by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
On the surface it may seem like a surprise that the Mets shipped out a pair of prospects to Miami to acquire A.J. Ramos. That said, with an eye towards ’18 it makes sense as Ramos could step in and form a formidable 1-2 punch with a hopefully healthy Jeurys Familia at the back of the bullpen. Another twist to the deal, which could easily be overlooked, comes courtesy of Baseball America:
“Gonzalez and Cespedes are both eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter unless they were placed on the 4o-man roster, giving more context to why the Mets would be willing to trade two Top 30 prospects now.”
It makes sense, though that doesn’t mean that Miami didn’t get value back. Let’s take a quick look at the players they acquired:
Merandy Gonzalez – Right Handed Pitcher
The 21-year old has split time between two levels of Single-A this season, impressing at both stops:
- Single-A – 1.55 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 8.40 K/9, 1.68 BB/9 over 69.2 IP
- High-A – 2.23 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 5.94 K/9, 1.98 BB/9 over 36.1 IP
MLB.com described his arsenal by saying:
“He pitched at 93 mph with Brooklyn but showed he can reach back for 96-97 mph. He’ll throw a very good curveball and messes with a slider, and they will run into each other at times. He has the ability to throw an above-average breaking ball, and likes to throw it, so getting him to focus on one might help him developmentally. His changeup is developing, and he needs to throw it more often so it can improve. While he’s generally around the strike zone, he does leave balls in the middle of the plate at times. With good athleticism and a repeatable delivery, his command should improve over time.”
Listed at 6’0” it’s possible that he’s a better fit as a reliever (where he could move quickly), and he also could run the risk of becoming home run prone (0.89 GO/AO overall this season) as he advances. That said, in a weaker Marlins’ farm system he’s going to be among the better options and a pitcher worth watching.
Ricardo Cespedes – Outfielder
The left-handed hitting 19-year old climbed above Rookie Ball this season, with 92 AB between Low-A and Single-A. The results weren’t all that impressive, and at this point he’s more projection then actual results with the potential for production across the board (though there are obviously questions). Baseball America described him by saying:
“Cespedes, who had the same trainer as top Mets prospect Amed Rosario, has interesting-but-raw tools, with at least average speed and potential above-average defense in center field. His hit tool is a question mark for some scouts, although he has an easy swing that sprays the ball to all fields. He won’t hit for much power, but could be a top-of-the-order hitter if he improves his approach. Some scouts see him as a fourth-outfielder type and as a hitter who’s yet to get established in full season ball, he’s a long ways away.”
For a rebuilding franchise Cespedes makes sense to take the gamble on, though they are going to have to show patience and allow him to develop while protecting him on the 40-man roster this offseason.
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, MLB.com, Baseball America
Make sure to check out our Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects by clicking here!