Trade Review: Is There Any Upside In The Prospects Included In The Mike Zunino/Mallex Smith Trade?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While the first “significant” offseason trade centered around the swap of Mike Zunino and Mallex Smith, there was also a prospect component to the deal.  Let’s take a look at the players switching teams and if there’s any potential long-term appeal:

 

OF Jake Fraley to Seattle
Selected 77th overall in 2016, Fraley is now 23-years old (he’ll turn 24 in May) and has yet to advance past High-A.  He was productive when on the field last season, hitting .347 with 4 HR, 41 RBI, 39 R and 11 SB over 260 PA, though the competition level and a bloated BABIP (.407) have to be taken into account.  That’s not to say that there weren’t positives:

  • Approach – 7.9% SwStr% (leading to a 16.9% strikeout rate)
  • Walks – 10.0%
  • Oppo% – 30.5%

Those numbers would profile as a potential top of the order bat, and one who could move quickly.  We’ll have to see how the numbers translate against upper-level talent, as even when he was drafted Baseball America described him by saying:

“The Rays picked Fraley No. 77 overall and gave him a $797,500 signing bonus based on his performance and impact defense and speed. He is a lefthanded hitter with a wide open stance and a high hand set that gives his swing length, but also enables him to generate hard contact. Fraley has average bat speed and doesn’t project as an offensive force”

He’ll be an interesting name to watch, but don’t expect more than being a fourth or fifth outfielder today.

Current Grade – C

 

LHP Michael Plassmeyer to Tampa Bay
A fourth round selection in 2018, Plassmeyer flashed above average skills at Low-A upon his professional debut:

  • Strikeouts – 16.50 K/9 (courtesy of a 16.3% SwStr%)
  • Control – 1.50 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 46.5%

Obviously it’s too early to draw conclusions, as he was a 21-year old pitching against younger competition.  After the draft Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times published the following scouting report, courtesy of Baseball America:

Plassmeyer is a back-of-the-rotation starter who has earned notice as a useful draftee because of his reliability and plus control. Plassmeyer gained a tick to his fastball this year, although he still sits at a modest 86-90 mph although he’ll now bump 92 early in outings. He’s also improved his slider this year, refining it into an average offering. His changeup is a below-average pitch at this point. 

That makes it easy to envision him regressing as he advances up the ladder and it’s hard to get overly excited, despite the impressive numbers.

Current Grade – C

Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com, Seattle Times

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