The Texas Rangers let it be known entering the Winter Meetings that they were looking to add to their rotation, either through trade or free agency. They went the trade route, bringing in left handed pitcher Ross Detwiler from the Washington Nationals in exchange for a pair of prospects, infielder Chris Bostick and right handed pitcher Abel De Los Santos. This is the second time in a little over 12 months that Bostick has been dealt while De Los Santos just completed his first full season in his fifth year of pro ball. Here's a more in depth look on the newest Nationals prospects.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user JamesV34
Chris Bostick was a late round gem for the A's scouting department, drafting him in the 44th round of the 2011 draft out of Aquinas Institute in New Jersey. He didn't get 44th round money though, signing for $125,000 to forego his commitment to St. John's University. The 5'11, 195 pound second baseman blew the doors off the rookie level Arizona league after signing late and only getting into 14 games. He progressed to the short season New York-Penn League the following year and made his full season debut for Low A Beloit of the Midwest League in 2013. The 5'11, 185 pound right hander had a breakthrough season, hitting .282/.354/.452 with 14 home runs, 25 doubles, eight triples, and 25 stolen bases with 51 walks (%) to 122 strike outs (%), a 127 wRC+, a .368 wOBA, and .346 BABIP. At the age of 20, also drove in 89 and scored 75 runs. Bostick handled right handers better than lefties (.285/.354/.467 vs RHP and .275/.355/.413 vs LHP) and came up huge with two outs and a runner in scoring position, posting a 1.058 OPS in those situations. He hit line drives at a 19% clip, 3.9 points better than league average, and popped out to an infielder 2.1% less than league average. At second base he made 22 errors in 125 games for a .963 fielding percentage and 4.59 range factor which came in at 7th with at least 65 games played at second in the Midwest League.
Following the season, he was dealt alongside OF Michael Choice to the Texas Rangers in exchange for OF Craig Gentry and RHP Josh Lindblom. He spent the year with A+ Myrtle Beach of the Carolina League, hitting .251/.322/.412 over 556 plate appearances with 31 doubles, 11 homers, eight triples (for a total of 50 extra base hits), and 24 stolen bases with 47 walks (8.5%) to 116 punch outs (20.9%). That translated to a 106 wRC+, a .335 wOBA, and .304 BABIP while maintaining a similar .162 isolated power mark to the year before. He showed more power against right handers (.244/.310/.418), but was able to get on base more and make better contact against southpaws, hitting .276/.364/.390 against them. Bostick put a lot of balls in the air, 6.3% more than Carolina League average while coming in near league average in line drive rate and below average with ground balls. He made 19 errors in 122 games with a .968 fielding percentage and 4.64 range factor which was middle of the pack in the Carolina League.
At the plate, Bostick can show surprising pop for his size, putting up 50 extra base knocks last year in a pretty neutral hitting environment. Most of his power will be of the doubles variety but he's got a decent chance to break double digits in home runs. He's got a lot of swing and miss to his game though, something he needs to get under control. He doesn't walk much and his hit tool would grade out to average. The speed is a bit above average and will allow him to steal a decent amount of bases. In the infield, he's a second baseman, not a utility guy. The arm is below average and he occasionally has issues fielding the ball cleanly. If he can't crack it as a starter, he'll wind up as injury depth as he can't play on the left side of the infield, and may not profile well in left field.
2014 A+ stats
Abel De Los Santos
Photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt
An international free agent signing back in 2010, the Texas Rangers scooped Abel De Los Santos up out of the Dominican Republic, signing the then 17 year old and sending him to the Dominican Summer League. De Los Santos steadily climbed the organizational ladder one level at a time until the 2013 season which was a repeat affair at Spokane of the Northwest League. In his second run at Spokane, De Los Santos was moved into the bullpen and made 20 relief appearances spanning 41.1 innings with a 3.48 ERA, a 3.34 FIP, and 1.11 WHIP with a .284 BABIP and 75.5% strand rate. He struck out 48 (28.4%) while issuing 13 free passes (7.7%) with 33 hits, four home runs allowed, and an opponents triple slash of .219/.287/.377. Against right handed hitters, he limited them to a .211/.260/.378 line over 98 PA's with 33 strike out to just five walks while lefties hit .230/.324/.377 in 71 PA's with eight walks to 15 strike outs. His batted ball profile for the year shows serious fly ball tendencies with a 30.2% fly ball rate, 5.4% more than league average, and an incredible 15.1% infield fly rate which is more than twice as much as league average. He also posted a 0.92 GO:AO ratio.
For the 2014 season, De Los Santos dominated in Low A Hickory early with 10.2 innings of relief with a 1.69 ERA, a 2.84 FIP, a 0.75 WHIP, 12 strike outs to just one walk, and seven hits allowed. By early May he was promoted to A+ Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League where he finished out the year. In Myrtle Beach he made 33 more appearances covering 45.2 innings with a 1.97 ERA, a 2.93 FIP, and a 1.01 WHIP while striking out 53 (28%) with 17 walks (9%) and just 29 hits allowed. He benefited from a generous .248 BABIP and 78.6% strand rate and allowed Carolina League hitters to put up a .177/.273/.250 line against him with just nine extra base hits. For the entire season he toed the rubber for a total of 56.1 innings with a 1.92 ERA, a 2.91 FIP, and 0.96 WHIP, striking out 65 (28.3%) with 18 walks (7.8%). He was much better against opposite handed hitters, limiting lefties to a pitiful .173/.236/.198 line over 90 PA's with 36 punch out and just seven walks. Right handers were a bit better, hitting .180/.273/.311 over 140 plate appearances with 11 walks and 29 strike outs. He once again managed in insane infield fly rate at 12% with a 32.4% outfield fly ball rate, and a 0.77 GO:AO ratio.
I don't think there are any plans for Abel De Los Santos to move back into the rotation since he seems to have found a home in the bullpen. He's been light's out with a low 90's fastball and decent low 80's slider. He's got a loose arm, but is going all out in his delivery showing max effort. His stuff isn't overpowering and has been enough for A ball hitters, but unless his slider turns a corner and becomes a plus pitch, he looks like an up and down reliever that gets a lifetime pass on the AAA/MLB shuttle as the 25th man on the roster.
2014 Low A stats
2014 A+ stats
Adding depth to a pitching staff that was absolutely decimated by injuries was and is a priority for Rangers GM Jon Daniels. After ace Yu Darvish, who has question marks of his own, the Rangers only had Derek Holland (another injury prone starter), Colby Lewis (missed all of 2013), and either Nick Martinez or Nick Tepesch who are league average at best to round out their rotation. The addition of Detwiler allows the Rangers to add a second left hander to the staff with MLB and playoff experience who has yet to turn 30. The 6'5, 210 pound southpaw spent the 2013 season split between the Nationals and AAA Syracuse starting rotations and the entirety of the 2014 season in Washington's bullpen. I do like Bostick and think he can be a starting caliber second sacker despite the lack of hype and higher strike out rate than I'd prefer. To give him up for one year of Detwiler is a high price to pay, and I don't think I would have done the same in that position. My judgement goes to the Nationals as they add another quality, young middle infield prospect and some pitching depth for a guy they saw as a left handed reliever.