Monday, July 31, 2017

What you get for $5 million

The Twins traded for Jaime Garcia on Monday. They traded him away on Sunday.

They gave up Huascar Ynoa, a talented teenage right-handed pitcher struggling to find his footing in rookie ball, to get the veteran southpaw. Baseball America ranked Ynoa as the 29th best Twins prospect coming into the season; he probably wasn't going to move up those rankings had he remained.

When they flipped Garcia to the Yankees, they received two pitchers, each much more advanced than Ynoa. Zack Littell is thought to be the better prospect; he's a right-hander who has dominated at two levels this year, High A and Double A. I like pretty much everything in his stat line.

Baseball America rated him No. 24 in the deep Yankees system this spring. MLB Pipeline immediately slotted him at No. 16 in a thinner Twins farm system.

From this spring's Prospect Handbook:

.... Littell's fastball sits 89-91, touching 93, and plays up because of high spin rate and advanced command. His main secondary offering is a true curveball that flashed plus, and he rounds out his three-pitch arsenal with an average to above-average changeup. ...

Littell is not on the 40 man roster, but he will be added; they will not expose him to the Rule 5 draft.

Seth Stohs on Sunday noted the loaded rotation at the Twins Double-A affiliate in Chattanooga:

The Twins also acquired Dietrich Enns, a lefty who is on the 40 and in Triple A and appears to have been injured a for a fair part of the season (just 45 innings in seven starts). He does not show up on anybody's prospect rankings.

BA on Enns:

A 19th-round pick out of Central Michigan in 2012, Enns is a classic touch-and-feel lefthander, although he has shown the ability to push his fastball to 94 mph. Enns’ changeup is probably his best pitch. Enns also throws a curveball, but he mostly relies on location and adding and subtracting to succeed. He profiles best as a lefty specialist.
So, to summarize: The Twins started with Ynoa, talented but raw and risky, and wound up with two more advanced pitchers, at least one of whom is generally regarded as a better prospect.

The difference in the payoff for Garcia: The Twins are paying the bulk of the $4.2 million remaining on Garcia's contract. If you toss in Ynoa's $800,000 signing bonus, the Twins have invested about $5 million in Littell and Enns (and one start of Garcia). That's first-round money.

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