August 2015

The Dust Has Settled

Prospects serve several crucial purposes in an organization:
1- Hopefully, the player be good enough and will help the Major League club
2- The player can be used in trade to improve or lengthen the Major League roster
3- The player can fill out organizational Minor League rosters-a critical need

In this year’s non-waiver trade deadline deals, we saw players move that met one or more of those basic purposes. Without a doubt, some will help their new Major League club.

I spoke of several in my past two blogs.

Today I wish to highlight a few more prospect players that I feel can be difference makers. In fact, I think the trade deadline deals have shaken the standings in all four divisions. It’s a shot in the arm for baseball and a new life for several franchises.

Right-handed pitcher Michael Fulmer was not a household name in the Mets organization like prospects Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz or Rafael Montero. But in my opinion, Fulmer is a prize. I don’t think the Tigers trade Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets without Fulmer or Montero in the deal. Fulmer can hit 96 with relative ease. He’s 6-foot-3, 200 pounds. He throws a wicked fastball/slider combination with an improving changeup. I see him as a mid-rotation starter with nice upside. And he’s only 22. I think he’s an under the radar guy right now, but if he stays healthy, he’ll perform.

The Tigers also plucked Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt from the Blue Jays.
All three are left-handers. Are you kidding me? Yup. Three lefties in one deal. Of course, the Price was lefty David Price. The price for Price was three highly ranked top prospect left-handers from the Blue Jays farm. Amazing. How do you pry three lefties away? Offer David Price.

Norris gets the most buzz. He’s got four very good pitches including a fastball that touches 98 and an equally good slider. He also throws a very solid curve and change. Four excellent pitches that each need command refinement. He’s almost there.

Labourt is another very solid 91-96 quick armed starter who’s behind Norris in development. He throws a fastball, slider and changeup and each is average or above.
He gets lots of sink on the ball and induces ground balls.

Boyd is 24 and is probably doesn’t have as high a ceiling as Norris or Labourt. But the Tigers may have a lefty reliever in him due to excellent command and three good pitches. He’s a starter now, but that may not last. He can be very valuable in the pen.

Not to mention that the Blue Jays gave up righties Jeff Hoffman and Miguel Castro to the Rockies–both very top pitching prospects. So by my count, the Blue Jays have traded five of their Top 10 prospect pitchers to get a chance for the playoffs. But that’s one of the values of prospects as I mentioned above.

The Indians moved their best home run hitter, Brandon Moss to the St. Louis Cardinals for lefty Rob Kaminsky. I think this was an outstanding move for the Tribe.

Kaminsky was the Cardinals first round selection in the 2013 First Year Player Draft. He isn’t very big at 5-foot-11, but he can pitch. He’s got an excellent mound demeanor and has a plus plus curve. He also throws a low-90’s fastball and a changeup. All with command. He changes the balance of the hitter and should be a mainstay i the future Indians rotations. He gives the Indians a future left-handed starter.

WHO REALLY HELPED THEMSELVES?

While it cost them 12 pitching prospects at last count, the Blue Jays should make the playoffs with Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Mark Lowe and LaTroy Hawkins in the fold.

The Mets were desperate for a bat and got that in Yoenis Cespedes. He can be a lethal hitter. And his defense is excellent. Big upgrade for the Mets. Not to mention Juan Uribe and his influence in the clubhouse, which is huge. Tyler Clippard really helps stabilize the bullpen. He’s a plus.

The Royals should fight the Blue Jays to be the American League representative in the World Series. Are you kidding me? Adding Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist. Ben Zobrist who is like getting five players in one with all the positions he can play. He will help ease the sting of losing Alex Gordon in the event Gordon can’t come back.
The Royals were already good. Now they’re better.

The Phillies changed their entire future. They got a boatload-but I had already discussed that in a previous blog.

The Giants got the pitcher they needed in Mike Leake for prospect flamethrower Keury Mella. Leake will really help settle a shaky rotation. Mella is still a prospect.

WHO DIDN’T HELP THEMSELVES:

Yes, the Dodgers got the pitchers they needed. But-and this is a huge but- they have called tremendous attention to themselves by obtaining other teams highly priced, unwanted players and then eating their salaries before cutting them loose. Millions and millions of dead dollars are going to guys the Dodgers traded for and cut. Don’t want this expensive contract? Send him to the Dodgers along with a good player. They’ll eat it. I don’t like that at all. I don’t think it’s good for the game. I think something has to be done-but it’s a free market system. If they have the money they can spend it. It just bothers me. Especially when I see teams I like having to struggle with owners who either won’t spend the money they have or don’t have the money to spend. It’s a huge inequity. And it isn’t good for the game.

I have more in mind, but this is getting long. Maybe next time.

Thanks for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff and for reading my work at MLBPipeline.com.

That’s it. I’m done. For now.