by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Last night we got the news of the Manny Machado trade, but that appears to be just the start of things. The Padres and Indians pulled off their own blockbuster this morning:
The Cleveland Indians acquire LHP Brad Hand & RHP Adam Cimber
The San Diego Padres acquire C/OF Francisco Mejia
The move has ramifications for both teams, but let’s first take a look at the impact of the bullpens:
Closer – Cody Allen
Next Up – Brad Hand
The acquisition of Hand gives the Indians a proven late inning threat, and allows them to keep Andrew Miller in a versatile, multi-inning role. Allen has been struggling of late, but it didn’t appear likely that he’d be replaced because of the lack of alternatives. That all has changed, and the fact that Hand is left-handed won’t be used against him due to the presence of Miller.
In regards to Allen, while he finished the first half with a clean inning his two prior outings were particularly bad (1.2 IP, 7 ER, 5 H, 3 BB). He owns a 4.66 ERA as his control hasn’t been great (3.71 BB/9) and he’s really struggled to induce groundballs (30.1%). The latter has led to a 1.40 HR/9 (after a 1.20 the year before), so consider him on notice.
If you are looking for saves keep Hand stashed (or scoop him up when the current owner cuts bait). He already has the inside track to the job for 2019, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him emerge before 2018 is over.
San Diego Padres
Closer – Kirby Yates
Next Up – Craig Stammen
Yates is the obvious choice to step up and assume Hand’s role. He’s been posting impressive peripherals this season en route to 2 SV and 16 HLD, making you think he should thrive immediately:
- Strikeouts – 11.47 K/9
- Control – 2.63 BB/9
- Groundballs – 50.0%
The groundball rate is a significant jump from what he’s done (career 36.6%), but he’s also significantly increased the usage of his split-finger fastball (35.28%). With the pitch generating a 61.76% groundballs on balls in play, the leap is justifiable.
He could immediately become a Top 10 closer, and at the least should be considered a Top 15 option.
Stammen represents a solid alternative, posting a 2.91 ERA and 1.17 WHIP while flashing his own impressive skillset:
- Strikeouts – 9.91 K/9
- Control – 1.75 BB/9
- Groundballs – 51.2%
You can argue that he can’t maintain the control (2.71 BB/9 for his career), but outside of that it’s hard not to love the stuff. If Yates were to stumble, Stammen should seamlessly step in.
Sources – Fangraphs, ESPN, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out all of our Midseason Prospect Rankings: