Coming off his worst season in the MLB, RHP Aaron Crow was sent packing to South Beach with Kansas City acquiring LHP Brian Flynn and RHP Reid Redman. Crow is entering his second run through arbitration and with his escalating salary and better, cheaper options available, Kansas City decided to flip him for prospects. For a more in-depth take on Crow, please check out Vince Lara-Cinisomo's take over at Baseball America or Steve Adams' at MLBTR. Now lets get to the prospects involved before we look at the deal as a whole.
LHP Brian Flynn
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Brian Flynn was originally a 7th round draft pick by the Tigers from Wichita State in 2011 and signed for a $125,000 bonus after completing his junior year. Detroit then shipped Flynn to Miami the next year as part of a package along with RHP Jacob Turner, C Rob Brantly, and a 2013 supplemental first round pick in exchange for RHP Anibal Sanchez, 2B Omar Infante, and a 2013 supplemental second round pick. The two draft picks involved turned out to be a pair of right handed college relievers in RHP Colby Suggs (MIA) and RHP Corey Knebel (DET). The 2013 season was Flynn's first full year with the Marlins and he progressed from AA Jacksonville to AAA New Orleans with a combined 2.63 ERA over a full season worth of innings, totaling 161 innings on the bump. The 6'7 lefty that tips the scales at a reported 250 lb's posted great peripherals with a 3.27 FIP, 1.17 WHIP, 3.42 K/BB ratio, 147 K's (22.4%), and 43 walks (6.5%). His performance earned him a cup of coffee in September where he threw 18 rough innings, allowing 27 hits and 13 walks with just 15 strike outs and a 8.50 ERA and 6.44 FIP. For the entire 2013 season, he limited the opposition to a .256/.318/.355 line with a .320 BABIP and 13 home runs.
After the 2013 season, this was John's take on Flynn -
The ERA leader in the Pacific Coast League is usually some 32-year-old junkball Quadruple-A pitcher, if only because top prospects in the PCL are promoted to the majors pretty quickly and often don’t pitch enough innings to qualify for ERA titles. However, in 2013 the ERA leader was Brian Flynn, who is a legitimate prospect. Acquired from the Tigers in the 2012 Anibal Sanchez trade, Flynn is a Wichita State product (seventh round, 2011) who has thrived in pro ball. Despite his intimidating size, his fastball is usually in the 89-93 range although he can get up to 94-95 when he reaches back for extra. The key to his success has been development of a solid changeup to go with his fastball and decent slider. He has a curveball too, and when his command is on he looks like a number three starter. Flynn got blasted when his command failed him during a four-start big league trial, but more chances will come. There’s always the bullpen as a backup option, but overall there are more things to like here than dislike. Grade B-.
Coming into 2014, it looked like Flynn was in line for a shot at the rotation, but he wound up back in AAA New Orleans where he stayed healthy and made his 25 turns through the rotation with 139.2 innings total. His rate stats all went the wrong direction with his ERA rising to 4.06 with a 4.62 FIP, and 1.57 WHIP. He struck out 104 (16.6%, down nearly 5%) with 50 walks (8.0%, up 1.5% from 2013), 13 home runs allowed, and a 2.08 K/BB ratio (down 1.34 points). He was victimized by a .345 BABIP and 68.7% strand rate which led to the opposition triple slashing .306/.366/.439 against him. Flynn induced a ground ball 43% of the time, which was just about league average, with a 1.18 GO/FO ratio and 27.5% fly ball rate.
A look into his splits really only shows one thing - an ability to shut down left handed hitters. He wasn't utterly dominant with an opposing triple slash of .264/.321/.345, but that's sparkling compared to how hard right handed hitters tagged him. Opposite handed hitters went off on him by hitting .320/.381/.471 with 10 of the 13 homers he allowed and 46 total extra base hits. Pitching in the offensively charged PCL didn't help his home/road splits either as he was just as ineffective at home (.310/.378/.449) as on the road (.302/.355/.431). Another way to look at his season is from the start of the year until the end of May where he posted a 2.99 ERA and .672 opponents OPS through 69.1 innings. From June 1 onward the opposition hit like MVP candidates, slashing .348/.407/.503 with a .402 BABIP and a brutal 5.47 ERA. This stretch included his two cameo's for the Marlins which lasted seven innings where he allowed 12 hits, seven runs, three walks and six strike outs.
Reports on his stuff remain the same with the exception of his command backing up on him. His heater remains a high 80's, low 90's offering with it ticking up to 95 mph. His slider remains the go-to breaking ball option in the low 80's along with a mid 70's curve and an average low 80's change up. Flynn's control wasn't as sharp either this past season. A regression in his BABIP is almost certain and he's still got the durability to be an innings eating back-end starter. A good Spring will go a long way for Flynn.
Photo courtesy of MiLB.com
The right handed pitching Reid Redman was drafted in the 23rd round of the 2012 draft by the Rays as a senior sign out of Texas Tech. He was drafted as as an infielder where he spent the 2012 season with the Princeton Rays and he posted a .700 OPS as a 23 year old, but was released the following May. Nine days later the Marlins signed him and decided to put him on the mound with his plus arm strength. Inserted into the short season A Batavia Muckdogs bullpen, he responded with a 1.91 ERA, 2.85 FIP, and 1.16 WHIP over 28.1 innings. He struck out 25 (21.7%) with nine walks (7.8%) and 24 hits allowed. Opponents hit .233/.298/.320 against him and he was only scored on in three of his 19 appearances.
The Marlins were comfortable jumping him two levels to High A Jupiter to begin the 2014 season and he once again mowed through the competition, garnering a Florida State League All-Star game nod. His dominance included a 2.22 ERA in 48.2 innings at Jupiter, striking out 58 (29.7%) with just nine walks (4.6%) and 42 hits allowed. Redman posted a 1.95 FIP, 1.05 WHIP, and a 6.44 K/BB ratio and worked around a .328 BABIP. He made a brief appearance at AA Jacksonville in early May and returned for good in mid August, throwing 13 innings for the Suns. Redman struck out 10 and walked three with a 1.38 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and 2.34 FIP in the short sample size. For the year, he limited the opposition to a .219/.261/.289 line which included a particularly impressive stretch in May where he allowed just four hits and no runs the entire month with a .275 opponents OPS. He struck out a total of 68 batters (27.7%) with 12 walks (4.9%) in 61.2 innings. Right handed hitters struggled with him, hitting just .179/.220/.216 with 37 K's and five walks in 141 plate appearances. Meanwhile, opposite handed hitters tagged him for the only homer he allowed all year and hit a "robust" .277/.317/.394 with a .385 BABIP.
Redman's bread and butter is his low 90's fastball, peaking at 95 mph during the season and 94 mph this Fall in the AFL. He also showed an 82-86 mph slider that's sharper the harder he throws it, and an 81-85 mph change up. He's only been pitching in earnest for two years as the last time he took the bump before the Marlins tried him there was 2007 as a senior at Midland Christian School in Midland, TX. The fastball-slider combo has proven to be pretty formidable the past two seasons with the development of his change up being the key to turning into a late inning option. Once that comes together and he can limit lefties like he does right handers, the Royals will really have something, and he'll more than likely be on the cusp of his physical peak. Redman was not in the 2014 or the 2013 editions of The Baseball Prospect Book.
I think this is a win for KC as Flynn could be a back end starter and Redman could blossom into a useful MLB piece as well. That's 11 years of service time of two promising arms for two years of an established reliever with issues. The Marlins pick up a decent bullpen arm with two more years of control and a reasonable salary in Aaron Crow. He's got pedigree as a two-time first round pick, but just about every rate stat took a big step back in 2014 and he posted a career worsts in FIP, SIERA, xFIP, and ERA-. Maybe the Marlins can work some voodoo on Crow and get him back to where he was, but even then, he's only going to be around for two years before he becomes a free agent. Good move GM DM.