It’s a good morning for New York Yankees fans. According to reports, the deal is in place for Andrew McCutchen to come to New York. Buster Olney and Joel Sherman were amongst the first to report.
Yankees get McCutchen: source— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) August 31, 2018
For the Yankees, the trade comes with good and bad news. Acquiring McCutchen likely means Aaron Judge still needs a bit more time in recovering from his injury. McCutchen, however, brings a lot to the table. The former National League MVP has postseason experience and is a known leader. While his slash line and OPS aren’t where they used to be, the 31-year-old still has 73 walks with 45 extra base hits and 13 stolen bases in 19 attempts. He knows how to take pitches and work at bats, something this Yankees lineup (and any, really) needs.
Right now, we are still waiting word on the official return for the Giants, but the big rumored piece is Abiatal Avelino.
UPDATE; 12:30 p.m.: RHP Juan De Paula was announced as the second prospect involved in the deal. Report coming.
TRADE: The Yankees have acquired OF Andrew McCutchen along with cash considerations from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for INF Abiatal Avelino and RHP Juan De Paula.— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) August 31, 2018
So, who is he?
Abiatal Avelino, Infield
Avelino is 23 years old. He has played primarily shortstop over his career, but has plenty of experience at second base and even some third as well. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic before the 2012 season and slowly climbed the ladder, finally exiting A-ball in 2016.
He’s listed at 5’11” and 195 pounds, so he’s compact, but has shown an ability to make contact through the years. He hits and throws right-handed and plays a position that the Yankees have some young depth in at both the big league and minor league levels. The most important piece of information is that like Billy McKinney and several others traded, Avelino was going to need 40-man roster protection, and that spot may not have been readily available.
Robert M. Pimpsner at Pinstriped Prospects shared his thoughts earlier this season when his site ranked Avelino the 47th-best prospect in the system.
Avelino is a natural athlete. He is an above-average runner with good base running instincts, and defensively he ranks among the best defenders at his position in the organization. He has shown the ability to play both middle infield positions without much struggle. Watch his hands, footwork and above-average arm while in the field, and you can see he could develop into a major league shortstop.
At the plate, Avelino has a hitting approach that is mature beyond his age. He can use the whole field and is disciplined enough not to expand the strike zone and swing at bad pitches outside. The one thing he lacks is power, and it is unsure if he will develop much more as he matures.
He came out of the gates hot this season, making Eastern League pitching look to easy. He slashed .337/.392/.553 with a .945 OPS. He added a career-best 10 home runs, but only seven doubles, while swiping 15 of 19 stolen base attempts. He hits a lot of ground balls (62 percent in AA) and may have been benefitted by a high .375 BABIP because it has been a much different story in Triple-A where he is striking out at an all-time high and walking at an all-time low.
There is still enough to like about Avelino who brings position versatility and speed to the table. We’ve seen he can hit in the past and he should be able to serve as a super utility player at the very least.
We’ll have an update for you when the trade goes official and bring you all the prospects in the deal.
Juan De Paula, RHP
De Paula is the young right-hander who cam to the Yankees with Jio Orozco in the Ben Gamel deal. He’s listed at 6’3” and just 165, so you hope to see him fill out a little bit more, which could help the power on his fastball.
I have personally not seen him pitch, but Ricky Keeler of Pinstriped Prospects has. He feels his stuff tends to go down as he progresses later in games. He likes his fastball that sits 92-93 but touches 96 and feels his best secondary offering is a big curve.
De Paula posted very good numbers, but it should be noted that other pitchers surpassed him and were promoted while De Paula repeated his entire second season in the NYPL. Still, it seems like there is plenty to work with in developing De Paula as a solid pitcher.