HOUSTON,TX-MAY 01: Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow (R) and team president George Postolos talk during batting practice before a game between the New York Mets and Houston Astros on May 1, 2012 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Prospects in the Houston Astros/Toronto Blue Jays Trade
The big transaction news in baseball today is an unusual 10-player deal between the Houston Astros and the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays send right-hander Francisco Cordero, outfielder Generalissimo Ben Francisco, minor league right-handers Joe Musgrove and Asher Wojciechowski, lefty David Rollins, and catcher Carlos Perez, along with a player to be named westward to Houston. In exchange, they receive lefty J.A. Happ, and right-handers David Carpenter and Brandon Lyon. Here is a breakdown of the prospects involved.
Joe Musgrove, RHP (Toronto to Houston): Musgrove was a supplemental first round pick in 2011, from high school in El Cajon, California. A 6-5, 230 pound right-hander, at age 19 he features a low-to-mid-90s fastball, a slider, a curveball, and a splitter he uses in changeup situations. He has a low-effort delivery and a body that looks like that of a workhorse starter. He has pitched just 32.2 innings in pro ball, all in rookie ball, but he's performed well, with a 3.31 ERA and a 27/5 K/BB with 24 hits allowed. He is the best prospect in the trade, but several years away from the majors.
Carlos Perez, C (Toronto to Houston): Perez is a 21-year-old catcher from Venezuela. Considered one of the top prospects in the system a couple of years ago, he's had a pair of seasons in the Midwest League, hitting .256/.320/.355 for Lansing last year and .275/.358/.447 this year, showing more pop in '12. He has good defensive tools including impressive mobility and arm strength, although he is still ironing out the fine points of his receiving footwork and throwing. He had fallen behind Travis d'Arnaud and A.J. Jimenez on the organization catching chart, making him an expendable asset.
David Rollins, LHP (Toronto to Houston): Rollins was a 24th round pick in 2011 from San Jacinto North Community College in Texas. A 6-1, 195 pound lefty, the 21-year-old is having a good year for Lansing, going 6-1, 2.78 ERA in 78 innings with a 75/36 K/BB and 64 hits allowed. He has an average velocity fastball, but his slider and changeup are solid and he's been effective at the lower levels of the system. He's quite tough on lefties (.189 average this year) and projects as a LOOGY if starting doesn't work out at higher levels. He was placed on the disabled list after his last start with an undisclosed injury.
Asher Wojciechowski, RHP (Toronto to Houston): Woj was a supplemental first round pick in 2010 from The Citadel. He had an erratic season in 2011 for High-A Dunedin (4.70 ERA, with 156 hits allowed in 130 innings but a solid 96/31 K/BB ratio). 2012 has seen a better performance in a return engagement to the Florida State League (3.57 ERA, 76/22 K/BB in 93 innings, 91 hits), though as a league-repeater with college experience, improvement should have been expected. Another big-body right-hander at 6-4, 235, the 23-year-old has lost a bit of velocity since college, now at 89-92, cutting his projection from rotation anchor to possible four/five starter or bullpen work. He mixes in a slider and changeup.
The Jays are just two games under .500 and have apparently coveted Happ for years, but they are also 12 games out of first place and it seems an unusual time to ship off prospects. Perez and Woj were top prospects at one time before their stock dropped, and they seem like good speculative pickups for Houston. Musgrove has the most potential but is also a long way off. Rollins is at least a useful organization arm and has a chance to get beyond that. None of the guys given up by the Astros were part of their next winning team, so overall I like this trade from their point of view.