Yesterday the San Diego Padres traded veteran starter James Shields to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Erik Johnson and minor league infield prospect , Jr. Here's a quick take on the two newest Padres.
Erik Johnson, RHP: Originally drafted by the White Sox in the second round in 2011 from the University of California, Johnson is not a rookie, having 18 starts and 98 major league innings on his resume. He was never able to fully establish himself in the White Sox rotation however. He pitched well in 2013 (3.25 ERA in five starts) and 2015 (3.34 ERA in six starts) cups-of-coffee but was hammered hard in 2014 (6.45 ERA in six starts) and suffered through a miserable summer fighting injuries in Triple-A. He was much more effective in 2015 and was pitching well again in Triple-A this year (2.94 ERA in eight starts).
It was evident that the White Sox lacked confidence in him so the change of scenery may be beneficial. The 26-year-old has the stuff to succeed with a four-pitch (low-90s fastball, curve, slider, change) mix and a 6-3, 230 pound workhorse build, but could not find consistency in Chicago. San Diego is a good place for him to start over.
Fernando Tatis Jr, 3B: Tatis is the big unknown of the trade. The son of former major leaguer Fernando Tatis, Junior was signed by the White Sox out of the Dominican Republic as part of the July 2nd 2015 class, earning a $700,000 bonus. The Padres were one of the teams rumored to be interested in him at the time and now they have their man.
Tatis has yet to play professionally so at this point we don't know what they have exactly. Currently listed at 6-1, 175, he is physically projectable and could end up something along the lines of 6-3, 200 as he matures (his dad was listed at 5-11, 185 during his career). The younger Tatis features above-average bat speed, raw power, and a strong throwing arm but with positional questions; originally a shortstop, he's currently viewed as a third baseman but might end up in right field eventually. His makeup is reputedly to be very strong and with big league bloodlines he may need less adjustment time than typical.
It is all speculation until we see him play in real games, but some experts did consider him one of the better value bargains in the 2015 international class.