Chat No. 2 Wrap: Trade Reactions, Starling vs. Arcia, Plus Other Prospect Stuff
Last Saturday, I wrote this blog post, soliciting prospects-related questions from you. I’m writing this post here and now to fulfill my end of the bargain and answer those questions as best as I can. Before we get to the Qs and As, I would like to thank you for participating — or, for just reading along — and also encourage you to use the comment section below in the future. As I wrote in this post (the first in this blog’s now 77-day history), this platform is for you. So if you want to see more chats like this one (or an actual-live chat in which we are conversing real-time) or have other ideas, please let me know. Without further adieu…
Andrew: Ryan, Starling (now the Royals’ No. 1 prospect) has a higher overall ceiling than Arcia (the Twins’ seventh-ranked farmhand), but it’s not quite that simple. For one, we have larger sample sizes of Arcia — he has played parts of five seasons in the Minors versus Starling who finally completed his first Short-Season in 2012. Therefore, we know a lot more about Arcia. He has, for example, proven he can hit Double-A pitching. Starling hasn’t. That should explain why Starling has greater potential but Arcia has a greater chance at realizing his. And that’s as a hitter. As a defender, there’s less debate: Arcia will top out as an average corner outfielder while Starling is already an outstanding center fielder. If you’re asking me which player I would in my organization, I’d take Starling if only because his talent is too great to pass up.
Andrew: Interesting question, Charlie. If you followed the Drillers in 2012, you already know that Arenado was solid but not spectacular in the way that his ’11 season in the Minors and Arizona Fall League suggested he might be. Dickerson, meanwhile, continued his quick ascension in the Rockies’ system. With that said, my educated guess would be that Arenado has the better season in ’13. His ability to make contact at all costs, plus his cerebral approach at the plate will give him a better shot against the advanced pitching he will face at Triple-A. I know less of the approach used by Dickerson, who will also play for the Pacific Coast League’s Colorado Springs Sky Sox for the first time next spring, but it’s obvious that he is more prone to striking out. Both are well equipped to produce, but my money is on Arenado. I would not be at all surprised to see him jump back into the conversation of best Minor League hitter.
Andrew: This is actually a very easy choice for me, Pierre. I firmly believe Smyly is and will continue to be the best of the quartet you mention. As long as he can stay healthy, Smyly is the one of the four that, in my mind, can be a No. 2 starter in a good Major League rotation. When pitching their best, the other three, are no more than No. 3s. I have seen (and written about) Griffin and Straily the most of these hurlers and that helps inform my opinion here: Griffin will be challenged to repeat his 2012 results (2.82 ERA in the Minors, 3.06 in the Majors) given his lack of a truly plus offering; he will always need to be mixing his pitches well to stay a mental step ahead of hitters. And Straily led the Minors in strikeouts but then found out that fanning Major Leaguers is a different task altogether. He has an excellent slider and a strong changeup, but he consistently leaves his fastball up in the zone, which is hard to get away with in the Majors. I know less of Chen but simply based on age, past numbers and future projections, Smyly comes out well ahead.
Anonymous: How do you evaluate the most recent trades: Myers and Odorizzi to Tampa Bay and Bauer to Cleveland?
Andrew: Well, this question would fall under this blog’s While You and I Were Out category. I was not scheduled to work the last four days and here is what I (and perhaps you, missed):
Our story Sunday: Royals send top prospects to Rays
My take: I understand why Kansas City felt it had to acquire starting pitching, but I completely disagree with how they went about it, yielding three top prospects (and a solid fourth) whom Tampa can control contractually for six years. I’m also on record as a strong believer in the bat of outfielder Wil Myers, who is the best player going to the Rays. Jake Odorizzi will be better than Wade Davis, too. And it seemed like the Royals just threw Mike Mongtomery into the deal. I’m not a believer in Montgomery, but he has the best pure stuff of any pitcher in the trade and is yet another example of KC underselling on the value of its own farmhands.
Our story Tuesday: Bauer sent to Tribe in three-team deal
My take: This deal didn’t involve as many elite-level prospects and wasn’t as lopsided, but it also leaves me wondering about one team’s decision. No matter how highly the D-backs rated Didi Gregorius, the shortstop prospect they’re getting from the Reds, and how much they have soured on pitcher Trevor Bauer, the pitching prospect they’re sending to the Indians, this trade makes little to no sense. It boils down to trading baseball’s No. 5 prospect (Bauer) for the No. 5 prospect in Cincinnati’s system (Gregorius). I realize Arizona was shortstop-starved, but will Gregorius hit that much more than in-house option Cliff Pennington, who is also a very good defender? I’m not so sure.
If Arizona was set on 1) getting a shortstop, 2) unloading Bauer and 3) involving three clubs, I would have explored this one a week or so ago:
D-backs get: Mike Olt (3B from TEX), Luis Sardinas (SS from TEX), Wil Myers (OF from KC), Christian Colon (SS from KC), Mike Montgomery (SP from KC)
Royals get: Trevor Bauer (SP from ARI), Martin Perez (SP from TEX)
Rangers get: Justin Upton (OF from ARI)
What do you think?