, his offspeed stuff had good movement with 7-8" break for his change and 10-12" break for his curveball. Looking at the final box score for that game, McDonald threw 90 pitches with 59 of them for strikes. That's not too bad, but also take into consideration how many hits he gave up in only 5 innings of work... 9 hits, and I believe that each of the pitches that were put in play and became a hit are a strike in his pitch count. He also walked two, which is not too bad either.
- I also found an article by Tot Holmes via dodgers.scout.com. Although it was written in 2008, the scouting report on McDonald seems accurate with what I found via gameday and the Espn highlight. McDonald is listed as being "consistently in the 90s" with his fastball and "hitting 95." Holmes also says that McDonald has a "superb changeup." His delivery has "deception," so that another positive. McDonald had some great minor league seasons including one at double A where he posted a "1.71 ERA and holding batters to a .218 mark. In all, he finished with a combined 13-9, 3.07 with 168 strikeouts (and only 37 walks) in 134 innings." That's elite prospect numbers, and I was surprised to find that he only walked 37 in 134 innings, so maybe he doesn't have much control issues. Overall, I think McDonald could develop into a No. 3 pitcher, with potential to be a No. 2 if he has better control, as in not laying the pitch over the middle of the plate (a potential problem evident from the 9 hits he gave up yesterday to the Giants).
In conclusion, the Astros will probably ask for some combination of Dee Gordon and one of the pitching prospects. The best deal I see is Oswalt and possibly money to Dodgers for Gordon, Ely, and maybe Robinson. I would be happy with that trade. Also, if the Dodgers need a 2nd baseman of utility guy than we could also give them Keppinger. Future MI with Gordon at SS and Altuve at 2B... probably the speediest MI ever!
UPDATED conclusion: I believe McDonald also could be in the trade mix. After seeing what OremLK said about the Dodgers possibly deeming Gordon as "untouchable" and me thinking about more likely and logical trade scenarios, I believe Mcdonald could become a likelier trade chip along with some of the other prospects listed above.