Astros Trade Jed Lowrie to Athletics for Chris Carter, Prospects

Brad Peacock - Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Astros Trade Jed Lowrie to Athletics for Chris Carter, Prospects, Five-Player Deal

The Oakland Athletics cashed in more farm system chits this afternoon, sending first baseman Christopher Carter, pitching prospect Brad Peacock, and catching prospect Max Stassi to the Houston Astros in exchange for shortstop Jed Lowrie and right-handed pitcher Fernando Rodriguez. Here is the scoop on the two prospects involved, Peacock and Stassi.

Brad Peacock, RHP: Peacock was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 41st round in 2006, out of high school in Wellington, Florida. He was a draft-and-follow choice, not signing a pro contract until the spring of 2007 after his freshman year at Palm Beach Community College. His track record was erratic at first, struggling in Low-A in 2008, followed by ERAs in excess of 4.00 in both '09 and '10, though his component ratios were very solid and pointed to breakthrough potential.

He emerged in 2011 with a 15-3 record, 2.39 ERA, and 177/47 K/BB in 147 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, also pitching in 12 innings for the Nationals. Oakland acquired him in the Gio Gonzalez trade, but he had a disappointing season for Triple-A Sacramento in '12, posting a 6.01 ERA though with a 139/66 K/BB in 135 innings.

Peacock is a 6-1, 175 pound right-hander, born February 2nd, 1988. Although his results are spotty, there's nothing wrong with his arm: he has a 90-95 MPH fastball, along with a curveball, changeup, and an occasional slider. His secondary pitches, particularly his curve, all flash plus, but his command is inconsistent and the outcomes are sometimes less than the sum of the parts. Peacock consistently maintains strong K/IP ratios, and any improvement in his command has a good chance of making him a mid-rotation starter. Relief is also a possibility if his command remains problematic. I currently have him rated as a Grade B- prospect in the 2013 Baseball Prospect Book.

Max Stassi, C: Stassi was drafted by Oakland in the fourth round in 2009 from high school in Yuba City, California. It cost $1,500,000 to buy him away from college at UCLA, which at the time was a record for a fourth-round pick. Stassi's great-great uncle was Myril Hoag, who played 1020 major league games back in the 30s and 40s.

Stassi was rated as an excellent defensive catcher with a solid bat when drafted, but his pro career has been compromised by shoulder problems and poor strike zone judgment. He hit just .229/.310/.380 in the Low-A Midwest League in 2010, fanning 141 times in 110 games, then was limited to just 31 games by his shoulder in 2011, all as a DH, hitting .231/.331/.331 for High-A Stockton. He returned to Stockton in 2012 and hit .268/.331/.468 with 15 homers, 27 walks, and 83 strikeouts in 314 at-bats. He caught in 66 of these games, throwing out 24% of runners.

Stassi is a 5-10, 205 pound right-handed hitter and thrower, born March 15, 1991. Despite his health and performance issues, scouts remain fond of him, in great part due to his makeup. The injury cost him more than a year of development work behind the plate, where he shows mobility and leadership skills but is still working on his throwing. Scouts like the pop in Stassi's bat and he's produced solid power when healthy, but his strike zone judgment is substandard and he simply swings-and-misses a lot. His swing is sound enough and his power is real, but he chases too many pitches outside the zone. Stassi should be expected to hit home runs, but his batting average and OBP have not been a strength to this point.

Although I don't have much objective evidence to back it up, I think Stassi has the potential to improve a great deal, and currently rate him as a Grade C+ prospect.

Overall, I think this is a good trade for the Astros. I've been a Jed Lowrie fan for a long while (and I'll do a Prospect Retrospective for him tomorrow), but the addition of Peacock and Stassi, not to mention Vernon Christopher Carter's tremendous power bat, seems like a good long-term move to me, adding battery depth and buying more time for first base prospect Jonathan Singleton.

Tomorrow I will update the Astros and Athletics prospect lists, may jiggle the organization rankings, and write up a Prospect Retro for Lowrie and a Not-A-Rookie for Chris Carter.

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