Yesterday the New York Mets traded first baseman Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates for right-handed pitching prospect Zack Thornton and a player to be named. Here is the scoop on Thornton.
Zack Thornton, RHP: Thornton was originally drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 23rd round in 2010, from the University of Oregon. He was an effective starting pitcher in college (3.40 ERA, 73/16 K/BB in 90 innings that spring) but wasn't considered a premium prospect due to mediocre velocity.
The Athletics moved him to the bullpen and he was reasonably effective in A-ball, posting a 2.39 ERA with an 82/22 K/BB in 82 innings in 2011 and a 4.53 ERA with 16 saves and a 70/19 K/BB in 53 innings in '12. He was traded to the Pirates for Chris Resop and had a solid campaign in '13, pitching at three levels for a 2.63 ERA and a 90/12 K/BB in 75 innings with a 2.28 GO/AO.
Thornton is a 6-3, 220 pound right-handed hitter and thrower, born May 19, 1988. As you can see, his performance record is actually quite good, with a high strikeout rate, low walk rate, and lots of ground balls on his resume. His fastball isn't especially fast in the upper-80s, low-90s range, but he uses a deceptive low three-quarters arm angle and keeps it low. His slider and changeup don't draw raves but he's doing something right, particularly against right-handed hitters. He's not going to close games but has a shot at being a useful bullpen asset. He's a Grade C prospect but that doesn't mean he has no value.
We don't know who the PTBNL is of course and the trade can't be fairly assessed until we know who it is.