Tampa Bay's return in the Forsythe/Torres trade

New utility man for Joe Maddon's toolbox, Logan Forsythe. - Denis Poroy

San Diego swaps utility man Logan Forsythe and four prospects (RHP's Boxberger, Andriese, Lollis, and 2B Tissenbaum) to Tampa for left handed reliever Alex Torres and High A starter RHP Jesse Hahn.

Now that the new Padres are out of the way, here is a little about the players involved that are heading to the Rays. Hopefully John will be able to spare some time to give his thoughts on each. I will include John's report for each player from the 2013 Baseball Prospect Book (there's still time to pre-order the 2014 edition here!) as well if they made the cut.


Logan Forsythe - TB

Age Height Weight Position B/T
27 6'1 195 LB 2B/IF R/R
Acquired School/Country
Draft - 2008, 1st rd, 46 overall Univ. of Arkansas

The last pick of the first round in 2008, Forsythe signed for an $850K bonus as the 46th overall pick. He was a compensation pick for the Padres losing out on Doug Brocail to free agency, and was the third pick the Padres had after selecting Allan Dykstra and Jaff Decker earlier in the round.

In 2009 he hit .300/.429/.440 between 66 games in High A Lake Elsinore and 66 games in AA San Antonio as a 22 year old. He walked 102 times to 111 punch outs with 22 doubles, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 83 runs scored and even 11 SB. That was good for a 164 wRC+ and .439 wOBA in Lake Elsinore and a 114 wRC+ and .361 wOBA in San Antonio. His isolated power in the Cal League was .182 while dropping to .098 in the Texas League.  Defensively he made 25 errors at 3B in 338 opportunities.

He spent all of 2010 in AA, hitting .253/.377/.337, showcasing his discerning eye at the plate with 75 walks to 95 strike outs. The power was still M.I.A. in AA as he only hit three home runs with 22 doubles, 38 RBI, 66 runs scored and 17 SB. This gave him a 106 wRC+, a .342 wOBA, and .084 isolated power. While the Texas League is not as hitting friendly as the California League, it was a noticeable difference. It was also in line with what he did the year before in the same league.

Forsythe made his major league debut in May of 2011 and rode the shuttle between San Diego and AAA Tucson the whole year. In Tucson he posted a .326/.445/.528 line over 46 games and 218 trips to the plate. This included eight HR, 12 doubles, 33 walks to 50 strike outs with 34 RBI, 41 runs and eight stolen bases. His wRC+ came out to 148 and his wOBA was .432 with a .202 isolate power. In San Diego he made 169 plate appearances in 62 games, hit nine doubles, had an isolated power of .073 and a .213/.281/.287 line. He walked 12 times to 33 strike outs and his wRC+ was only 60 and wOBA was .250. He played solid defense at third base and second, accounting for the majority of his 0.4 fWAR and 0.7 brWAR.

The majority of his 2012 season was spent in San Diego, playing in 91 games and making 350 plate appearances. He improved his batting line quite a bit, hitting .273/.343/.390 with 13 doubles, six HR, 26 RBI, 45 runs and eight steals. He walked 28 times to 57 strike outs, posted a 110 wRC+, .325 wOBA and isolated power of .117. He played in 16 games to start the year in AAA after getting a late start to the season due to a left foot injury. He hit .259/.419/.448 with 13 walks to 18 strike outs, a 130 wRC+, .389 wOBA, .190 isolated power and six extra base hits in 74 plate appearances. On defense he played 81 games at second base, five at short stop and four at third base in San Diego and five at short, seven at third and three at second in AAA. He made a total of 14 errors, 12 in the MLB with a -0.8 dWAR and -10 DRS.

A knee strain in spring training, and an injury to his other foot, plantar fasciitis, knocked Forsythe's debut in 2013 back to the end of May. He played in 8 tune-up games in AAA Tucson before returning to the majors in mid June. His batting line in San Diego over 75 games and 243 plate appearances was .214/.281/.332 with a 73 wRC+, .272 wOBA, and a .118 isolated power. Six balls left the park with six doubles, six stolen bases, 47 runs, 19 RBI, 19 walks and 54 strike outs. His plantar fasciitis returned in September and limited his playing time down the stretch. on defense he became more of a true utility player, logging 34 games at 2B and at least 10 games and 60 innings at 3B, SS, and LF. Forsythe was about league average according to DRS (-2) and dWAR (-0.2).

Ranking wise, Forsythe found his way onto three top 30 lists from Baseball America but never cracked the top 100. From 2008-10, he ranked 11th, 5th, and 13th, respectively. In his fantastic 2009 season he ranked 17th in both the California and Texas Leagues, and also was named as having the best strike-zone discipline in both leagues along with in the San Diego system. In 2010 he retained his best strike-zone discipline accolades in both the Padres farm and the Texas League. He exceeded prospect status in the 2011 campaign.

Coming into 2014, Forsythe will certainly have a shot at getting playing time all around the infield with Tampa Bay. I've never been a big fan of projection systems, but FanGraphs' Oliver system projects Forsythe to hit .243/.321/.375 with 23 doubles, 13 HR, and 13 SB over a full 600 plate appearances with 55 walks and 127 strike outs. That seems a bit on the high/optimistic side to me and I certainly don't see him getting 600 PA unless a plague rolls through Tampa. He can definitely help in Joe Maddon's crazy schemes with his versatility and keen eye at the plate. I'm writing 2013 off as a lost season due to the foot injuries he had to deal with.


Brad Boxberger - TB

Age Height Weight Position B/T
26 6'2 220 LB RP R/R
Acquired School/Country
Draft - 2009, 1st rd, 43rd overall USC

Bradboxberger_medium
(Photo used with permission from Flickr user tjperr)

The Cincinnati Reds plucked Boxberger out of the University of Southern California in 2009 and signed at the deadline for $857K. He did not make his debut until the next year, starting at High A Lynchburg and finishing the season in AA Carolina. He started for Lynchburg and performed very well but moved to the bullpen after his promotion where he was torched. He pitched to a 4.91 ERA his debut season with 9.0 H/9, 4.1 BB/9, 10.8 K/9 and a 1.46 WHIP over 91.2 innings. His fastball resided in the low 90's with an average slider and a change up at his best but he altered his approach after getting to AA and became fastball-heavy.

In 2011 he kicked off the season back in AA Carolina's bullpen as the closer. Over 34.1 innings, the 23 year old dominated with a 1.31 ERA, 1.77 FIP, just 4.2 H/9, 3.4 BB/9 and an amazing 14.9 K/9 with a 0.85 WHIP. He saved four of the 22 games he finished with a 13-57 walk to strike out ratio. At the end of June he was promoted to AAA and continued to lock down the 9th inning for Louisville. In 27.2 innings he had a 2.93 ERA and 3.16 FIP while limiting the opposition to 5.2 H/9, 4.9 BB/9, 11.7 K/9 and a 1.12 WHIP. He saved seven games and right handed hitters could not touch him, posting a .121/.208/.181 line with 13 walks and 48 strike outs in 132 plate appearances against him. For the whole year he had a 2.03 ERA, 4.6 H/9, 4.1 BB/9, 13.5 K/9 and a 0.97 WHIP. He had a bit of an "ah ha!" moment, realizing less effort gave him better stuff and actually ticked his fastball up to 95 mph with a nice, natural cutting action. His slider maintained its average rating and was quite effective when he's in the zone with it. He also has a change up he rarely uses. Control has always been his problem though.

That December after he participated in the Arizona Fall League, the Reds packaged him up with Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, and Edinson Volquez and sent to San Diego for Mat Latos. He began the year in AAA as the closer and made his major league debut in June. After that he rode the shuttle between AAA Tucson and San Diego. In AAA he posted a 2.70 ERA and 1.79 FIP over 43.1 innings while allowing 7.7 H/9, 3.9 BB/9, 12.9 K/9 and a 1.29 WHIP. He saved 5 games and impressively did not allow a home run in his time in the Pacific Coast League. During his time in San Diego he threw 27.2 innings to a 2.60 ERA, 140 ERA+ and 4.29 FIP with 7.2 H/9, 5.9 BB/9, 10.7 K/9 with a 1.45 WHIP. He did not have any platoon splits looking at his whole body of work, with lefties posting a .653 OPS and righties with a .669 OPS. According to PITCHf/x which tracked Boxberger's time in San Diego, he used his fastball 63.2% of the time with a 91.6 mph average velocity. His change up became his go-to secondary being used 32.6% of the time, averaging 79.6 mph. The slider, which used to be his best off speed pitch, was only used 4.1% of the time and averaging 82.3 mph.

This past season he broke camp in AAA before his first of five promotions to San Diego at the start of May. Now 25, he posted a 3.61 ERA and 1.77 FIP over 57.1 innings during his stints in Tucson with 7.8 H/9, 3.0 BB/9, 14.0 K/9 and a 1.20 WHIP. Once a part of the Friars bullpen he threw 22 innings with a 2.86 ERA, 4.41 FIP, and 121 ERA+. He allowed 7.8 H/9, 5.3 BB/9, 9.8 K/9 and turned in a 1.46 WHIP. The numbers from San Diego also indicate he's more of a fly-ball pitcher by getting ground balls just 39.1% of the time, which comes in almost 5% below league average. Right handed hitters tagged him with a .796 OPS over 191 plate appearances, compared to left handers who only managed a .554 OPS in 139 trips to the plate. If you go by PITCHf/x data, both his fastball and slider maintained their velocities at 91.6 mph and 82.2 mph, respecitvely. His fastball usage dropped almost 8% to 55.3% while he went to the slider 5.8% more at 9.9%. The change up was a half mph slower and was used essentially just as much as the year before.

He was ranked 9th in the Cincinnati farm system after being drafted in 2009 and was also named as having the best fastball in the system that year. After his debut season he dropped down to 18th and rose back up to 10th following his dominance of AA and AAA in 2011.  The next year he ranked 15th in San Diego's system according to Baseball America and 14th on John's list. Speaking of, here's a bit straight from the 2013 Baseball Prospect Book:

"Brad Boxberger is no mystery; what you see is what you get: 90-93 MPH fastball, good change up, occasional slider, and the ability to shut down a game...or scare the pants off you when his control wobbles. His K/IP and H/IP marks are not lying about the quality of his stuff, but his walk rate is too high and he won't hold a 2.60 ERA for long unless those free passes come down. Grade C+"

With Boxberger its really all about his control. He's shown his fastball/change up mix can be effective at the highest level and post some excellent strike out numbers. He's got a good three pitch mix and can peak as a solid set up man. He's already used two of his three options, is arbitration eligible in 2017 and has registered 129 days of service time.

Matt Andriese - TB

Age Height Weight Position B/T
24 6'3 210 LB SP R/R
Acquired School/Country
Draft - 2011, 3rd rd, 112th overall UC-Riverside


(Photo used with permission from Flickr user txaggie321)

Matt Andriese was originally drafted after his senior year of high school in 2008 by the Texas Rangers in the 37th round. He honored his college comittment and re-entered in 2011 where he was chosen 112th overall in the third round. After signing shortly after the draft he reported to Eugene of the short season Northwest League and performed very well. He threw 41.2 innings with a 1.51 ERA, 2.05 FIP, and did not allow a home run. He did give up 6.3 H/9, 2.2 BB/9, 9.1 K/9 and had a 0.94 WHIP while getting 2.35 ground outs for every out in the air. 58.5% of ball hit were on the ground (12% more than league average), and he did not show any sort of platoon split. Lefties managed a .504 OPS against while right handers did slightly better at .524. He worked with a sinking fastball at 91-94 mph, an 85-86 mph splitter and a power curve ball. He has an ideal frame for a workhorse but hes not the most athletic looking guy on the field. Coming from a low 3/4 arm slot, all of his pitches feature downward action and help him generate ground balls by the bushel.

In 2012 Andriese began the year in the very hitter friendly California League. Playing for Lake Elsinore, his ground ball oriented approach worked well as he posted a 3.58 ERA and 3.07 FIP over 27 starts and 146 innings. He allowed 8.6 H/9, 2.3 BB/9, 8.1 K/9 and a 1.22 WHIP. Andriese only allowed 9 home runs (quite a feat for spending the whole year in the Cal) and held right handed hitters helpless with a .223/.259/.302 line and 12 walks to 70 strike outs. Lefties tagged him much harder, posting a .284/.349/.417 line and .766 OPS. He got 1.75 ground outs to air outs and 54.1 % of balls were hit on the ground (over 10% more than league average). He led the league in ERA and finished third in WHIP. Though he could reach back and hit 95 with his fastball, he was more comfortable in the 91-93 mph range while still getting good downward action. Both his splitter and curve looked like plus pitches with the split featuring late tumble and hard downward bite on the curve. His motion creates good deception as he throws across his body and has long arm action in the back. Andriese commands his pitches well and kills worms with the best of them.

John's take on Andriese after the season was this:

"Andriese had a fine season in the California League, maintaining sharp command of his low-90's sinker, curve ball, and splitter. His K/BB was particularly good, and his ground ball ratio (1.75 GO/AO) fits well with reports of his quality sinker. [He] projects as a number four or five starter at the major league level, or possibly a grounder-getting middle reliever if starting doesn't work out. The Padres have several similar pitchers in their system. Grade C+"

Last season he broke into the high minors, starting the season at AA San Antonio. The Texas League proved no match as he won over half his 15 starts and posted a 2.37 ERA and 2.84 FIP in 76 innings. He allowed 8.4 H/9, 2.0 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, and a 1.16 WHIP. In late June he was promoted to AAA Tucson and hit a bit of a wall. His ERA spiked to 4.45 as he allowed more H/9 (9.8) and struck out a batter less per nine innings (6.4), but his FIP was just 2.93. His control remained solid at 1.8 BB/9 and he had a 1.30 WHIP. For the entire season he had a 3.27 ERA and 2.88 FIP over 134.2 innings. He allowed a hit per inning, 1.9 BB/9, 7.0 K/9 and had a 1.22 WHIP. He induced 1.88 ground outs for every fly out and 55% of balls were hit on the turf. He improved slightly against lefties, limiting them to a .275/.319/.398 line and .717 OPS. Right handers had a .636 OPS and .249/.292/.343 line.

He didn't make the Padres top 30 list after being drafted in 2011 and dominating the Northwest League, but he did come in at #6 in the league. After showing he could handle the California League, he moved up to 20th in the system. John also had him in the top 20, slotting him at 19th. I personally had him slotted at #9 in the system following this past season. He has not been on any top prospect lists so far this winter, but Andriese is another guy, like Hahn, that I don't think people are really paying attention to because of his age. He will be 24 next season and likely bound for AAA but has impressed everywhere he's gone. He has a career 3.18 ERA and 2.1 BB/9 with a stellar 3.61 K/BB ratio over 322.1 innings. He looks like a #3 to me and that is definitely valuable.

Matt Lollis - TB

Age Height Weight Position B/T
23 6'9 250 LB RP R/R
Acquired School/Country
Draft - 2009, 15th rd, 444th overall Riverside CC (CA)

Mattlollis_medium
(Photo posted under Creative Commons license, taken by Flickr user SD Dirk)

Coming out of a California community college, Matt "Big Country" Lollis signed for a mere $100K and reported to Arizona to play for their rookie level complex team. He moved up to short season Eugene in the Northwest League to begin 2010 and he flourished there, posting a 2.86 ERA in just six starts and 34.2 innings. He only allowed 5.5 H/9, 2.1 BB/9, 6.2 K/9 and a minuscule 0.84 WHIP. He earned a promotion to Low A Fort Wayne of the Midwest League in mid July. He was actually better in Low A, making nine starts spanning 54.1 innings with a 1.66 ERA. He allowed 7.8 H/9, 2.2 BB/9, 7.5 K/9 and a 1.10 WHIP. It was very impressive coming from a 19 year old with such an imposing figure. For the entire season he threw 89 innings, allowed 6.9 H/9, 2.1 BB/9, 7.0 K/9 and had an even 1.00 WHIP.

Lollis succeeded with a four pitch mix coming out of a high 3/4 arm slot. His fastball regularly sat in the 92-94 mph range while ticking up to 96 when he needs it. He also featured a pair of breaking balls. A power slider was his best secondary while he also used a 12-6 knuckle curve with hard break. The change up rounded out his repertoire but was a distant fourth pitch that he had some feel for but little confidence in throwing it. Despite his monstrous size he was still considered a solid athlete with quick feet and good body control.

After breaking camp in 2011, Lollis was dispatched to High A Lake Elsinore out in the California League. Working out of the rotation, he was torn up by the older hitters and offensive minded environments. He made 16 starts up until the beginning of July and managed a 5.45 ERA over 76 innings. He allowed 9.9 H/9, 3.9 BB/9, 8.2 K/9 and a 1.54 WHIP as a starter before his demotion to the pen. He made 11 more appearances as the long man and then four more starts to finish the season. Looking at the entire year, Big Country worked 119.1 innings, allowing a 5.35 ERA, 10.2 H/9, 3.4 BB/9, 8.6 K/9 and a 1.51 WHIP. His FIP looked much better at 4.05 but he also was the victim of a very high BABIP (.350) and low strand rate (60.7%). His fastball still resided in the 92-93 range but reached max velocity of 97 in the bullpen. His knuckle curve still featured the hard downward break while coming in at 74-76 and his slider lost some bite and became more of a slurve in the low 80's.

In 2012 the organization tried him out in the bullpen and promoted him up to AA San Antonio in the Texas League. Used as a middle reliever and spot starter, he worked 36 innings while pitching to a 5.75 ERA, 9.8 H/9, 3.8 BB/9, 9.0 K/9 and a 1.50 WHIP. He was promoted to AAA Tucson for a pair of starts then was sent back to the High A Lake Elsinore squad where he was moved back into the rotation. He made 11 starts and a relief appearance for the Storm, posting a 6.83 ERA in 58 innings with more horrible component ratio's. He allowed 11.9 H/9, 4.5 BB/9, 7.8 K/9 and a 1.83 WHIP. Put together the numbers from all three stops and he threw an even 100 innings with a 6.57 ERA, 11.4 H/9, 4.2 BB/9, 8.3 K/9 and a 1.74 WHIP. There really were not any bright spots to highlight for his season as it was the second straight season with disastrous results. I suppose his only saving grace was that through all this he was still just 21 years old.

Last year was more of the same but without any starts. He made 58 relief appearances in his first season exclusively relieving. He worked in the Lake Elsinore pen to kick off the year, making 23 appearances with a 2.32 ERA in 31 innings. He limited the opposition to 8.1 H/9, 3.2 BB/9, 9.0 K/9 and a 1.26 WHIP. At the end of May he was double jumped to AAA for one game before heading to AA San Antonio. He finished the season there after another quick stay in AAA mixed in. For the entire year he worked 74 innings with a 4.62 ERA and 4.65 FIP, 10.5 H/9, 4.7 BB/9, 7.7 K/9 and a 1.69 WHIP. He was still much too hittable and his control has regressed every year since turning pro. Left handed hitters really hurt him, hitting .306/.412/.476 with an .888 OPS in 150 plate appearances while right handers only hit .271/.345/.418 with a .763 OPS. Out of the bullpen his fastball has gained velocity, now ranging from 97-99 but with zero movement and zero deception from his motion. He also dropped his arm slot to low 3/4 and, as shown by the BB/9 numbers, could not maintain his new delivery throughout the season. His heat could blow past hitters in A ball but he was obviously not succeeding with the same mentality in the upper minors.

Ranking wise, Big Country has made a few lists but they were all near his monster 2010 season. He ranked as high as 5th in the San Diego farm system following the aforementioned 2010 season, came in at 6th in the Northwest League, and 19th in the Midwest League. The following season he did not make any top 20 league rankings but did come in at #21 in the Padres organization according to Baseball America. At this point he is a lottery ticket due to his velocity and size out of the bullpen, as he is clearly no longer a starting pitcher.

Maxx Tissenbaum - TB

Age Height Weight Position B/T
22 5'10 185 LB 2B S/R
Acquired School/Country
Draft - 2012, 11th rd, 345th overall Stony Brook

Maxxtissenbaum_medium
(Photo used with permission from Flickr user JamesV34)

Maximillian Theodore Reginald Tissenbaum (his actual name is Maxx David Tissenbaum but I prefer somthing more regal) was originally selected by his hometown Toronto Blue Jays in the 43rd round of the 2009 draft but he chose to attend Stony Brook in New York. Three years later he was chosen in the 11th round by the Padres and signed for $100K. He was also originally a switch hitter but ditched hitting from the right side this past year to concentrate on his natural left handed swing.

Tissenbaum made his debut in 2012 at 20 years old, spending just a game in the rookie complex level Arizona League and finishing at short season Eugene. For the year he came to the plate 208 times and hit .296/.403/.379 with three home runs, five doubles, 26 runs, 29 RBI, a pair of stolen bases and an outstanding 27/14 walk to strike out ratio. Due to the gaudy OBP he posted, his wOBA came in at .378 with a 131 wRC+. He put up similar .290 batting averages from both sides of the plate but showed significantly more power from the left side (.386 SLG% to .323) and a better eye (.405 OBP to .371). He also knows his game, putting the ball on the ground and slicing line drives everywhere. His 21.1 LD% (percent of balls hit for line drives) was almost a full 6% better than league average while his GB% of 49.7 bested the league by 4.3%. Comparing against league average his 6.7 K% was 14.3% better and his 13% walk rate was 3.8% better. He only made one error at second in the field in 201 chances. A combination of fantastic plate discipline, knowledge of the strike zone and solid defense put him on my radar despite the lack of power or speed.

This past year he resided in Low A Fort Wayne for the entire year, playing in 111 games and making 490 trips to the plate. He ran up a .277/.365/.359 line at the plate with 28 doubles, two home runs, 48 runs scored, 49 RBI, four stolen bases and another stellar 43/36 walk to strike out ratio. His batting line against righties was about in line with his season line, but he actually did better against same sided pitching, hitting .280/.375/.390 in a short sample size of just 97 plate appearances. He did show some extreme home/road splits though. In the friendly confines of his home park he had an OPS 140 points higher (.789) than on the road (.649). His batting average was also dramatically different, hitting .313 at home and just .236 away from Fort Wayne. Compared to the rest of the Midwest League, Tissenbaum walked at the same 8.8% rate as the average, and his GB% was just 0.7% more. He hit line drives 3.3% more of the time and also struck out over 12.1% less than league average. On defense he spent the majority of the year at the keystone but also appeared in 22 games at short stop. Holding down second he made 13 errors in 394 chances for a .967 fielding % while he made six errors at short in just 86 chances.

In my eyes, Tissenbaum looks like a solid bet to play solid defense at the key while hitting at the bottom of the order or in the #2 hole if he can sustain his performance in the higher minors. Its hard to ignore a career 70-50 BB/K ratio even in the low minors. He will be 22 years old next season and will more than likely play at High A Charlotte. He's too far away to project how he will work into Tampa's plans at the highest level, but he could could certainly make things more complicated.

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