July 29th Trades
John Sickels discusses the prospects dealt in each major trade before the trade deadline.
1. The Marlins trade Jorge Cantu to the Rangers for right-handed pitchers Omar Poveda and Evan Reed. With this trade, the Rangers add to their bench depth while giving up a pair of fungible, if interesting, minor league arms.
Omar Poveda, RHP: Poveda is a 22-year-old right-hander, currently on the disabled list at Double-A Frisco recovering from Tommy John surgery; he won't get back on the mound until next spring. In 2009 he posted a 4.14 ERA with a 73:48 K:BB ratio in 130 innings for Frisco. At his best, he has a 90 mph fastball and a good changeup, but his track record is erratic and some scouts think he's a Quadruple-A pitcher. He is young enough to develop further once he finishes his rehab.
Evan Reed, RHP: Reed is a 24-year-old right-hander, currently pitching at Double-A Frisco with a 1.62 ERA and a 34:13 K:BB in 39 innings, 35 hits allowed, collecting five saves. Drafted in the third round in 2007 from Cal Poly, Reed struggled as a starter in 2008 but has thrived since moving to the bullpen in 2009, due to effective command of his sinker and slider. He projects as a solid middle relief option.
2. The Astros trade Roy Oswalt to the Phillies for lefty J.A. Happ, outfielder Anthony Gose, and shortstop Jonathan Villar. The Astros then traded Gose to the Toronto Blue Jays for first baseman Brett Wallace. This is a classic veteran-to-the-contender deal, with Houston cashing in their long-time ace for a cheaper-but-effective starter and two minor leaguers.
Anthony Gose, OF: Gose is just 20 years old, and while his .263/.325/.385 mark for High-A Clearwater in the Florida State League doesn't look that hot, a lot of scouts love him due to his athleticism and blazing speed. He's very raw as a player however, struggling with his plate discipline and other issues. He's swiped 36 bases but has been caught 27 times, an unacceptable ratio no matter how fast you are. The Jays believe they can refine him into a leadoff hitter with pop, but it will take some work and he has to cut down on his strikeouts (103 in 103 games this year). He was drafted by the Phillies in 2008 as a second rounder out of high school in Bellflower, California.
Brett Wallace, 1B: The oft-traded Wallace seems like he's been around awhile, but is still just 23. The former first round pick from Arizona State was hitting .301/.359/.509 for Triple-A Las Vegas, with 18 homers. However, his plate discipline (very strong in college) hasn't kept pace with his competition, and his 27:83 BB:K ratio is unattractive. With his current approach he'll probably have a hard time hitting for average in the majors, although his power remains impressive.
Jonathan Villar, SS: The Phillies signed Villar out of the Dominican Republic in 2008. The 19-year-old is a toolsy switch-hitting athlete, hitting .272/.332/.358 with 38 steals in 100 games for Low-A Lakewood before the trade. He's raw with the strike zone, as shown by a 26:103 BB:K ratio, and improving that will be necessary at higher levels. He's also very shaky on defense, committing 42 errors this year. Scouts like his tools, but he's a long way from the majors.
3. The Orioles trade Miguel Tejada to the Padres for prospect Wynn Pelzer: Tejada isn't what he used to be, but he adds a veteran bat for the stretch run. In exchange the Orioles pick up a pretty decent arm in Pelzer.
Wynn Pelzer, RHP: Pelzer was a ninth round pick in 2007 from the University of South Carolina. 24 years old, he has been so-so for Double-A San Antonio this year, with a 4.20 ERA and a 83:56 K:BB in 94 innings, suffering from occasional command issues. He has good stuff, though, including a fastball that can hit 93-94 MPH with sinking action and a breaking ball with plus potential. If he gets the strike zone back under control, he could be a decent starting pitcher, though there has been some talk of him closing in the past. He was considered one of San Diego's best prospects until this year's command issues.