Last night, the San Francisco Giants completed a deal with the Cincinnati Reds, sending Keury Mella and Adam Duvall in exchange for starter Mike Leake. Let's take a look at the prospects involved in this trade.
In the preseason top 150, John Sickels rated the 6'2, 200-pound right hander as the 104th best prospect in the minors. Mella was recently rated by MLB as the Giants' top prospect despite not being ranked in their top 100. He was signed by the Giants for $275,000 as an 18 year old, two years after he went on the market. In his first two years, he performed reasonably well in Rookie ball. He was noticed, but many wanted to see what he could do outside of Rookie ball. Sickels called him a sleeper prospect.
In 2014, Mella kept on rising through the system and jumped up on prospect lists, earning a strong B from John. MLB.com also noted that he had one of the highest ceilings in the Giants system, although that's not saying much. He did have a torn rotator cuff scare, which prompted many to look at him with caution.
In 2015, Mella was assigned to the extremely hitter-friendly California League, and he has held his own, with a 3.31 ERA and 83/26 K/BB in 82 innings, allowing just 66 hits. If all goes well, he can be projected as a solid number three starter, or possibly a number two. He features a fastball that can hit the mid-90s and both his curveball and change-up can be plus pitches.
Drafted as a senior in the 11th round by the Giants, Duvall signed for 2,500 dollars. He was a shortstop and second baseman in college, but at 6'1" was too big for those positions in pro ball and was moved to third base. But even at third base, he does not seem quick enough, and has throwing issues to boot. He has been moved to first base and that is where he profiles for the future.
He has a very stiff swing, as noted by Sickels in the Baseball Prospect Book 2015. Despite this, he has hit well at every stop in the minors and has had double-digit homers in every full season he has played, including 26 already in 2015. He strikes out a lot, but if he can hit even .240, he should be a bench player in the majors as long as he maintains his power. Ironically, his first major league home run was against Mike Leake.
I feel this is a pretty fair trade, as the Giants needed a starter and the Reds supplied, although the Giants did give up a good prospect in Keury Mella. I like Mella more then some, and feel they shouldn't have traded him for a half-season rental. Both sides should be satisfied, although-again-the Giants might regret this trade in a few years.