Prospects in the Doug Fister Trade
The Seattle Mariners traded pitchers Doug Fister and David Pauley to the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, July 30th, in exchange for a trio of prospects: pitcher Charlie Furbush, outfielder Casper Wells, and third baseman Francisco Martinez. A fourth rumored prospect has yet to be named. Let's take a look at the three known players the Mariners are receiving.
Charlie Furbush, LHP: A 25-year-old southpaw, Furbush was drafted by the Tigers in the fourth round in 2007 out of Louisiana State University. He missed all of 2008 recovering from Tommy John surgery, but has been healthy and reasonably effective ever since. He's split 2011 between Triple-A Toledo (3.17 ERA, 61/16 K/BB in 54 innings, 35 hits) and the Tigers, posting a 3.62 ERA with a 26/14 K/BB in 32 major league innings, allowing 36 hits. He's started two games but relieved in 15. Furbush works in the upper-80s when used as a starter, but has been in the low-90s in the bullpen, mixing in a slider/cutter, curveball, and changeup. He's not overpowering but has a good feel for pitching, giving him a chance to be an inning-eating starter or a solid reliever. I had him as a Grade C pre-season, but would raise that to C+ now.
Casper Wells, OF: Wells was drafted by the Tigers in the 14th round in 2005 out of Towson University. A 26-year-old right-handed hitter, he has an erratic minor league track record, playing very well at times but also struggling with injuries and inconsistency. Scouts have never liked him much, but the results have been there so far: he hit .323/.364/.538 in 93 at-bats for the Tigers last year, and .257/.323/.451 in 113 at-bats this year, giving him a major league career line of .286/.341/.490 in his first 224 plate appearances. He also has a strong throwing arm and is a fine defensive outfielder despite average tools. Wells has exceeded expectations, and while his upside is limited due to his age, I like him. Grade C+.
Francisco Martinez, 3B: A 20-year-old Venezuelan third baseman, Martinez was hitting .282/.319/.405 with 19 walks and 80 strikeouts in 348 at-bats for Double-A Erie. He's toolsy and has a strong arm and good range at third base, but is also mistake-prone and has committed 30 errors already. Scouts like his offensive potential and project that he should hit for average with solid power, but his strike zone judgment is mediocre at best and his production has never matched his reputation. On the other hand, he's been quite young for his leagues, and while he needs a lot more polish, it is too soon to conclude that he won't hit, given his age. I rated him a C+ pre-season and that still seems fair.