Prospects in the Ubaldo Jimenez Trade
The Colorado Rockies traded pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night, receiving three prospects and a player-to-be-named in return. The Rockies receive right-handed pitchers Alex White and Joe Gardner, plus first baseman/outfielder Matt McBride. The PTBNL is reportedly left-hander Drew Pomeranz, but Pomeranz can't be officially traded until August 16th, one year after he signed with the Indians. Let's take a look at Colorado's haul.
Joe Gardner, RHP: Garner is a 23-year-old right-hander drafted in the third round in 2009 from UC-Santa Barbara. He currently has a 4.99 ERA with a 60/47 K/BB in 97 innings for Double-A Akron, with 108 hits allowed and a 1.91 GO/AO. His key pitch is a hard sinker, clocked as high as 94 on his best days. His slider and changeup are inconsistent, and problems with his secondary pitches are especially evident against left-handed hitters, who've hit .319 against him this year. Although the Indians were working to develop him as a starter, many scouts believe he'll be better off in the pen. I rated him a Grade B pre-season but he looks more like a C+ right now.
Drew Pomeranz, LHP: The Indians drafted Pomeranz in the 1st round in 2010, from the University of Mississippi, fifth overall. A 6-5, 230 pound lefty, he's been excellent in his pro debut this year, posting a 1.87 ERA with a 95/32 K/BB in 77 innings for High-A Kinston, with 56 hits allowed, then a 2.57 ERA with a 17/6 K/BB in his first 14 innings after being promoted to Akron, with 10 hits allowed. Pomeranz has a low-to-mid-90s fastball, a nasty, overpowering knuckle-curve, and an improving changeup. His command can be erratic, but his stuff is first-class and pro hitters haven't been a huge challenge for him yet. I gave him a Grade B+ pre-season and currently see him as a Grade A-, one of the elite pitching prospects in the game. He won't be officially named in the trade until August 16th or later.
Matt McBride, OF-1B: McBride was a supplemental second-round pick in 2006 from Lehigh University. A 26-year-old right-handed hitter, he's currently hitting .297/.359/.535 with 14 homers, 30 walks, and 44 strikeouts in 310 at-bats for Akron. However, he struggled earlier in the year for Triple-A Columbus, with a .156/.191/.267 mark in 45 at-bats. He began his career as a catcher but is mainly a first baseman and corner outfielder now, though he can still catch in an emergency. He's performed quite well over parts of four seasons in Double-A, but has been unable to master Triple-A, hitting just .238/.267/.378 in 164 at-bats at that level. Grade C.
Alex White, RHP: White was drafted by Cleveland in the first round in 2009, from the University of North Carolina, 15th overall. The 22-year-old right-hander began 2011 with Triple-A Columbus and posted a 1.90 ERA with a 28/5 K/BB in 24 innings, which earned him a major league promotion. He posted a 3.60 ERA in his first three starts for the Tribe, with a 13/9 K/BB in 15 innings and a 2.33 GO/AO, but then went on the DL with a finger injury. He's expected to return to action soon. White's fastball has a lot of sink and reaches 93-94 on his best days. He'll mix in a slider, but his out-pitch is a plus splitter. I rated him a Grade B+ pre-season and see no reason to change that right now.