The first big trade of deadline season has just been completed. The Oakland A’s will send left-handed starting pitcher Scott Kazmir to the surprisingly-relevant Astros. In return, the Athletics will acquire Jacob Nottingham, Houston’s 6th round pick in 2013 and Daniel Mengden, the ’Stros 4th round selection one year ago.
A Redlands California native, Jacob Nottingham just missed John’s pre-season top organizational 20, but was noted as guy you could slide in anywhere after 16 depending on preferences. I really like Jacob’s offensive profile. He is very strong, physically mature, and has a nice-looking swing that could translate to success at the big league level.
One negative I noticed from the tape is the 20-year-old’s tendency to lunge out in front of breaking pitches. This hasn’t seemed to have affected the youngster negatively yet (he was hitting for a 162 wRC+ in the High-A California League before the trade), but it is definitely something he needs to work on. With a 61/14 K/HR ratio in 76 games, the right-handed backstop certainly fits the profile of a slugger.
Defensively, Nottingham has the athleticism to stick at the position long term. His arm is plenty good enough and the tools of there, so it is just a matter of development in that area. He’s at least two years away from the big leagues. Age is on his side, though; this is a very nice grab for the Athletics.
The other prospect Oakland snatched up in the Kazmir deal is Daniel Mengden, a 22-year-old starting pitcher out of Texas A&M. He stands at 6-2, 190 pounds, so maybe he has a bit more projection left in him. If not though, Mengden’s stuff is already plenty good enough. His fastball can reach the mid-90s, but more frequently sits at 91-92. His slider is his best off-speed pitch. He also throws a developing curveball and change-up.
Mengden’s delivery is a little funky; he places his glove above heads, makes a half-turn towards second base, unveils a quick leg kick before pausing and then hastily approaching the hitter. The delivery does not seem to be too high-effort and hard to repeat, though. And his herky-jerky pace allows the Texan to get great extension towards home plate and maximize his height. Daniel’s strong command makes all his pitches plays up and gives him the potential to be a No. 3 or No. 4 starter. His floor is a middle-reliever, innings eater type.
Right now, this trade looks like a win-win on both sides. The Athletics got very good value in return for a half season of Kazmir. Nottingham is the headliner, but Mengden is not a bad piece at all. Through this deal, the Astros put themselves into a position to contend. Trades like these are what the deadline is all about.