When the Blue Jays traded Eric Sogard on Sunday, the return was shrouded in mystery.
The Rays conceded two “players to be named later” in the deal, which is pretty unsatisfying as returns go. Part of the fun of the trade deadline is instant analysis of deals based on prospect evaluations that may or may not prove to be predictive. Without that, all we know is the Blue Jays are down a productive and entertaining player.
Fortunately Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi provided a tidbit in his piece on the Marcus Stroman trade that is the basis for this mini-investigation, saying the following:
And so, they made their second Sunday swap – having earlier sent Eric Sogard to the Tampa Bay Rays for two players to be named later, whom they will pick from a group of four pitchers in the lower levels of the minors, according to an industry source.
Picking a player or two from a list is a common format for a PTBNL trade, but what we learn here is that all the players are pitchers and they are in the lower levels. That helps narrow the field. The PTBNL we’re looking for are:
1) Realistically not top prospects. Despite Sogard’s breakout he’s a 33-year-old rental with a track record of being far worse than this. For our purposes, let’s say a prospect that’s in the Rays’ top 15 (by either MLB Pipeline or FanGraphs’ prospect lists*) is off the table.
2) Not at Double-A or Triple-A currently.
3) A pitcher. Duh.
4) Not a 2019 draftee, who’s not eligible to be traded, not even as a PTBNL, until after the World Series
So, without further ado, here’s are the guys that could be on the Blue Jays’ list of four pitchers. It’s highly probable that the two players Toronto gets are below unless they go totally off the board.
Joe Ryan, RHP, 23 (17th on MLB Pipeline, NR on FanGraphs)
Ryan is considered a “pitchability” guy, who doesn’t feature outstanding stuff and is a bit old for High-A. He does have outstanding results, though, and there are reports of his velocity climbing to the 92-96 mph range. Ryan has dominated in the Florida State league this year with a 1.68 ERA in 69.2 innings with 95 strikeouts.
Drew Stotman, RHP, 22 (26th on MLB Pipeline, NR on FanGraphs)
Stotman is a former fourth-round pick who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018 after making it as far as Single-A. He was expected to return in 2020, but has already made his way back and is getting his work in at Rookie Ball at the moment. Stotman sits 93-95 mph, but can tick up in relief and is primarily a fastball-slider guy. He seems most likely to wind up as a reliever, but could be a good one.
Resley Linares, LHP, 21 (30th on MLB Pipeline, 17th on FanGraphs)
Linares has pitched just twice in 2019, and has since been out with a forearm strain since April, but it’s possible he could be on a list like this contingent on his return to help. The lanky lefty throws low 90s with a good curveball and the feel for a changeup. How that change develops and whether he can build up strength could determine his fate as a starter.
Tobias Myers, RHP, 20 (NR on MLB Pipeline, 29th on FanGraphs)
Myers sits 91-93 mph with plus athleticism and projectability, and coming into the season he was seen as having a ceiling as a three or four starter. However, 2019 hasn’t been particularly kind to him. Although he has a 2.95 ERA at High-A, it’s come with a brutal 5.57 K/9. His strikeout numbers haven’t been great since he’s reached full-season ball, fostering some doubts about whether he’s short on stuff, despite the fact he’s flashed a plus curveball at times.
Joel Peguero, RHP, 22 (NR on MLB Pipeline, 32nd on FanGraphs)
Peguero is a little bit old for his level (Single-A) and his statistics don’t leap off the page, but he can throw 100 mph with some consistency and get as high as 102. Just a reliever with raw secondary stuff, but he could excel in the bullpen if things break right.
Miguel Lara, RHP, 22 (NR on MLB Pipeline, 44th on FanGraphs)
Lara is another relief prospect with a funky delivery and a fastball that can get as high as 99 mph. Unlike many relievers he has a legitimate three-pitch mix with a fastball, slider, and change, but command is a huge problem. The right-hander will have to locate his pitches far better to make it to the highest level.
Michael Mercado, RHP, 20 (NR on MLB Pipeline, 45th on FanGraphs)
Mercado is a command-and-control guy as opposed to someone who will wow you with his stuff as his low K rates in his pro career will attest. He’s keeping his head above water and posting strong walk and groundball numbers in the New York Penn league, but barring some kind of unexpected step forward he’s a tough guy to dream on.
Sandy Gaston, RHP, 17 (NR on MLB Pipeline, 46th on FanGraphs)
Gaston is only 17 and he’s had success in his first 16 innings of pro ball. That’s not nothing, but it’s hard to know what to make of a guy so far out. Right now the Cuban sits 93-96, but he’s touched triple digits before.
Taj Bradley, RHP, 18 (NR on MLB Pipeline, 49th on FanGraphs)
Bradley is 18 and humming along nicely at Rookie Ball striking out more than a batter per inning while keeping his ERA and FIP under four. The youngster has a low 90s fastball a curveball that projects as average, and a long way to go.
Michael Peguero, RHP, 19 (NR on MLB Pipeline, 50th on FanGraphs)
Peguero sits 91-94 with a high-spin breaking ball, but his results haven’t impressed lately and although he’s young, he’s not young for his level.
Victor Munoz, RHP, 18 (NR on MLB Pipeline, 50th on FanGraphs)
The Rays signed Munoz for $442,000 back in 2017 so they certainly saw something in him. He’s already touched 95 mph on the radar gun, and isn’t short on projectability, but considering he’s in the Dominican Summer League at the moment the range of outcomes here is massive.
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