by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Yesterday the Indians shipped catcher Yan Gomes to the Washington Nationals, netting a pair of prospects and a player to be named later in return. Considering the number of options there are in the catching department it’s hard to argue against the return, especially having received an outfielder who holds intriguing upside. Let’s take a look:
Daniel Johnson – Outfielder
After hitting 22 HR in 2017 split between Single-A and High-A (497 AB), you have to wonder how much of his power outage in ’18 (6 HR in 356 AB at Double-A) was due to a broken hamate bone. It’s likely that it at least played a role, though it wasn’t the sole problem having hit 1 HR in 203 AB between April and May. That said there is still the potential for further development and it’s his speed that’s his best tool. As Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 described him:
He’s a burner and showed it both in the field and on the basepaths. He also showed nice raw power in batting practice. As a hitter, he made good contact but was extremely aggressive at the plate. I was intrigued and wanted to see if he could build on the promise I saw last year.
There are questions about his ability to make consistent contact, as seen in his SwStr% over the past two seasons:
- 2017 – 13.6%
- 2018 – 13.6%
That, coupled with low walk rates (6.4% in ’17, 6.0% in ’18), is going to be a concern. There also is the potential that the left-handed hitter falls into a platoon role, though there is no ignoring the upside potential of the 2016 fifth round selection.
It’s a bit of a wild card for the Indians, but an intriguing one that fills a potential long-term need (along with the similarly under-the-radar addition of Oscar Mercado last season).
Current Grade – B-
Jefry Rodriguez – Right-Handed Pitcher
Rodriguez pitched 52.0 innings in the Majors last season, lacking strikeouts (6.75 K/9) and significantly struggling with his control (6.40 BB/9). That shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, given these numbers split between Double and Triple-A last season (100.2 IP):
- Strikeouts – 9.14 K/9 (12.2% SwStr%)
- Control – 3.84 BB/9
Clearly there’s a little bit more upside in the strikeout department, though an 8.1% SwStr% in the Majors isn’t impressive. Having not worked above High-A prior to 2018 you can opt to give him a pass, but his control has always been questionable. Armed with a fastball that averaged 95.4 mph in the Majors, would it be a surprise if the Indians viewed him as a bullpen asset (and one who could emerge to help fill the gap left by the potential departures of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen)? Obviously that has a negative impact on his long-term outlook, but seems like the likely scenario.
Current Grade – C
Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Prospect 361
Make sure to check out all of our 2019 Top 10 Prospect Lists:
|AL East||AL Central||AL West|
|Baltimore Orioles||Chicago White Sox||Houston Astros|
|Boston Red Sox||Cleveland Indians||Los Angeles Angels|
|New York Yankees||Detroit Tigers||Oakland A's|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Kansas City Royals||Seattle Mariners|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Minnesota Twins||Texas Rangers|
|NL East||NL Central||NL West|
|Atlanta Braves||Chicago Cubs||Arizona Diamondbacks|
|Miami Marlins||Cincinnati Reds||Colorado Rockies|
|New York Mets||Milwaukee Brewers||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Pittsburgh Pirates||San Diego Padres|
|Washington Nationals||St. Louis Cardinals||San Francisco Giants|