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.
More from Minor League Ball:
- Astros trade Justin Maxwell to Royals for prospect Kyle Smith
- Minor League Ball Gameday, July 31
- Los Angeles Angels Top 20 2013 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review
- Seattle Mariners Top 20 2013 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review
- Peavy to Red Sox in three-team deal
- Angels trade Alberto Callaspo to Athletics for prospect Grant Green
- Minor League Ball Gameday, July 30
- Cardinals trade pitcher Marc Rzepczynski to Indians for prospect Juan Herrera
- Philadelphia Phillies Top 20 2013 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review
- Washington Nationals 2013 Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review