The Arizona Diamondbacks traded veteran relief pitcher Addison Reed to the New York Mets this past weekend. In exchange, Arizona receives a pair of right-handed minor league prospects: Miller Diaz and Matt Koch. Here's a quick take on the two newest members of the Diamondbacks farm system.
Miller Diaz, RHP: Signed by the Mets out of Venezuela in 2009, Diaz had solid seasons in 2013 (2.03 ERA,87/33 K/BB in 67 innings in the New York-Penn League) and 2014 (2.25, 79/27 in 68 innings) in Low-A but needed to show he could hold up under a full workload. He's done that in 2015, pitching 124 innings with High-A St. Lucie, albeit with less impressive overall results (4.71, 98/60 K/BB).
Diaz is listed at 6-1, 210, born June 22, 1992. His fastball varies from report to report, ranging from 92-93 MPH to as high as 98 according to some sources. His secondary pitches are inconsistent: both his slider and change-up have drawn very positive reviews at times but his command is wobbly and he hasn't yet learned to pitch effectively on days when he is without his best stuff. When everything works he looks like a plausible major league starting pitcher but he might find more consistency in the bullpen.
Matt Koch, RHP: The Mets drafted Koch in the third round in 2012 from the University of Louisville. The native of Storm Lake, Iowa, was used as a starting pitcher in 2014 (4.64 ERA, 63/32 K/BB in 120 innings) but has been primarily a reliever this year in Double-A. With Binghamton he's made eight starts and 27 relief appearances, posting a 3.46 ERA, 55/15 K/BB in 88 innings with 96 hits allowed.
Koch is listed at 6-3, 205, born November 2nd, 1990. As a starter his fastball is in the 89-92 range, but in the bullpen he can hit 93-95. He has three secondary pitches: slider, curveball, change-up. None of them are plus pitches, but he usually throws strikes. Although Koch has a diverse arsenal and it is tempting to use him as a starter, he holds his velocity better and his secondaries have more crispness when he is used in the bullpen.
Although Reed lost his job as the Arizona closer, he has been more effective the last few weeks and offers experience for the Mets bullpen down the stretch. Exchanging him for a pair of Grade C+ types makes sense for both teams; Diaz and Koch aren't ready to help the Mets but have more long-term utility for the rebuilding Diamondbacks than Reed does.