The long-rumored trade between the Chicago Cubs and the Texas Rangers finally happened this afternoon. The Rangers reinforced their pitching staff for the stretch run by acquiring right-hander Matt Garza from the Cubs. In exchange, Chicago bolstered their rebuilding organization with pitcher Justin Grimm, third base prospect Mike Olt, pitching prospect C.J. Edwards, and a player to be named.
Here is a report on the prospects involved.
C.J. Edwards, RHP: Edwards is one of the best stories in the minor leagues this year. He's having an outstanding campaign for Low-A Hickory in the South Atlantic League, going 8-2 in 18 starts with a 1.83 ERA and an excellent 122/34 K/BB ratio in 93 innings. He's allowed just 63 hits on the season and zero homers.
Edwards was an unheralded 48th round draft pick in 2011, as a raw high schooler from Prosperity, South Carolina. He was born September 3, 1991. He took quickly and well to pro baseball, posting a 2.11 ERA with a 60/19 K/BB in 47 innings for Spokane in the Northwest League last summer, then maintaining his progress this spring. The right-hander isn't big at 6-2, 160, but he's got a big arm with a moving fastball that can hit 96 MPH, a big-breaking curve, and an improving changeup.
Mike Olt, 3B: Olt seems like he's been around forever, probably because he's been mentioned in trade rumors for a couple of years now. A supplemental first round pick in 2010 from the University of Connecticut, he has had a rough spring with a .213/.317/.422 mark for Triple-A Round Rock, hitting 11 homers and drawing 35 walks but fanning 89 times in 230 at-bats. Olt was bothered by vision problems earlier in the season but this has reportedly been solved recently. He is hitting a robust .290/.410/.710 in his last 10 games.
Olt is a 6-2. 210 pound right-handed hitter, born August 27, 1988. He is rated as a superior defensive third baseman, with a strong arm and good range. Power is his best offensive asset and he'll draw his share of walks, but his strikeout rates are consistently high and he isn't likely to hit for much of an average. His OBP should still be reasonable and the power stands out.
Justin Grimm, RHP: Grimm was drafted in the fifth round in 2010 from the University of Georgia. He's made 17 starts with the Rangers this year but has produced spotty results, with a 7-7 record but an ugly 6.37 ERA. He has a 68/31 K/BB in 89 innings, giving up 116 hits and 15 homers.
It is not a matter of stuff: Grimm's low-90s fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup give him a complete arsenal. He usually throws strikes, but his stuff isn't overpowering enough for him to get away with mistakes of location, which unfortunately he's made quite a few of lately. Born August 16, 1988, the 6-3, 200 pounder still has a shot at being a fourth starter and the change of scenery should do him good.
SUMMARY: The Rangers add a veteran starter for the stretch run and give up three prospects to do, a long-term pitching prospect in Edwards and two others in Olt and Grimm who are talented but surplus to current needs. I think this is a fair deal for both teams.
More from Minor League Ball:
- Texas Rangers 2013 Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review
- Cubs trade Matt Garza to Rangers for Grimm, prospects Olt, C.J. Edwards
- Minor League Ball Gameday, July 22
- Pittsburgh Pirates Top 20 Pre-Season Prospects in Review
- Prospect of the Day: Junior Lake, OF-INF, Chicago Cubs
- Introducing The Sandlot
- Minor League Ball Gameday, July 21
- Two former big leaguers remaking themselves in PCL
- Prospect Retrospective: Erik Bedard
- Minnesota Twins 2013 Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review