Obviously, the single biggest story in the world of the Cincinnati Reds this week has been the deadline deal that sent Jay Bruce to the New York Mets for 2B Dilson Herrera and LHP Max Wotell. Thanks to the good ol' fashioned Googles, it's easy to look up their stats, but it's always helpful to get a bit of perspective from the folks that have followed them as closely over the years as we have with, say, Alex Blandino and Antonio Santillan. A quick look at Blandino's stats this year would scream "hey, he's not worth a dang anymore," to which we Reds prospect nerds could quickly counter with "yeah, but a leg injury knocked him out of the WBC when he was with Team Nicaragua, cost him the first portion of the season, and now he's knocked the cover off the ball for the last 12 games." That you won't find on Baseball Reference.
Thankfully, our friends at Amazin' Avenue love their minor leaguers just like we do, and their Steve Sypa gave us a closer look at not just what Dilson Herrera and Max Wotell have put in the stat sheet, but how they've gone about doing it, too. Thanks to this, I now know that he wasn't merely optioned back to AAA after a rough 10 game stint in a call-up to the big leagues in 2015, it was a broken finger that sent him to the shelf for three weeks. Given how the hamate injury Yonder Alonso suffered way back when impacted his power numbers for a stretch and how Phil Ervin's largely unreported wrist surgery sapped his offense in 2014, it's these little nuances that make the numbers sometimes a slight bit more telling than they otherwise would have been, and for that we thank the crew at AA.
FanGraphs has been all over the projections for the prospects and young players traded at the deadline, and Chris Mitchell has provided a pair of stat-heavy posts that may be of interest to at least some of you. The first one deals with overall team upgrades/downgrades based on his KATOH+ projections, while the second breaks down each of the major trades and provides potential comps for each player included. If you scroll down in the second post to Herrera, you'll find a pair of potential comps that should give you a smile: Brandon Phillips and Ian Kinsler.
That's on top of what Mitchell had to say about Herrera in a piece dedicated solely to him from back in March, where he acknowledged the broken finger and said "everything about Hererra’s minor league track record suggests he’ll make for a very good second baseman." I'll take that.
Sticking with FanGraphs - because hey, why not? - their 2016 Mets Prospects Primer ranked Wotell as the #19 prospect in the system, but still had this to say about him:
Wotell may be the pitcher I’d least like to face as a hitter from last year’s draft class. He has a funky delivery with a lot of side-to-side movements, but has a three-pitch mix the Mets think could all be above-average offerings.
That ranking reflects the rawness Wotell currently possesses, but it's clear they think there's enough talent in his left arm to be ranked much higher if he continues to develop. Also, notice if you will the decidedly so-so evaluation of Brandon Nimmo, who was reported to have been a part of the original Bruce trade. Herrera didn't qualify for this year's list due to his expired rookie eligibility, but he ranked 5th on their list the year before (just behind Michael Conforto), and here's a link to that particular evaluation.
In other news, you can read Jim Bowden leatherpantsing on the Reds' move at the deadline, since he graded all 30 teams and generally didn't know what he was talking about with any of them. It's behind an ESPN paywall, though, since his is the kind of expert opinion that demands subscriptions.
Scott Schebler's moonball honker last night put him in some very, very exclusive company in Reds history, as our former fearless leader Joel Luckhaupt noted on Twitter.
Finally, Zack Cozart was a late scratch yesterday because of a bruised finger he picked up during batting practice prior to the game, but he was still wearing a Cincinnati Reds uniform when it happened. C. Trent Rosecrans of The Enquirer had a chance to talk to Cozart about the anxiety-driven deadline he faced, and also got some awesome quotes from Jay Bruce about Cozart's role with the team going forward.