Breaking Down The Prospects Dealt In The Drew Smyly Deals: Is There Value Outside Of Gohara?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

In order to acquire Drew Smyly from the Tampa Bay Rays the Seattle Mariners pulled the trigger on a pair of trades, parting with four prospects in the process.  Let’s take a look at each of them and get to know a little bit about them and their upside:

 

Luiz Gohara – Left-Handed Pitcher
Traded to the Atlanta Braves

He is the best player that the team dealt directly (the argument could be made that Mallex Smith was the best player traded away), as he earned a B+ grade and was our second ranked prospect in the system (click here to view our Top 10).  That’s not to say that he’s a sure thing, as there are obvious questions about his workload and how quickly he will arrive (while he broke out in ’16, he threw just 69.2 innings).  He also has never really been pushed to work late into games.  Just look at this interesting tidbit, courtesy of Baseball America:

“Gohara has pitched more than six innings only once in 48 career starts.”

In other words, it’s impossible to know how he will react to not only being asked to throw 100+ innings in a season but how he’ll be able to handle throwing 7+ innings in a single start.  He’s still young, at 20-years old, but those are important questions that need to be answered.

He did figure out one thing in ’16 as he improved his control, and it appears he brings all three skills to the table:

  • K/9 – 10.5
  • BB/9 – 3.0
  • GO-AO – 1.68

He has the stuff and the talent, and is another impressive young arm that is suddenly flush of them in Atlanta.

 

Thomas Burrows – Left-Handed Pitcher
Traded to the Atlanta Braves

The fourth round pick in 2016 showed big-time strikeout stuff coming out of the bullpen in Low-A (13.5 K/9).  He struggled with his control (4.0 BB/9), though we don’t want to read too much into that.  The bigger thing to watch is right-handed hitters tagging him for a .290 BAA, something he needs to greatly improve if he wants to be a late inning weapon.  At 22-years old he has the potential to move quickly and does have the upside (he holds the school record at Alabama with 30 saves).

 

Carlos Vargas – Shortstop
Traded to the Tampa Bay Rays

Signed out of the Dominican Republic, he won’t turn 18-years old until March.  That didn’t stop him from impressing in ’16, as he hit 7 HR (as well as 11 doubles) while walking (32) nearly as many times as he struck out (35) in his 215 AB.  Baseball America described him by saying:

“Unlike many other international teenage shortstops, Vargas’ most intriguing tool is his power, with most grading his power potential as plus and some plus-plus. He showed big-time power in various international showcases and games before signing”

He is a long way from arriving, but that type of statement and his strong control of the strike zone makes him a player well worth keeping tabs on.  Whether he sticks at shortstop or is forced to move off the position, it appears that the bat has the potential to carry him.

 

Ryan Yarbrough – Left-Handed Pitcher
Traded to the Tampa Bay Rays

Listed at 6’5”, he threw 128.1 innings at Double-A last season pitching to a 2.95 ERA and 1.11 WHIP.  He doesn’t generate a significant number of strikeouts (6.9 K/9), though he featured excellent control (2.2 BB/9) and enough groundballs (1.24 GO/AO in ’16, 1.51 over his minor league career).

Without the strikeouts the ceiling isn’t especially high.  Tampa Bay has a habit of finding some under-the-radar pitchers and developing them, but at this point we aren’t sure he becomes anything more than a fifth starter or bullpen arm.

 

Sources – Baseball-Reference, MILB.com, Baseball America

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Grading System:
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On

Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
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New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
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