Grading the Prospects: Is There Any Value In The Rays’ Return For Nate Lowe?

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Yesterday Tampa Bay dealt 1B Nate Lowe to the Texas Rangers, getting three prospects back in the deal:

  • Heriberto Hernandez (C/OF)
  • Osleivis Basabe (SS)
  • Alexander Ovalles (OF)

Do any of the three hold long-term appeal? Let’s take a look:

Heriberto Hernandez (C/OF)

The soon to be 21-year old (he’ll turn 21 on December 16) had 8 AB above Rookie Ball in 2019. Obviously there isn’t much data yet, but in his two seasons of Rookie Ball he’s been impressive:

  • 2019 – .292 with 12 HR, 49 RBI and 56 R (178 AB)
  • 2020 – .344 with 11 HR, 48 RBI and 42 R (192 AB)

He’s added 32 doubles and 9 triples as well, though his ability to hit is not a question. As MLB.com described him:

“Hernandez’s .320/.450/.635 line in his first two pro seasons testifies to his penchant for making loud contact on a regular basis. He produced some of the best exit velocities in the Rangers’ system, and his well above-average raw power to all fields will play even better once he starts driving more balls in the air. “

The question is going to be whether or not he can learn to make consistent contact, considering a 22.0% SwStr% in ’20. That led to a 25.4% strikeout rate, and against more advanced pitching he could really be exposed.

There are also questions as to where his ultimate home will be defensively, though if he can hit that should work itself out.

Grade – C+

Osleivis Basabe (SS)

Basabe’s skills are in his ability to make contact and use his speed, though currently he doesn’t appear to have much power. In 166 PA at Rookie Ball in 2019 (he also played two games at Low-A), hit hit .325 with 0 HR, 31 RBI, 29 R and 7 SB. He also posted a 12.0% strikeout rate, though a 19.8% SwStr% for the now 20-year old shows us that he could be exposed as he advances. If that happens, a hitter with little power who struggles to make contact will have a hard time making an impact.

That said, there is the potential to add some power. According to MLB.com:

“He controls the strike zone and sprays line drives to all fields, though he has yet to produce much in the way of extra-base hits or walks. His ability to barrel balls with a quick stroke suggests he could eventually develop double-digit home run power once he adds some much-needed strength.”

Time will tell if he can figure things out, but right now the upside is minimal.

Current Grade – C-

Alexander Ovalles (OF)

Ovalles isn’t as highly regarded as the other two pieces in Tampa Bay’s return, and he didn’t show much in Rookie Ball or Low-A in 2019:

  • Rookie – .377 (126 PA), 2 HR, 18 RBI, 33 R, 2 SB
  • Low-A – .187 (100 PA), 2 HR, 15 RBI, 13 R, 3 SB

He owned a 24.0% strikeout rate at Low-A, though an 8.9% SwStr% gives a little bit more hope. Still, without much power or speed at this point it’s very hard to get excited. He’s still just 20-years old, so there’s time, but we’ll have to see if he can take a step forward in his production.

Current Grade – D

Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs

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