Diamondbacks trade Ian Kennedy to Padres for Thatcher, Stites, draft pick

Ian Kennedy - Justin Edmonds

The Arizona Diamondbacks traded right-handed starter Ian Kennedy to the San Diego Padres this afternoon. In exchange, Arizona received veteran reliever Joe Thatcher, relief prospect Matt Stites, and a 2014 compensation round draft pick.

Here is my take on Stites.

Matt Stites, RHP: Stites was drafted by the Padres in the 17th round in 2011, from the University of Missouri. He was excellent at the lower levels of the farm system, posting a 1.93 ERA with a 36/8 K/BB in 33 innings in the Northwest League his first summer, then a stellar 0.74 ERA with a 60/3 K/BB in 49 innings for Low-A Fort Wayne last year. Moved up to Double-A San Antonio for 2013, he's remained effective with a 2.08 ERA, 14 saves, and a sharp 51/8 K/BB in 52 innings.

Stites is a 5-11, 170 pound right-hander born May 28, 1990. He's short for a right-hander but is a good athlete with major league arm strength, working with a 91-96 MPH fastball and a very good slider. His control is excellent, and the fastball/slider combination chews up right-handers, who've hit just .165 against him this year. A starter in college, he still has a curveball and changeup that he can break out if needed, but the fastball/slider combo is his mainstay.

Stites projects as a strike-throwing middle relief type and should be ready to help in the majors within the next year.

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