Grading The Prospects: Is There Any Future Appeal In Houston’s Return For Austin Pruitt?

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While the trade that sent Matthew Liberatore to the St. Louis Cardinals is going to grab all of the headlines (and we discussed those prospects yesterday, which you can view by clicking here), it wasn’t the only trade the Tampa Bay Rays completed. Later in the evening they sent RHP Austin Pruitt to the Houston Astros, obtaining a pair of prospects in return. While they may not be seen as high level prospects, both have the potential to reach the Majors and could develop into solid options. Let’s take a look:

OF Cal Stevenson
Current Age – 23
Current Grade – C-

Houston had acquired Stevenson from Toronto as part of last year’s Aaron Sanchez trade and while he may ultimately prove to be a fourth outfielder he showed an elite approach playing at High-A last season:

  • Strikeout Rate – 13.3%
  • Walk Rate – 14.1%
  • SwStr% – 4.1%

That’s highly impressive, but he needs another skill to actually put him on radars. In 417 PA he hit 5 HR (25 total extra base hits) and was inefficient on the bases (13-for-22 on SB attempts), and there isn’t much upside in either department. In other words he’s a nice depth player, but without a significant shift he’s not going to develop into more than that.

RHP Peyton Battenfield
Current Age – 22
Current Grade – D

Selected in the 9th round of the 2019 draft, Battenfield threw 39.1 IP at Low-A last season and presented himself fairly well with a 1.60 ERA. Of course he only seemed to excel in one of the three skills we look for:

  • Strikeouts – 10.53 K/9 (courtesy of a 16.9% SwStr%)
  • Control – 3.43 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 44.0%

It was a small sample size and you could also argue that he was old for the level. It’s possible that his future lies in the bullpen, given what we’ve seen (small sample size or not).

Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com

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