It was a busy trade deadline day for the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday. They added to their starting rotation with the acquisition of Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers. While they didn’t make the deal for Zach Britton, they added Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani into the mix in separate deals with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds.
Watson will be the setup man to Kenley Jansen, but was having a down season with the Pirates. He was 5-3 with a 3.66 ERA in 47 games. He had ten saves, but lost the closer job midseason to Felipe Rivero. This year, his strikeouts per nine have been down from 7.7 last year to 6.8 this season.
For Watson, the Pirates got two Low-A prospects from the Dodgers for infielder ONeil Cruz and right-hander Angel German. Neither player was on John’s Top 20 Dodgers prospect list, so LA gets a good relief option without having to give up a top prospect.
Let’s start with German. The 21-year-old went 1-0 with a 1.91 ERA and had seven saves in eight chances with the Great Lakes Loons. He had 37 strikeouts to 14 walks in 33 innings with an opponents batting average against of .190.
German’s season didn’t begin until May, but he was dominant in the first month of the season. He had 21 strikeouts and did not give up a run in his first eight outings. He’s been mainly a one to two inning pitcher in the Midwest League.
As for his pitch arsenal, he does have a fastball that is in the mid 90’s in velocity to go with a slider and a changeup. With the strikeout numbers going up, his walk rate will be something to watch considering he had 13 walks in 20 games last year with Great Lakes.
Cruz had only been in the Dodgers system for two years. In 89 games this year, he had a slash line of .240/.293/.342 with eight home runs and 36 RBI’s.
This year, Cruz had 110 strikeouts with Great Lakes. Despite the high strikeout total, he did have 51 runs scored (team lead), 82 hits (team lead), and walked 28 times (fifth). He has struggled as of late, however, as he has hit only .219 in his last 28 games.
Back on July 20, Cruz went 5-for-5 with a double, a home run, and three RBI’s against Cedar Rapids. After that game, his manager, Jeremy Rodriguez, told Andrew Battifarano of MILB.com about how the power that the 18-year-old has:
"He has a lot of power, crazy power," Rodriguez said. "When he tries to hit home runs, it doesn't really work out for him. When he tries a low line drive or just make solid contact, that's when the ball jumps off the bat. Jair has been doing a really good job during batting practice and staying on him to make sure he stays within himself and not trying to do too much."
For the second trade, Cingrani has only appeared in 25 games (two DL stints) and has a 5.40 ERA. Plus, he has a 10.00 ERA over his last ten games with hitters having a .342 average and five home runs against him. Plus, he struggles more against lefties (.293) than righties (.255).
The lone prospect the Dodgers got back for Cingrani was catcher Hendrik Clementina The 20-year-old has not played a game past rookie ball in his career, but he did hit the ball well for the Ogden Raptors in the Pioneer League this year.
In 24 games, Clementina had a slash line of .370/.439/.554 with four home runs and 25 RBI’s. He doesn’t strikeout a lot (16 K’s) and had driven in at least one run in five out of his last seven games. But, as C. Trent Rosecrans of The Cincinnati Enquirer tweeted, the there are scouts that think the Pioneer League All-Star may not be a catcher long-term:
Another scout on Clementina: 'he can really hit. and with power' but noted he 'doesn't really have a position'— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) July 31, 2017
Scott Van Slyke was also traded to the Reds in the Cingrani deal. The 31-year-old had hit a mere .122 average in 29 major league games with LA this year. The Triple-A numbers aren’t much better as he’s hitting .242 with five home runs and 20 RBI’s in 55 games.
All in all, the Dodgers didn’t have to dig into their top prospects to get some help in the eighth inning. The Darvish trade will be the headline, but don’t be surprised if Watson and/or Cingrani play a factor this year. Meanwhile, the Pirates and Reds have prospects at the lower levels of the minor leagues they can try to develop.