PROSPECTS IN THE MARLINS/DODGERS RICKY NOLASCO TRADE
Saturday evening, the Miami Marlins traded right-handed starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In exchange, the Marlins receive three pitching prospects: Steven Ames, Angel Sanchez, and Josh Wall. Here is a rundown on the trio of new Miami pitchers.
Steven Ames, RHP: Ames was drafted by the Dodgers in the 17th round in 2009, out of Gonzaga. A 6-1, 205 pound righthander, he is 25 years old. Ames currently has a 3.67 ERA with a 29/13 K/BB in 34 innings for Triple-A Albuquerque, with 45 hits allowed. He has been used as a closer this year and has eight saves. He is coming off an excellent 2012 season where he posted a 1.56 ERA with 18 saves and a 72/13 K/BB in 63 innings for Double-A Chattanooga.
Ames works with a 90-94 MPH fastball, a slider, and a changeup. His slider has very good moments but the changeup is nothing special. His component ratios have deteriorated in Triple-A, likely reflecting the need to sharpen his secondary pitches. He projects as a middle reliever at the major league level.
Angel Sanchez, RHP: Sanchez was signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Dodgers in 2010. A 6-3, 180 pound right-hander, Sanchez is 23 years old. He started 2013 with Great Lakes in the Midwest League, posting a 4.88 ERA with a 70/28 K/BB in 72 innings with 80 hits allowed. He moved up to High-A Rancho Cucamonga at the end of June and has made two strong appearances, fanning 12 in nine innings of work, giving up four runs, eight hits, and two walks. He struggled badly at Rancho in 2012, posting a 6.58 ERA in 130 innings and giving up 157 hits with a 103/51 K/BB.
The results don't always show it, but Sanchez has a very good arm, getting up to 94-96 MPH and showing a plus slider at times. His curveball and changeup are still works in progress, and he needs greater dependability in all aspects of mound work. He has the upside of a mid-rotation starter at least, but (thus far anyway) lacks the necessary consistency to fully harness his talent. He could wind up in relief if that doesn't improve.
Josh Wall, RHP: Wall was drafted by Los Angeles in the second round back in 2005, from high school in Walker, Louisiana. A 6-6, 215 pound right-hander, he is 26 years old and has made a long trek through the Dodgers farm system, spending six years in rookie ball and A-ball with generally poor results until reaching the high minors in 2011. In 2013 he has a 5.60 ERA at Albuquerque with a 25/16 K/BB ratio in 27 innings of relief work. He has made brief roster appearances with the Dodgers in '12 and '13, fanning 11 in 13 innings but giving up 17 runs in his major league trials.
As you may surmise, Wall has a really good arm, which is why the Dodgers didn't give up on him despite some ugly career minor league numbers (5.01 ERA, 612/334 K/BB, 809 hits in 752 innings). He used to throw four pitches but seldom uses the mediocre curveball and changeup at this point, working mostly with a 93-96 MPH heater and a hard slider. He's more effective as a reliever than he was as a starter and his numbers to some extent have been marred by pitching in tough environments, but his below-average command hasn't helped matters. It will be interesting to see if a new organization can get more out of him.
SUMMARY: The Marlins turned Nolasco into three live arms, although none of these guys are sure things and all may end up as just bullpen material. Sanchez has the most upside of the group, but is also the furthest away.
For more on the trade, check out Michael Jong's analysis at FishStripes.