Grading The Prospects: Could Intriguing Upside Emerge From The Other Pieces Of The Pham/Renfroe Trade?

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While the trade between the Padres and Rays will get a lot of attention due to the MLB outfielders that were swapped, the prospects should not go overlooked.  Just how good could Xavier Edwards and Jake Cronenworth be?  Could they make an impact at the highest level?  Let’s take a look:

Xavier Edwards – Middle Infielder

Speed is the name of his game, as he hit .322 with 1 HR, 43 RBI, 76 R and 34 SB between Single-A (344 PA) and High-A (217 PA).  Of course his approach is just as important, and his ability to make consistent contact and willingness to put the ball on the ground and use his speed will be key:

  • SwStr% – 4.3%
  • Groundball Rate – 50.2%

Those two things allow him to consistently get on base, because his speed is a game changer.  As Baseball America described him:

He is a prolific basestealer with good instincts, completing his profile as a potential leadoff hitter in the mold of Chone Figgins. 

While a comparison to Figgins may not seem like a favorable comparison, let’s not forget that Figgins would routinely steal 40+ bases and at his best hit .290 with 62 SB and 113 R (2005).  That’s the type of difference maker Edwards could be, and even if he only matures into a 4-6 HR hitter it would be enough.  At a time where speed is down across the game, someone who puts the ball in play and uses his speed is unique and holds significant appeal.

Current Grade – B/B+

Jake Cronenworth – Shortstop

Cronenworth played 2019 at Triple-A, hitting .334 with 10 HR and 12 SB over 406 PA.  Obviously a .382 BABIP looms large in terms of his average, but he showed a strong approach:

  • Strikeout Rate – 15.3%
  • Walk Rate – 11.9%
  • SwStr% – 6.1%

He’ll be 26-years old at the start of the 2020 season, and while he could add a little bit more power (26 doubles and 4 triples) he’s never going to be an elite producer in any category.  In fact, as described by Baseball America:

Cronenworth benefitted from the new ball at Triple-A and is seen as more of a solid hitter than a great one. He has good feel for the strike zone, takes consistent at-bats and makes contact, but evaluators see him as more of a bottom-of-the-order type because he lacks power. 

The most intriguing thing about him may have been his work as an opener in ’19, creating a potential two-way player.  The fact that the Padres tried using Christian Bethancourt as both a pitcher and fielder adds to that intrigue, and it’s easy to envision Cronenworth finding a spot at the back of San Diego’s roster.  That said, from a fantasy perspective, he’s unlikely to make an impact.

Current Grade – C

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, Baseball America

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