After going through the first part of the Wil Myers trade where we concentrated on who the Rays received in the deal, its time to see what's going on with the other prospects involved in the deal heading to both San Diego and Washington.
- To recap the trade one more time, Tampa Bay brought in C Rene Rivera (from SD), OF Steven Souza (WAS), 1B Jake Bauers (SD), RHP Burch Smith (SD), and LHP Travis Ott (WAS).
- San Diego acquired OF Wil Myers (from TB), C Ryan Hanigan (TB), RHP Gerardo Reyes (TB), and RHP Jose Castillo (TB).
- The Nationals added RHP Joe Ross (from SD) and SS Trea Turner (SD).
With Myers and Hanigan being established major league players at this point, lets get a more in-depth look at the four minor league players heading to San Diego and Washington.
San Diego's Haul -
Photo courtesy of Raul Romero
Tampa shelled out a pretty penny to secure Jose Castillo's services, dropping $1.55M on Castillo's signing bonus in 2012. That was the second largest bonus given out that year to a pitcher (LHP Julio Urias received $1.8M) and is still the most ever for a left handed pitcher out of Venezuela.
The 6'4, 200 pound lefty made his professional and stateside debut in 2013 for the Rays' rookie level Gulf Coast League affiliate with 30.2 innings of work while being subject to a three inning limit in each of his 12 appearances. He posted a 5.87 ERA, a 3.13 FIP, and 1.37 WHIP as a 17 year old with 25 punch outs (19.1%), eight free passes (6.1%), 34 hits, and one home run allowed. A brutal .344 BABIP and 52.9% strand rate elevated his ERA with opposing GCL hitter managing a .288/.333/.398 line against him. His batted ball profile shows ground ball tendencies with 50.5% of balls being put on the ground and a 1.86 GO:AO ratio. Due to the insanely short sample size of 26 plate appearances, his numbers against left handed hitters won't tell us much, but right handed hitters did post a .316/.356/.442 triple slash on him over 105 PA's.
Castillo went back to the GCL Rays for the 2014 season, but made just three appearances in August due to a forearm/wrist injury to his pitching arm. He tallied a grand total of 4.2 innings on the year with a pair of walks, four strike outs, and three hits allowed with two runs crossing the plate. There is really nothing to be gleaned from his 2014 season as it was essentially wiped out by injury. All reports say he is fully recovered and will be ready to go for the upcoming season.
His arsenal starts with an above average 90-93 mph fastball that can bump into the mid 90's with a loose arm and easy release. A slurvy inconsistent breaking ball and hard, mid 80's change up round out his repertoire. Both offspeed pitches could become average a few years down the line with both showing signs of improvement since signing. The curve occasionally shows some good, hard break, but he needs more reps to refine it to where he gets that crisp break more often. He doesn't have the velocity separation you look for with a change up just yet, but it does dance a little and should improve with age and experience. With his 6'4 frame, he has issues repeating his delivery and opening his front side too early, but that is something more experience will help fix as he gets used to his motion. These things negatively affect his command and his control grades out to about average right now.
As long as everything progresses normally (like that ever happens), Castillo could wind up working with a plus fastball and two average offspeed offerings with above average control. That would put him with a #3 ceiling, possibly more if the hook or change improves. With him being so far from making a contribution to the Major League squad, its hard to say if he will ever get to that projection or if he winds up being another international bonus baby that flamed out in the upper minors.
2014 GCL stats
Photo courtesy of Bryan Green
An undrafted free agent, Gerardo Reyes hooked on with the Rays and signed for $15,000 in mid June after pitching at Galveston Junior College in Texas.A native of Mexico, he was sent to short season Hudson Valley of the New York-Penn League where he threw out of their bullpen, making 20 relief appearances including three saves that spanned 33 innings. The 5'11, 180 pound right hander posted a 4.09 ERA, a 3.14 FIP, and 1.24 WHIP with just nine walks (6.5%), 39 strike outs (28.3%), 32 hits and two home runs allowed. An elevated .361 BABIP and a 69.4% strand rate were part of the reason for the discrepancy between his ERA and FIP. He posted a 61.2% ground ball rate and 2.12 GO:AO ratio in his age 21 season with line drive and fly ball rates well below league average. New York-Penn League hitters only managed a .258/.333/.379 line off him. Right handed hitters in particular only managed to put up a .238/.333/.365 triple slash over 72 plate appearances with six walks and 20 punch outs. Lefties were a bit better with a .279/.333/.393 line in 66 PA's and just three walks to 19 strike outs.
He features some mid 90's heat and a developing slide piece while coming from a side-arm/super low 3/4 arm slot. The low arm slot benefits his breaking ball by adding extra deception to the pitch. He showed good control this year in both his pro debut and prior to signing, but he's only working with two pitches, and that leaves him with a relief future.
If his slider continues to develop with pro instruction to the point it's an average pitch and he maintains the same velocity, he could wind up with more than just a situational ground ball specialist. There's not much projection left with Reyes, but he could move fast with his profile. Depending on his Spring performance, he could start the 2015 season in either Low A Fort Wayne or A+ Lake Elsinore.
2014 A- stats
Washington's Return -
Photo courtesy of Dirk Hansen
San Diego nabbed Joe Ross, younger brother of current Padres starter Tyson Ross, with the 25th pick of the 1st round in 2011 from Bishop O'Dowd High School in California. He signed for $2.75M and spurned a commitment to pitch at UCLA. The 6'4, 205 pound right hander only made one rookie league appearance the year he signed and spent the following year debuting at Low A Fort Wayne. He dealt with a bout of shoulder tendinitis that held him out for three months before making a rehab start in the AZL and eight starts at short season Eugene to finish the year.
He made a return trip to Fort Wayne in 2013 for his age 20 season and stayed healthy the entire year, making 23 starts that spanned 122.1 innings with a 3.75 ERA, a 3.89 FIP, and a 1.34 WHIP. He issued 40 free passes (7.6%) with 79 strike outs (15.1%), 124 hits, seven home runs allowed, and a .298 BABIP with a 71.6% strand rate. He pitched to contact with the ball put in play 77.3% of the time, a 47.5% ground ball rate, and a 1.36 GO:AO ratio. Midwest League hitters only hit .267/.328/.370 with 31 extra base knocks, but righties only managed a .258/.318/.338 line over 272 plate appearances. Left handed hitters put up a .276/.337/.404 triple slash with five of the seven home runs allowed and 21 walks to 32 strike outs.
2014 saw Ross open the season with A+ Lake Elsinore in the California League. There may not be a pitcher alive who looks forward to that assignment. He stepped his game up from the year before, lowering his walk rate, H/9, and FIP while upping his strike out rate and ground ball rate. Over 19 starts he threw 101.2 innings of 3.98 ERA ball with a 3.83 FIP, a 1.27 WHIP, just 28 walks (6.4%) to 87 strike outs (20%), and a .308 BABIP to go with a 65.8% strand rate. He induced a ground ball 49.7% of the time with a 1.63 GO:AO ratio, and a line drive rate of just 12.7%. California League hitters only managed to hit .256/.315/.393 off Ross with six home runs allowed. The Padres front office promoted him to AA San Antonio at the end of July and he made four more starts to end the year. In San Antonio he threw 20 more innings with a 3.60 ERA, a 2.67 FIP, and 1.20 WHIP with an excellent 19 strike outs (22.6%) to only one walk (1.2%), 23 hits, and two home runs allowed. Over the course of the entire 2014 season, Ross threw 121.2 innings with 106 strike outs to 29 walks. Both left and right handed hitters had a .260 batting average against him with righties showing a bit more power and getting on base a hair more often (.260/.311/.404 vs RHP, .260/.309/.385 vs LHP). He also showed a pretty distinct home/road split which is to be expected when accounting for Lake Elsinore being the second best park in the league for pitching. At home he posted a 2.86 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP, and struck out 66 to 16 walks in 66 innings while limiting hitters to a .230/.278/.329 triple slash. Out on the road he was tagged for a .293/.346/.471 line and 5.17 ERA, to go with a 1.42 WHIP and 40 punch outs to 13 walks.
It all starts with some mid 90's cheese with tailing action in the lower registers for Ross. He matches that with an above average slider that clocks in around 84-86 mph with good tilt on it. His change up is similarly in the 83-85 mph range and is another above average pitch that features good fade and he can use for a chase pitch. He's shown the confidence to throw any pitch in any count and shows enough marbles to go after and challenge hitters with the heat above the hands. Ross is a top shelf athlete with a nice, repeatable delivery, good command. and more polish than you'd expect from a 21 year old. His command took a huge step forward and he adjusted his approach to his surroundings, becoming more of a ground ball pitcher.
Moving to the Nationals system, he'll be heading to Harrisburg of the Eastern League instead of the Texas League for AA next year. Long term, he look like a mid-rotation starter similar to his brother, just a smaller version. You can dream that the offspeed pitches both morph into plus pitches to go with his plus fastball and average command and he maxes out as a #2, but more than likely he winds up as a #3 or #4 starter. Either way it looks like a good return for the Nationals as he could be a top 5 player in either organization.
2014 A+ stats
2014 AA stats
Photo courtesy of Jeff Nycz
This is where the deal gets slightly complicated as Trea Turner is technically a "Player To Be Named Later" since the MLB has rules set in place where a player cannot be traded until he's been a professional for one calendar year. For Turner, the date when he becomes a National is June 13th. He was the 13th overall selction in this past year's draft by the Padres, signing for $2.9M out of North Carolina State. The 6'1, 175 pound Florida native was assigned to short season Eugene in the Northwest League where he actually stumbled out of the gates, hitting just .228/.324/.283 over 105 plate appearances. He showed a decent eye working 11 walks (10.5%) to 19 strike outs (18.1%) while hitting two doubles and a home run with nine stolen bases, an 80 wRC+, and .301 wOBA. He made one error in 14 games and 79 chances for a .987 fielding percentage. By mid-July he was promoted to Low A Fort Wayne and took the Midwest League by storm. In 216 plate appearances he absolutely tore apart the competition with a .369/.447/.529 triple slash with 14 doubles, four homers, 14 stolen bases, 24 walks (11.1%) to 48 strike outs (22.2%), and an incredible 180 wRC+, a .443 wOBA, and .160 isolated power. There's no doubt he was buoyed by a remarkably high .478 BABIP though. His batted ball profile in Low A showed him putting the ball on the ground 45.4% of the time, 1.6% more than league average while hitting line drives at a 22.7% clip, which is 6.9% higher than league average. At short stop he made three errors in 36 games and 169 chances for a .982 fielding percentage and a 4.61 range factor. At the end of the year, the Padres front office felt comfortable enough with Turner to send him to the Arizona Fall League.
For the entire year, he stepped to the dish 321 times with a .323/.406/.448 triple slash, 16 doubles, five homers, 23 steals, 35 walks (10.9%) and 67 punch outs (20.9%). That came out to a 145 wRC+, a .395 wOBA, and .421 BABIP. Against same handed pitchers, Turner hit .309/.398/.415 over 250 PA's with 27 walks and 49 strike outs. In 71 plate appearances against southpaws, he posted a monstrous .371/.437/.565 triple slash with eight walks and 18 strike outs.
Turner's calling card is his double plus speed that plays on the bases and in the field. The wheels allow him to reach balls up the middle other short stops can't get to, be a lightning rod on the base paths, and he can use it to leg out infield hits and add extra bases. He's got an average hit tool and below average power with decent plate discipline, setting himself up to be a top of the order threat. His arm and glove both rate out to above average as he showed good instincts at the position with good hands and the aforementioned excellent range. At his prime, Turner could be a true lead off hitter with good averages, on base percentage, and plenty of steals to go along with league average defense.
Heading into his age 22 season, Turner is on the fast track and looks to be the heir apparent to Ian Desmond if the Nats can't work out a long term deal with him. I could see the Nationals being aggressive with Turner, maybe even sending him out to AA Harrisburg to start the season. More than likely though, he's probably going to hold down the fort with A+ Potomac to kick off the year with a mid-season promotion. Wilmer Difo looks like the only internal competition for Turner, but he looks to move over to second base at some point in his development.
2014 A- stats
2014 A stats
Now that we've gone over all eight prospects involved, its time to take a quick look at the three MLB players. The headliner of the entire deal was right fielder Wil Myers, now of the San Diego Padres. Originally drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 3rd round of the 2009 draft, he was a main cog in the James Shields trade that went down in December 2012. Myers took home American League Rookie of the Year honors in 2013 with the Tampa Bay Rays despite playing in only 88 games, hitting .293/.354/.478 with 23 doubles, 13 homers, a 131 OPS+ and wRC+, a .357 wOBA, and was worth 2.4 fWAR. This was after posting a .286/.356/.520 line in 64 games at AAA Durham with 14 home runs, 13 doubles, a 142 wRC+, and .387 wOBA.
2014 was essentially a lost season for Myers as he dealt with a wrist injury from early June until the back end of August. He got off to a slow start, hitting just .227/.313/.354 through the first two months of the season covering 224 trips to the plate for a 95 wRC+ and .300 wOBA. A collision with fellow outfielder Desmond Jennings resulted in a stress fracture in his right wrist in the last game of May and he was placed on the DL a few days later. After returning, he just wasn't the same with a measly .213/.263/.268 line with just one homer and four doubles in 137 plate appearances. Roaming the pastures of right field, he offers near league average defense according to a 2.5 UZR/150 but DRS (defensive runs saved) doesn't quite agree saying he cost Tampa seven runs last year. Despite the lost season, Myers is still a premium talent and can anchor a line up. He's entering his second pre-arbitration season where he's making the league minimum, and isn't eligible for free agency until the 2020 season. He'll get expensive soon but has the potential to be a top 10 outfielder.
Catcher Ryan Hanigan made his MLB debut back in 2007 with the Cincinnati Reds during his age 26 season. A career part-time player, he's hit .256/.353/.341 in his six years as a pro. After the 2013 season, he was involved in another three team trade between the Reds, Diamondbacks, and Rays, ending up in Tampa Bay along with Heath Bell. This past year he put up a .218/.318/.324 line over 263 PA's with nine doubles, five bombs, and 31 walks to 39 strike outs with an 86 OPS+, a 92 wRC+, and .295 wOBA. The majority of his time was spent facing right handed pitchers, hitting .239/.330/.324 and he was worth 1.2 fWAR. Defensively he posted a 2 DRS while throwing out 21% of runners, making one error and allowing one passed ball. He will be entering his age 34 season and is slated to earn $3.5M in 2015, $3.7M in 2016, and has a $3.75M team option for 2017. Not long after San Diego acquired Hanigan, he was flipped to Boston in exchange for 3B Will Middlebrooks. He's a cost controlled back up that's entering the twilight of his career. As long as he continues to be solid behind the plate and gets on base with a half decent average, he's good to go.
The other catcher here, Rene Rivera, received significant playing time for the first time in his three plus years of service time. The 31 year old Puerto Rican native was a 2nd round pick in 2001 for the Mariners and has bounced around to the Dodgers, Mets, Yankees and Twins organizations before landing in San Diego for the 2013 season. Last year he made 329 trips to the dish with a .252/.319/.432 line that included 18 doubles, 11 homers, and 27 walks to 76 strike outs. For the catching position that gave him a 117 OPS+, 114 wRC+, and a .329 wOBA. Due to some excellent fielding ratings like 10 DRS, and a 36% caught stealing rate, he rated out at an even 3.0 fWAR. He's going to be 31 years old for the 2015 season and is entering his first year of arbitration with MLBTR having him pegged for a raise to $1.3M next year, with free agency slated for 2018. His power blossomed with solid defense behind the plate and good framing skills according to StatCorner. It'd be interesting to see what would happen if he were to be given 500 PA's in a full season, and we may get to see that next year with Rivera looking like the starting catcher in Tampa.
Now to make a decision on winners and losers. I really love what Washington did here, taking a blocked player in Steven Souza and a low level starter seen as a throw in with Travis Ott, and turned them into a future short stop in Trea Turner and potential mid-rotation starter in Joe Ross. Souza could be a 20 HR/20 SB player, but the return outweighs that quite a bit.
Tampa Bay bought high on Souza's impressive International League performance, but looks like a late bloomer Rene Rivera is now their starting catcher with some offensive potential, and they restocked the farm with Burch Smith, Jake Bauers, and Travis Ott. Surrendering Myers hurts, but their front office believes Souza can replicate what they thought they could get out of Myers. Hanigan was replaced by up and comer Curt Casali as back-up, and the Gerardo Reyes doesn't look like more than org depth. Castillo has a lot of projection left though and cost Tampa quite a bit to sign. The Rays could have waited on Myers a bit longer to get a bigger haul, but what's done is done
The Padres needed impact bats and Myers qualifies there, with Castillo having some intriguing upside in a future lottery ticket. Flipping Hanigan for Middlebrooks gives them another power bat and someone to challenge Yangervis Solarte at third since Hanigan was a superfluous piece with Tim Federowicz on the roster. I think they gave up entirely too much to do so though. Turner is a future lead off hitting short stop, Ross is a future #3 or #4, Smith is a back end guy or late inning bullpen piece, Rivera could wind up being an impressive offensive catcher, Bauers can rake and may eventually add power to his game, and Castillo is a hell of a lottery ticket.