A few quick notes on a few more deals from Tuesday’s deadline. I haven’t covered all of the transactions that have occurred, focusing on those that included leads or that I otherwise found interesting.
The twins get: Tyler Mahle
Reds get: Spencer Steer, Stephen Hajjar and Christian Encarnacion-Strand
Mahle has had some bad luck this year, although his underlying numbers are about the same as ever, with his FIP of 3.60 making it the best of his career to date. He tweaked his height mix slightly, using more of his splitter and less of his slider, with both heights being slightly less effective than previous seasons, with a reduced speed on his slider of around 2 mph. He missed a few starts in July with a sore shoulder, but seemed fine on his return, and should be able to give the Twins an average league job out of the rotation, where only Sonny Gray has an FIP below 4. over the year.
Steer has been one of the biggest hitters in the minors this year as the 24-year-old has 20 homers and a .361 OBP with just a 17% strikeout rate between Double and Triple A. He played all three skill positions in the infield, primarily playing third base this year. It looks like he’ll be a regular as long as his defense holds third or second, with a high floor as an infielder thanks to power and high contact rates, especially on fastballs. Hajjar is a 6-foot-5 southpaw with a fringed fastball and below-average breakout ball, but gets a boost from his size and shows a change of 55. He has struggled to get left-handers out in High A this season and missed a few weeks with a shoulder strain. Encarnacion-Strand was the Twins’ fourth-rounder last year and continued to hit with surprising power given his short swing, with 25 homers already between High A and Double A. The questionable plate discipline he showed at the university did not retain it. so far in professional ball. He’s probably an average long-term third-tier defender, but could end up first if not.
Chaplains get: Brandon Drury
Reds get: Victor Acosta
Drury crushes left-handers and had a solid comeback year for the Reds, aided by their friendly ballpark. He can save at all places in the infield other than shortstop or maybe just completely replace Wil Myers, who was terrible at the plate when he played this year. Acosta is a tooled 18-year-old shortstop with more speed and more arm, likely to stay in position long-term, with a high-contact approach that should yield strong batting averages without a lot of power. He still has a lot more tools than skills, needing time and reps in just about every area, but with the advantage of an above average regular at shortstop or failing that , In the center. He hits .243/.346/.360 in the Arizona Rookie League.
Phillies get: Noah Syndergaard and Brandon Marsh
The Angels will have: Logan O’Hoppe, Mickey Moniak and Jadiel Sanchez
It was technically two deals, Marsh for O’Hoppe and Syndergaard for Moniak and Sanchez. Starting with the one-for-one trade, I mean, if I was a sarcastic guy, I could say the Phillies trading Marsh means they’ve uncovered the defense. I find the trade more interesting for the Angels, as Marsh was a local position player, a rarity in this system, and still has home plate advantages in power and contact, although at 24 his window is closing. They traded him for Logan O’Hoppe, a hard-hitting receiver from a Long Island high school who went from a 23rd-round pick to a possible everyday guy who’s having a great Double-A season at 22. . He’s solid behind the plate, no doubt staying there, and should be a 15-20 homer guy with on-base skills and high contact rates. I prefer O’Hoppe.
Syndergaard hasn’t shown his pre-Tommy John tricks or form this year, with speed well below his 2019 levels on all his grounds, less movement on his two breaking grounds and what at least looks to be a worse order. That could come back next year, but he’s a hire for the Phillies and is likely just rotational insurance in case Zach Eflin doesn’t return when eligible in late August. Moniak is a four-A guy at this point, a 24-year-old corner outfielder with marginal power and tremendous difficulty hitting stuff off speed, not doing enough damage against right-handers to even be a platoon guy . He’s going to play close to home, if it’s worth anything. Sanchez is even less valuable, as he’s old for Low A and not hitting, while he’s limited to the outside corners.
Phillies gets: David Robertson
Cubs get: Ben Brown
Oh the irony. The Phillies signed Robertson to a two-year contract before 2019 and got 6.2 innings from him — not even good ones. He’s back and the 37-year-old is having his best year since 2018, making up for lost momentum by using a cutter as a fastball and then getting to that curveball for puffs. I saw Brown pitch for High-A Jersey Shore a few weeks ago and was impressed with the Long Island native because he has a 94-97 mph fastball that is very hard for hitters to hit , with three secondary throws but nothing above the average year. He’s 6-foot-6 but doesn’t fully utilize his height with his stride or extension, so there might even be a little something extra to be gained from that end.
Blue Jays get: Whit Merrifield
The Royals get: Max Castillo and Samad Taylor
Merrifield was a three-and-a-half-win player in 2019, mostly from his bat, and in 2021, with more value from his glove; but he’s been under replacement level this year at 33, hitting .240/.290/.352 while playing average to slightly above average defense at second. Santiago Espinal actually beat Merrifield this year, and lined him up nicely, but Merrifield could take Cavan Biggio’s place on the bench, providing more defensive value and speed without losing anything else. The Jays didn’t give up much though. Castillo is an average reliever at best, a right-hander with some deception but a subpar fastball, and hitters hit the field hard. Infielder Samad Taylor was kicked out of the 40 man last winter, but could become a capable additional infielder, although he’s more of a second/third base guy rather than a true utility man who can handle the shortstop.
Mets get: Darin Ruf
Giants get: JD Davis, Carson Seymour, Thomas Szapucki and Nick Zwack
Two quick thoughts here. First, it’s pretty remarkable that the Giants turned Ruf, who had nearly 800 plates with the Phillies in five years before washing up and going to play in Korea, into someone who would get a positive return in a trade. . He’s still just a squad bat that can crush left-handers and has no value in defense; but still, if you had said in 2019 that the Giants would get a few interesting players in exchange for Ruf at this point, I would have scoffed. Of the returning players, I’m most intrigued by Seymour, 23, a 6-foot-6 right-hander who hits 100 mph but had huge walk rates for Kansas State, so he didn’t was drafted in 2020 and the Mets got him in the sixth round in 2021. They played it slow with him this year, starting him in Low A for seven starts and moving him up to High A in late May, but he won’t didn’t walk many guys and showed no split peloton, even reducing his walk rate as the season progressed. I said at the draft that maybe he should be a reliever because of the control issues, but at this point I would leave him as a starter and push him to Double A.
(Photo by Darin Ruf: Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)
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