Closing out the 2016 MLB Winter Meetings, the Texas Rangers traded right-handed pitcher Luke Jackson to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for right-handed pitcher Tyrell Jenkins and left-hander Brady Feigl. Feigl is still a prospect and while both Jackson and Jenkins have exceeded major league service time requirements, neither can be considered as established talents. Let's take a look at the trio.
Brady Feigl, LHP: The Braves signed Feigl as an undrafted free agent in 2013 following an injury-plagued college career at Mount St. Mary's. He had a very strong 2014 season (3.02 ERA in 65 innings in A-ball, 60/13 K/BB) but missed all of 2015 and almost all of 2016 following Tommy John surgery. He threw six shutout innings in rookie ball in 2016 and is expected to be fully healthy for '17.
Feigl is a 6-4, 195 pound lefty age 25. He features an 89-93 MPH fastball along with a curveball and change-up and he showed good control before the injury. He projects as a useful bullpen part once he gets his stamina built back.
Luke Jackson, RHP: The Rangers drafted Jackson in the compensation round in 2010 from high school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He reached the majors for the first time in 2015 and has spent the last two years bouncing between the high minors and the Rangers roster but has yet to establish himself in a clear role. In 2016 he posted a 3.69 ERA in 46 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, fanning 59 but walking 32. In the majors he has an ugly 8.50 ERA in 18 innings over two seasons with a 9/10 K/BB.
Jackson is listed at 6-2, 210, age 25. He has no shortage of velocity, topping out at 98 MPH and working at 95, while showing a plus curveball, but he has been unable to locate his pitches effectively and major league hitters have easily taken advantage of his spotty control.
Tyrell Jenkins, RHP: Jenkins was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the compensation round in 2010 from high school in Henderson, Texas. Traded to the Braves in the 2014 Jason Heyward deal, Jenkins split 2016 between Triple-A Gwinnett (2.47 in 84 innings, 55/35 K/BB) and the major leagues (5.88 in 52 innings, 26/33 K/BB).
Jenkins is listed at 6-4, 210, age 24. A remarkable natural athlete, he's never quite made the transition from talented thrower to polished pitcher. His fastball has enough zip at 90-94 MPH and he can work his breaking ball and change-up almost anywhere between 74 and 85 MPH, but his command was weak in the majors and hitters had little trouble picking his stuff up, with a notably low strikeout rate coming from a pitcher with a live arm.
This is very much a "change of scenery" deal. Both Jackson and Jenkins have the natural physical ability to be good major league pitchers but neither have shown the necessary feel or polish to this point. Perhaps a new set of coaching eyes can help them unlock their talents. Feigl is an interesting throw-in who could find a spot bullpen role for Texas.