The San Diego Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates made a prospect trade this afternoon, with the Friars sending reliever Miles Mikolas and outfielder Jaff Decker to the Bucs in exchange for outfield/first base prospect Alex Dickerson. Here's the scoop on all three.
Jaff Decker, OF: Decker was a supplemental first round pick in 2008 from high school in Peoria, Arizona. He drew comparisons to Matt Stairs for his patient approach at the plate, power potential, and beefy frame. Although he's lost time to injuries, he has also improved his physical conditioning since high school. to the point that he played mostly center field last year for Triple-A Tucson, where he hit .286/.381/.443 with 10 homers and 55 walks in 350 at-bats.
He hit just .154 in 13 games for the Padres, going 4-for-26, although one of the hits was a home run.
Age 23, Decker is a left-handed hitter and thrower. He is listed at 5-10, 190, although his lower half is thick and he'll always have to watch his conditioning. His defense is better than it used to be and he has a decent arm. He remains a selective hitter with a high walk rate and some power, but never fully lived up to expectations with the Padres. Perhaps a change of scenery will help.
Alex Dickerson, OF-1B: The Pirates drafted Dickerson in the third round in 2011 from Indiana University. He hit .295/.353/.451 with 13 homers in the High-A Florida State League in 2012, followed by a .288/.337/.494 line for Double-A Altoona in 2013, with 17 homers.
Age 23, Dickerson is a left-handed hitter and thrower of substantial size, listed at 6-3, 235. He played first base in '12 but had problems (17 errors) and moved to right field in '13. He catches what he gets to but lacks range and arm strength and can't handle center field. Compared to Decker, Dickerson has less patience and a more aggressive approach, but taps into his raw power more readily.
Miles Mikolas, RHP: Mikolas was drafted by the Padres in 2009, a seventh round pick from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. The 6-5, 215 pound right-hander has been very effective at all levels of the Padres system, posting a 2.97 ERA in 300 career innings with 254/67 K/BB ratio and 64 saves. This includes a 3.25 ERA with 26 saves for Triple-A Tucson in 2013, with a 40/17 K/BB in 61 innings. Mikolas pitched in 32 innings for the major league team in 2012, with a 3.62 ERA and a 23/15 K/BB ratio.
Age 25, Mikolas has been clocked as high as 98 MPH, although his fastball tends to be straight and he relies on his curveball a great deal. He projects as a middle reliever at the major league level and has little left to prove in Triple-A.
ANALYSIS: Something of an unusual prospect-for-prospect trade but there is some logic to it. The Padres had soured on Decker and Mikolas was surplus to their needs; Dickerson looked blocked in Pittsburgh. One interesting feature: Decker can be too patient and not aggressive enough, while Dickerson tends to be too aggressive and not patient enough. Perhaps they can find a happy median with their new organizations.
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