by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
In a surprising trade on many levels, the Kansas City Royals have sent their closer, Kelvin Herrera, to the Washington Nationals in exchange for a trio of prospects. Washington is already armed with one of the elite closers in the game in Sean Doolittle, though he does have a history of injuries and protecting themselves does make sense (or it allows them to play matchups, with dynamic options from both the right and left side).
It also would appear that they didn’t have to give up much from a talent perspective to acquire the impending free agent. Let’s look at the return:
Kelvin Gutierrez – Third Baseman
Double-A – .274 (63-230), 5 HR, 26 RBI, 36 R, 10 SB
A third baseman with some speed is nice, but he hasn’t shown much power (he’s added 6 doubles and 3 triples) and currently has a poor approach:
- Strikeouts – 24.9%
- Walks – 6.4%
- SwStr% – 14.2%
The SwStr% has been consistently elevated for the past year and a half, with a 15.2% in ’17. That could further regress as he advances up the ladder, which could lead to some extremely poor results.
There is an expectation that he can tap into a little bit more power, as MLB.com said prior to the season that “club officials do expect him to clear more fences once he becomes more comfortable firing his barrel and turning on the ball”. Time will tell, but right now it’s hard to get excited.
Current Grade – C-
Blake Perkins – Outfielder
High-A – .234 (59-252), 1 HR, 21 RBI, 39 R, 12 SB
A 2015 second round pick, Perkins is a speed first player (31 SB in ’17) who has learned how to switch-hit since being drafted. As MLB.com described him prior to the season:
He made huge strides as a lefty in 2017, collecting 25 of his 39 extra-base hits including all eight of his home runs from that side, albeit with some swing-and-miss tendencies. He’s more contact-oriented with modest gap power from his natural right side, while his patient approach and discerning eye stands out on both sides of the plate.
He’s shown an ability to draw a walk thus far, with a 13.8% mark, though he needs to cut down on his strikeouts (22.0%) and swinging strikes (10.8%) to better capitalize on his skill set. He’s only 21-years old (he won’t turn 22 until November) and is clearly still learning, so give him time. The potential is there to be a factor at the top of the order though.
Current Grade – C+
Yohanse Morel – Right-Handed Pitcher
Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Morel is 17-years old and reportedly throws hard and has a lot of potential. That said, he’s a lifetime away and it’s impossible to know how he’ll develop.
Current Grade – Incomplete
Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, MILB.com
Missed our Top 100 prospect rankings? Make sure to check it out by clicking here. Also don’t miss all of our 2018 Preseason Positional Prospect Lists: