Another monster deal has been made with the Padres bringing in another big bat in Wil Myers with 10 other players switching uniforms in a three team deal that also involved the Rays and Nationals. With so many players changing hands, let's simplify and break down the deal.
- The San Diego Padres walk away with the crown jewel of the deal in Wil Myers, but they also added back-up C Ryan Hanigan, RHP Gerardo Reyes, and RHP Jose Castillo.
- Tampa Bay brought in the most players in the deal with C Rene Rivera, OF Steven Souza, 1B Jake Bauers, RHP Burch Smith, and LHP Travis Ott joining the Rays organization.
- Washington kicked in a few players in the deal and received RHP Joe Ross and a PTBNL that has already been named as SS Trea Turner, but he cannot be traded until one year after the day he signed his first pro contract.
With Myers, Hanigan and Rivera no longer prospects or rookies, we won't go in depth on them. The other eight players are a different story so let's get cracking on Tampa Bay's return in the trade before getting into San Diego and Washington's in Part Two.
Tampa Bay's Return -
Photo courtesy of Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Burch Smith was drafted three times before deciding to turn pro, twice out of Howard College in Texas and once after transferring to Oklahoma following his junior year. He was selected in the 14th round of the 2011 draft, signing for a quarter million dollar bonus. Fast forward to 2013 and Smith made his Major League debut for San Diego in May during the first of three call ups to the big leagues. He broke camp with AA San Antonio, making six starts spanning 31.1 innings with a 1.15 ERA, a 1.88 FIP, and a 0.73 WHIP with 37 strike outs (31.4%) to just six walks (5.1%). Smith allowed 17 hits and one home run with a .222 BABIP, a 72% strand rate, 49.3% ground ball rate, and a 1.67 GO:AO ratio. After his initial call up he was sent down to AAA Tucson then rode the shuttle between Tucson and San Diego for the rest of the year. At Tucson he made 12 more starts that covered 61 frames with a 3.39 ERA, a 3.18 FIP, and a 1.20 WHIP. He struck out 65 batters (26.3%) while surrendering 17 free passes (6.9%), 56 hits, and four home runs. He became much more fly ball oriented with a 0.69 GO:AO ratio and 35.4% fly ball rate (6.2% more than league avg) in AAA. During his three stints in the NL West, Smith made seven starts and three relief appearances, throwing 36.1 innings with a 6.44 ERA, a 5.47 FIP, and a 1.65 WHIP. In his short time he gave up nine home runs on 39 hits with a .330 BABIP and 71.7% strand rate. His batted ball profile with San Diego showed a huge spike in line drive rate at 32%, a solid 8.6 points more than league average along with a 31% fly ball rate and 0.53 GO:AO ratio. All told, he toed the rubber for a total of 128.2 innings while limiting the opposition to a .232/.299/.385 line with 148 punch outs to 44 walks. Right handed hitters struggled more against him, positing a .224/.283/.361 triple slash while left handers hit .241/.318/.414.
Smith only managed a pair of starts for the Padres new AAA affiliate in El Paso before a bout of forearm soreness shut him down for the remainder of the 2014 season. The 6'4, 215 pound right hander was nothing like himself, allowing five walks with three strike outs in just 5.1 innings, surrendering 13 hits and two home runs. Smith was able to make up for a bit of lost time by heading to the Arizona Fall League after the year, making nine relief appearances that covered 14.2 innings of work. He punched out nine with five walks, 13 hits, and one home run allowed. It was a performance good enough to be named to the Fall Stars roster and excellent for someone who hadn't pitched competitively in six months with some rust to shake off.
His quiver consists of a 90-95 mph fastball with natural cut to it but straightens out once he bumps it into the mid 90's, a good 78-82 mph change up, and a 74-79 mph curve that still needs refinement. He has a tendency to cast his breaking ball and he struggles to find his release point. The delivery is simple and he's able to repeat it well, working at a quick pace with some deception mixed in. He's always shown solid control (56 walks in 228.1 career innings), but the command is a different story as you can see from his brief stint with the Padres in 2013 where he was rocked. Anytime a pitcher is coming off an arm injury to his throwing arm, you would ideally want to wait to see if the stuff comes back to pre-injury form. Tampa is buying low on Smith, hoping he does return to full strength where he has the ceiling of a #4 starter. If there are concerns about workload, the Rays can always turn him into a reliever where his velocity has hit up to 98 mph and he can pair it with his above average change up that shows a 10-15 mph difference. I would personally try him in the rotation for as long as possible.
2014 AAA stats
Photo courtesy of Bryan Green
The Washington Nationals selected Travis Ott in the 25th round of the 2013 draft out of Shippensburg Area High School in Pennsylvania, signing for only $10,000. The lanky 6'4, 170 pound southpaw threw 29 innings after signing as a member of the rookie level Gulf Coast League affiliate. He posted a 4.03 ERA with a 3.80 FIP, a 1.24 WHIP, and he struck out 32 (25.6%) while handing out 12 walks (9.6%). Ott limited the opposition to a .224/.320/.308 line with a .293 BABIP, a 67.2% strand rate, and two home runs. The batted ball profile shows a fly ball pitcher with a 35.1% fly ball rate, an excellent 13% infield fly rate, and a 0.66 GO:AO ratio. Splits-wise, Ott had a reverse platoon split with right handers hitting just .207/.287/.256 in the small sample size of 94 plate appearances while left handers posted a .280/.419/.480 triple slash over just 31 PA's.
For the 2014 season, Ott was held back in extended spring training until the short season leagues kicked up, getting assigned to Auburn in the New York-Penn League. He made 10 starts there as a 19 year old, putting up a 3.03 ERA, a 3.98 FIP, and 1.24 WHIP over 44.1 innings of work. The Pennsylvania native struck out 37 (19.9%) with 22 walks (11.8%), 33 hits allowed, and two long balls. He limited NY-P League hitters to a .210/.310/.325 line with just a .252 BABIP and 75.7% strand rate. Weak contact was a theme in his batted ball profile with another excellent 13.7% infield fly rate to go with a 46.4% ground ball rate and a 1.24 GO:AO ratio. The Nationals front office felt he was ready for a promotion and sent him to Low A Hagerstown for his last three starts of the year. He threw 10.2 innings in those three contests with a rough 7.59 ERA, a 4.71 FIP, and 1.78 WHIP. He struck out eight with four walks and 15 hits allowed with one home run. A .359 BABIP and 48.4% strand rate didn't help with the SSS, but he was able to get his feet wet at a level where the league average player was nearly three year his elder. Over the entirety of his season he toed the bump for a total of 55 innings with a composite .240/.329/.360 line with 45 punch outs to 26 walks. Left handed hitters were only able to muster a .212/.306/.269 triple slash over 62 PA's and righties hit .250/.337/.392 against him.
For now, the lanky southpaw settles in around 90 mph with his fastball, topping out at 92-93 mph. He works off the heat and mixes a 74-77 mph curve ball and a mid 70's change up in as well. The hook looks like it could be an average pitch down the line while the change is a distant third offering. His frame is projectable at 6'4 and 170 pounds, and he could handle a good bit of additional weight. He's heading into his age 20 season and looks to break camp with Tampa's full season Low A affiliate after handling the NY-Penn League fairly easily. An interesting note about Ott via BPro's Jordan Gorosh, had he not been offered a contract by the Nationals in 2013, he had planned on attending a school with mid day infomercials to be a diesel engine technician since he did not receive any offers to play in college. If the velocity jumps as his frame fill outs, Ott could easily be a bullpen piece even with an average breaking ball. As it stands now, he's going to have to learn how to pitch to succeed with underwhelming stuff
2014 A- stats
2014 A stats
Photo courtesy of Brad Mills/USA Today Sports
The headliner of the Rays package was brought into the Nationals organization in 2007 as their 3rd round pick from Cascade High School in Washington state. The Nats were able to get Souza to sign on the dotted line for a $346K bonus to forego a commitment to attend Washington State. He was essentially a non-prospect that made headlines for the wrong reasons (like a 50 game PED suspension in 2010) until the 2012 season where he split the year between Low and High A ball. This also coincided with a move to the outfield after spending time at first base, third base, and short stop the previous five years. Coming into the 2013 season, he had to show the progress he made was real and not just an older player beating up on younger guys. Despite an oblique injury that stole nearly two months of the season from him, he posted a .300/.396/.557 line in AA Harrisburg over 323 plate appearances and 77 games. He knocked 15 out of the park with 23 doubles, 20 stolen bases, and 41 walks (12.7%) to 76 punch outs (23.5%). All of that was good for a 161 wRC+ and .421 wOBA with a .360 BABIP and .256 isolated power. He had a four game rehab stint with the GCL Nats mixed in and was also a mid-season All-Star. Souza was excellent against both left and right handed pitchers, tagging right handers with a .289/.397/.558 line that included 11 of his 15 bombs and 33 walks to 62 strike outs in 237 plate appearances. Against southpaws, he made 101 trips to the plate against them with a .314/.396/.523 triple slash to go with 11 walks to just 18 strike outs. He finished the year with a stint in the Arizona Fall League where he hit .357/.426/.476 in 11 games with a homer and 10 stolen bases in 47 PA's. He made just three errors all year with eight assists from right field in his second year playing the outfield.
Going into his age 25 season, Souza spent the majority of the year with AAA Syracuse, but he also made his Major League debut in April as a defensive replacement which was the first of four stints with the Nats. The 6'4, 225 pound right hander also made a few rehab appearances in August with Low A Hagerstown and A+ Potomac. In his time with Syracuse he was an absolute monster, terrorizing International League pitching staffs to the tune of a .350/.432/.590 triple slash that included 18 homers, 25 doubles, 26 stolen bases, and 52 free passes (12.8%) to 75 strike outs (18.4%). That's a 180 wRC+, a .448 wOBA, and .240 isolated power. Souza was hitting line drives at a 22% clip, 3 points more than league average, with a slightly elevated fly ball rate as well at 31%. The 20.9% home run per fly ball rate certainly helped and was the third year in a row he posted a HR/FB rate above 19%. Even though he had four different tours in the MLB this year, he only made 26 trips to the plate over 21 games, hitting two home runs with a .130/.231/.391 line in an absurdly small sample size. For the entire season, including rehab trips, AAA and MLB time, he hit .330/.407/.565 versus right handers over 332 PA's while tagging lefties to a .337/.442/.568 line across 113 PA's. He hit 14 of his 20 homers and 37 of 47 extra base hits off right handers while working 18 walks to 19 strike outs against southpaws. While patrolling the pastures, he gunned down four runners and made four errors at the minor league level and made one more error in his MLB stint. Most notably during that time however, was the defensive gem highlighted in the picture above where he saved Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter with a diving catch for the 27th out.
Souza brings four of the five tools to the table in his speed, power, arm, and fielding. Each grade out to at least above average, bordering on plus. The hit tool is the only one that doesn't jump out and it comes in around average though some are even hesitant to say that due to a somewhat high strike out rate and a swing geared for putting the ball in the stands. He's got plus power for sure and his wheels are plus too. Defensively, he could handle center in a pinch, but he is a right fielder through and through with an excellent arm and good range. The term "late bloomer" would be appropriate in any summary of Souza as he didn't really hit his stride until his age 24 season. The positive to this is that his team will have control of him until after his physical peak since his first crack at free agency isn't until 2021, his age 32 season. I think people are sleeping on him somewhat and believe he could be a difference maker. I'm not saying he's going to be an All-Star and have a Hall of Fame career, but multiple 20/20 seasons with averages around .275 is a very valuable guy to have on your roster. I see that as his peak with a floor of a 4th outfielder. He's penciled in as Tampa's starting right fielder and it's his job to lose at this point as he replaces Myers.
2014 MiLB (A, A+, AAA) stats
2014 MLB stats
Photo courtesy of Emily Jones
San Diego took Jake Bauers with their 7th round pick in the 2013 draft out of Marina High School in California, signing for $240K to forego his commitment to play at the University of Hawaii. One of the youngest 2013 draftees, Bauers was dispatched to the rookie level Arizona League after the draft where he hit .282/.341/.374 over 188 plate appearances as a 17 year old. He hit eight doubles and a homer with 14 walks (7.4%) to 31 strike outs (16.5%) for a 102 wRC+, a .339 wOBA, and a .331 BABIP. Generously listed a 6'1 and 195 pounds, the sweet swinging lefty hit .322/.375/.438 against right handed pitchers over 137 trips to the dish while getting worked by southpaws. He only went up to bat 51 times against lefties, so short sample size and all, but he hit just .167/.245/.190 against them. The batted ball profile says he put the ball on the ground just 42.3% of the time, nearly 5% less than the AZL average. On defense he made five errors in 43 games with a .987 fielding percentage.
The Padres front office challenged Bauers with an aggressive promotion to Low A Fort Wayne for his age 18 season in 2014. He debuted at the end of April and spent the entire year there, hitting .296/.376/.414 over 467 plate appearances with 18 doubles, eight bombs, and 51 walks (10.9%) to 80 strike outs (17.1%). In the Midwest League that came out to a 128 wRC+, a .364 wOBA, and he benefited from a .347 BABIP. Not only did he drive in 64, but he also stole five bags and scored 59 runs. His fly ball rate dropped closer to average at 29.8%, but he made huge gains in his line drive rate, bumping from 11.7% in 2013 to 21.4% in his full season debut, 5.6% better than league average. In a larger sample against lefties of 124 PA's, Bauers hit .300/.423/.490 with five of his eight home runs and 19 walks to just 15 strike outs. Against right handed pitchers he made 343 trips with a .294/.359/.389 triple slash. I think its also worth noting due to his age that he came out guns blazing, hitting an incredible .354/.429/.523 through the end of June before fading down the stretch and hitting .242/.325/.313 from July 1st on. It's very possible the rigors of the 18 year old's first full professional season wore him down by the end despite getting a late start. In the field he committed 12 errors in 103 games for a .987 fielding percentage.
Over the past year, Bauers showed the hype around his bat when he was drafted to be legitimate. Hitting nearly .300 in the Midwest League as an 18 year old is no easy feat, The power isn't there yet but he did hit 29 extra base hits which was about a quarter of his overall hit total. He does this with a compact stroke that's geared for line drives. He also showed a discerning eye and was willing to take pitches and wait for a mistake. The lack of speed really limits him to first base, but he's got a hell of a glove there and a decent arm. [insert obligatory Daric Barton comp here] Even though he's got a long journey ahead of him, he's one to keep an eye on with his pure hitting ability and potential for some power. Best case scenario is him developing some pop and turning into a .300 hitter with 20 or so bombs to go with 35-40 doubles, and Gold Glove defense. More than likely he's a .280-.290 guy with 10-15 homers and that same excellent D. Tampa should have him handle the cold corner at A+ Charlotte in the Florida State League with 2014 1st round pick Casey Gillaspie right on his heels.
2014 A stats