The San Francisco Giants and the Chicago White Sox made an early spring training trade this morning. The Giants sent third base prospect Conor Gillaspie to the Windy City. In exchange, hard-throwing right-handed pitching prospect Jeff Soptic goes west to the Bay Area. Here is the scoop.
Conor Gillaspie, 3B
Bats: L Throws: R HT: 6-1 WT: 195 DOB: July 18, 1987
2009: Grade B-; 2010: Grade C; 2011: Grade C; 2012: Grade C; 2013 Grade C
Gillaspie was a supplemental first round pick in 2008 out of Wichita State University. He has spent the list two years with Triple-A Fresno, hitting a combined .289/.368/.447. With two full Triple-A seasons under his belt, we have a good read on his skills.
He is a line drive hitter with occasional home run power, although not enough to push himself into a regular job as a corner man. He is fairly disciplined, will take a walk, but also avoids excessive strikeouts. He's hit .205/.271/.295 in 48 plate appearances in the majors spread over three seasons, with four walks and three strikeouts.
Gillaspie had a reputation for a shaky glove coming out of college, but has worked very hard on his defense at third base and has improved a great deal over the last three years, although ironically he made two errors during his five games with the Giants last spring.
Jeff Soptic, RHP
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-6 WT: 210 DOB: April 8, 1991
2012: Grade C; 2013: Grade C
Soptic was drafted by the White Sox in the third round in 2011, from Johnson County Community College in Kansas. He pitched 43 innings for Low-A Kannapolis last year, posting a 5.40 ERA with a 36/29 K/BB ratio and 26 hits allowed.
He throws very hard, as high as 101 MPH on his best days and steadily in the mid-90s. However, his mechanics are erratic, he doesn't have a changeup, and he struggles to command his slider. Scouts think he that his problems will confine him to relief, although even marginal improvements in his control could make him a bullpen force.
The trade makes some sense for both clubs. The Giants didn't have room for Gillaspie, who is out of options. He'll have a chance to make Chicago's bench, and while his Triple-A performance hasn't been outstanding, he still has a shot at being a useful role player. Soptic is a long way from the majors and isn't going to help any time soon, but the Giants have done a good job taking talented but raw arms like Soptic and turning them into useful pitchers.