Pirates Trade Joel Hanrahan, Brock Holt to Red Sox
The Pittsburgh Pirates traded closer Joel Hanrahan and infield prospect Brock Holt to the Boston Red Sox today, receiving outfielder Jerry Sands, reliever Mark Melancon, pitching prospect Stolmy Pimentel, and infield prospect Ivan DeJesus in exchange. Here is a look at the prospects involved.
Ivan De Jesus, INF: De Jesus was born May 1, 1987. A right-handed hitter and thrower, he is the son of former major league infielder Ivan DeJesus. Junior was a second round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005 from high school in Puerto Rico.
He made slow but steady progress through the Dodgers system, although he missed all of 2009 with a broken leg. He reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 201 and hit .296/.335/.405 in 130 games, followed by a .310/.389/.432 mark in a repeat engagement for the Isotopes in 2011. He hit .295/.333/.415 in 60 games there in 2012, then came over to Boston as part of the huge Adrian Gonzalez/Josh Beckett salary dump this past summer.
De Jesus is listed at 5-11, 200 pounds. Originally a shortstop, his physical tools fit best at second base, where he's developed into a very reliable presence, though you can still play him at shortstop if you really need to. The Dodgers were grooming him for a utility role. Offensively, he's a line drive hitter with limited power, a career .303/.355/.416 hitter in 1170 Triple-A at-bats, almost all of them for Albuquerque, a very friendly offensive environment.
Brock Holt, INF: Holt was born June 11, 1988 in Stephenville, Texas. A left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, he's listed at 5-10, 170. He had an impressive junior season for Rice University in 2009, hitting .348/.427/.560 with 12 homers, 11 steals, 34 walks, and 35 strikeouts in 250 at-bats. Despite his track record, he got lost in the shuffle on draft day, scouts feeling that his tools were so-so and that he was too small to project big success at higher levels. He fell to the ninth round, where the Pirates signed him for $125,000.
Holt got off to an outstanding start in 2010, hitting .351/.410/.438 in 47 games for High-A Bradenton in the Florida State League. Unfortunately, just as the Holt Bandwagon was gaining momentum, he tore a meniscus in a June infield collision and missed the rest of the year. Moved up to Double-A Altoona for ‘11, he wasn't bad by any means, but didn't set the league alight either, hitting .288/.356/.387 with 18 steals, 50 walks, and 85 strikeouts in 511 at-bats. He hit 30 doubles, but knocked just one home run.
Holt returned to Altoona for 2012 and heated back up, batting .322/.389/.432 with 24 doubles, 40 walks, and 51 strikeouts in 382 at-bats, winning the Eastern League batting hunt. Promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis for August, he got even hotter, batting .432/.476/.537 with nine walks and nine strikeouts in 95 at-bats. Overall, he hit .344/.406/.453 this year in the high minors, with 49 walks and 60 strikeouts in 477 at-bats. He followed up hitting .292/.329/.354 in 24 games for the Pirates down the stretch.
Brock will never be a home run hitter and his gaudy batting average this season included at least some BABIP luck. He makes contact, has a grasp of the strike zone, and has enough pop to the gaps to keep the pitcher honest. Although he played shortstop this year for Altoona, his defensive tools fit best at second base due to average range, speed, and arm strength. Overall, Holt profiles best as a utility player with a solid bat.
Between the two infielders, I'd say that De Jesus has a better glove, but Holt has a better bat and is younger.
Stolmy Pimentel, RHP: Pimentel is a 6-4, 230 pound right-handed hitter and thrower, born February 1st, 1990 in the Dominican Republic. The Red Sox signed him as a free agent in 2006, giving him a small $25,000 bonus. This looked like a huge bargain after he posted an excellent season in the New York-Penn League in 2008, emerging as one of Boston's best pitching prospects.
He followed up with a decent 3.82 ERA, 103/29 K/BB in 118 innings for Low-A Greenville in 2009. 2010 wasn't bad (4.06 ERA, 102/42 K/BB in 129 innings in High-A), but in 2011 he was horrible after being promoted to Double-A (9.12 ERA, 30/23 K/BB, 75 hits in 50 innings) and ended the year as a big question-mark. He pitched adequately in 2012 (4.59 ERA, 86/42 K/BB in 116 innings in Double-A) but has lost a lot of stock with scouts.
At his best, Pimentel can hit the mid-90s, but he loses his location and command when he goes for maximum velocity and is more effective in the low-90s. He has a good changeup, but his breaking ball remains erratic, his mechanics are inconsistent, and in general he has not lived up to his potential. He looked like a mid-rotation starter a few years ago, but ultimately may fit best in relief. While he was clearly stagnating in the Red Sox system, he is still just 22 (23 in February) and the change of scenery to a new organization and a fresh set of coaches may do him some good.