Last night the Boston Red Sox traded four prospects to the San Diego Padres for veteran closer Craig Kimbrel. Here's a quick take on the newest quartet of talent joining the San Diego farm system.
Logan Allen, LHP: Allen was drafted by the Red Sox this past June out of IMG Academy in Florida as an eighth-round choice, though he was rumored to go as high as the third round at one point. He is a 6-3, 200 pound left-hander with a low-90s fastball. Both his curveball and change-up have a chance to be quality major league pitches, giving him mid-rotation projection if everything works out.
Allen is just 18 years old but was very successful in his pro debut, posting a spectacular 24/1 K/BB ratio in 20 innings for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox with a 0.90 ERA. The GCL is a long way from the majors of course but his debut could not have gone any better, with superior control standing out as a huge positive.
Carlos Asuaje, INF: Asuaje was an 11th round pick in 2013 from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. He had an excellent 2014 season in A-ball (.310/.393/.533) but was unable to duplicate it in Double-A this year, hitting .251/.334/.374 for Portland in the Eastern League. He did post a solid 56/88 BB/K ratio and has shown defensive versatility at second base, third base, and the outfield.
Age 24, Asuaje is a left-handed hitter. He's not a big guy at 5-9 but he controls the zone well and has some pop in his bat, more than he showed this year even if the 2014 numbers were overstated. His tools are average in most respects but he is a useful organization player with a chance to help on a big league bench in a year or two.
Javier Guerra, INF: Signed by the Red Sox out of Panama in 2012, Guerra had a breakthrough 2015 season hitting .279/.329/.449 with 15 homers in 434 at-bats for Greenville in the Low-A South Atlantic League. His strike zone judgment is rather shaky (30/112 BB/K) but he showed much more power than anticipated and has a chance to keep that going at higher levels if contact doesn't get away from him. His glove is excellent: range, hands, arm strength are all above-average or better.
Just 20 years old, the right-handed hitter is still raw offensively but his upside is intriguing. He'll stick at shortstop and could provide more offense than typical for the position, though he's likely two or three years away.
Manuel Margot, OF: Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, Margot has the largest file of press clippings in the quartet, drawing frequent praise the last two seasons for his speed, defense, and power potential. His actual performance has been decent enough, if perhaps not quite as good as his reputation. This year he hit .276/.324/.419 between High-A and Double-A, combining for six homers, 39 steals, 32 walks, and 51 strikeouts in 439 at-bats.
Age 21, Margot is a balanced prospect with multiple tools and steadily refining skills. It is still uncertain how much power he'll develop and there's some risk he could be a tweener if the power doesn't come and if his speed declines with age. At worst he'll be a good fourth outfielder, but if his bat continues to progress he can be an above-average regular contributing in multiple categories, notably speed and defense.
SUMMARY: Overall, I think the Padres did well with this package. I'm high on Allen, Asuaje is a nice asset, and both Guerra and Margot can develop into major league regulars. That's a solid return for a guy who wouldn't be in the long-term plan. As for the Red Sox, Kimbrel obviously helps them in the short run and the farm system is deep enough to part with these four without it being a massive blow. This seems like a good move for both teams.