Alright, in our weekly AL West recap I promised a trade deadline recap for the AL West. I’m sure you know of Carlos Beltran, are aware of Jonathan Lucroy and have seen Rich Hill, Josh Reddick and Hector Santiago over the past year, but for every major leaguer that changed hands, prospects of varying pedigree went the other direction. So, with all five AL West teams making moves over the final days before the deadline it seems prudent to take a closer look at these lesser known pieces in an expanded down on the farm segment.
As has been discussed extensively around baseball, the Rangers put the AL West on notice by bolstering an already strong offense with the additions of Carlos Beltran and Jonathan Lucroy and adding depth to the bullpen with the addition of Jeremy Jeffress. All these moves didn’t come free though, so here is a breakdown of the prospects leaving the Rangers system:
The 22 year old center fielder is a bit of a buy low for the Brewers, as he has failed to live up to his 2015 breakout. In 2015, Brinson accumulated a slash line of .332/.403/.601 while collecting 20 HR and 18 SB across three levels. 2016 has not gone quite as planned though for Brinson, as he has been slowed down by a shoulder injury and struggled to a .233 average. Brinson tools have never been in question, projecting as a plus runner and plus defender with a solid arm. The key here will be whether or not he can cut back on his strikeouts and tap into his power. If he can get back to his 2015 production and stay healthy Brinson has all tools to become a perennial All Star and a big piece of the next great Milwaukee team.
At age 20, Ortiz stands at 6’3" with the ability to routinely throw his fastball in the mid-90s. Ortiz complements his fastball with an above average slider that sits in the mid to low 80s. The key here, as it often is with young pitchers will be the development of a third pitch. For Ortiz that third pitch is a changeup that already projects as at least a league average offering. The 2014 first rounder has the potential to be a solid mid rotation starter for the Brewers, but also has the fastball slider combination that should play very well out of the bullpen if all else fails.
Another former first round pick, Tate was the fourth overall selection in 2015. Tate has seen his value plummet over the past year, as he has struggled to a 5.12 ERA in 17 games in Single-A ball. Perhaps more notable than the statistical results is the fact that his velocity has dropped to the low 90s. Expected to move quickly through the system, things have not gone as planned for Tate, but he is still only 22 and barely a year removed from being drafted in the first round. The Yankees made a calculated gamble in acquiring Tate and for the cost of a couple of months of Carlos Beltran the Yankees have to feel good about the level of risk. Tate will transition back to the pen upon joining the Yankees organization where he will look to regain his form before heading into 2017 with a fresh start.
Nick Green, Erick Swanson and PTBNL:
Green was a seventh round pick in 2014 and profiles as a reliever going forward. In 2016, Green has a 2-2 record and a 4.98 ERA at the single-A level. Drafted in the eighth round in 2014, the 22 year old Swanson also projects to pitch out of the bullpen when he joins the Yankees organization. Finally, a PTBNL was included in the Lucroy deal. While the PTBNL will not be the centerpiece in the deal, it will most likely provide the Brewers with another high upside low minors lottery ticket.
Just over a month ago, Alvarez signed with Dodgers for a cool $2 million as a last minute addition to the 2016 international class. Another teenager, at 18 years old Alvarez already stands at 6’5" 220 pounds and has been on the Cuban circuit for a number of years. An offensive minded prospect, Alvarez profiles to play primarily 1B or LF and could be a future candidate to take at bats as the DH as well. Already at a young age, Alvarez has shown solid bat control and strike zone management with scouts giving above average grades for power as well. Not a whole lot more can be gleaned from this addition, as Alvarez represents another lottery ticket being added to the system, but at only the cost of Josh Fields you have to like the risk/reward on this pickup.
Los Angeles Angels