The Toronto Blue Jays have traded right-handed pitcher Joe Smith to the Cleveland Indians. In exchange, the Jays receive two prospects: left-handed pitcher Thomas Pannone and infielder Samad Taylor. Here’s a quick look.
Thomas Pannone, LHP: The Indians drafted Pannone in the ninth round in 2013 from the Community College of Southern Nevada. He was very effective in 2016 (2.57, 122/41 K/BB in 133 innings between Low-A and High-A) and has been even better in 2017 (1.96 ERA in 110 innings between High-A and Double-A with a 120/28 K/BB).
Pannone is listed at 6-0, 195, born April 28th, 1994. Wayne Cavadi filed a detailed report on Pannone earlier this month, noting his low-90s fastball and significant improvement with his curveball and change-up. He’s obviously had no problems with Double-A and has a shot at being a decent starting pitcher in the majors.
Samad Taylor, INF: Cleveland drafted Taylor in the 10th round in 2016 from high school in Corona, California. He was committed to the University of Arizona although the Indians were able to sign him for $125,000. This is looking like a bargain: he was hitting .300/.328/.467 in 120 at-bats for Mahoning Valley in the New York-Penn League, although with just five walks.
Taylor is listed at 5-10, 160, a right-handed hitter born July 11, 1998. He has 60-grade speed and gap power and has obviously hit well in pro ball to this point. He lacks the arm for shortstop but has been a very efficient second baseman so far, showing above-average range around the bag and better reliability than most infielders his age.
Pannone is a very solid pitching prospect and Taylor has sleeper potential. This is a good return for a 33-year-old relief pitcher.