Eduardo Nunez Shipped to the Dock of the Bay

The “Wait, that Eduardo Nunez?” season continued unabated on Thursday night. From a fill-in for legends, to sub replacement player, to reclamation project, to All-Star and now desired trade candidate. That’s a road few players travel. That road now leads him to San Francisco, as the Giants acquired him Thursday night from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor league pitcher Adalberto Mejia.

Nunez is the sort of player who you can see whatever you want to see in him. If you would like to focus on the positives, there are those. He’s one of just seven players this season to rack up 20 or more stolen bases, and of those seven, he is just one of three to also have double digits in home runs. That’s not too shabby, and something the Giants could use at third base. Matt Duffy, before he got hurt, had seen a power drought. His .133 ISO in 2015 has dropped to .105 this year. For the second straight year, Nunez is running a ISO in the .140s, and the year before that, he had a .132 ISO. He didn’t hit for much power in New York, but that has changed in his time in Minnesota.

Should Duffy come back and play like he did last year, Nunez will likely shift into a utility role. And it is in those roles where you can see the negative aspects in Nunez as well. He is an infielder who doesn’t really play any infield positions all that well (August will have more on this tomorrow). He’s also logged outfield time sparingly, and perhaps he will see outfield time if Duffy does come back strong.

Looking offensively, Nunez is a free swinger. Among qualified hitters, his Swing% ranks 20th overall. His O-Swing%, 25th overall. His Contact% is equally as high, but you’d always rather face a hitter who is willing to chase pitches than one who isn’t.

For him, the Giants surrended Mejia. Mejia has made some downballot prospect noise, scoring 94th on the improved KATOH 100 just this week. Does that make him a can’t miss prospect? Certainly not. Despite putting up a 2.45 ERA and 3.41 FIP in Double-A last season, the Giants started him back in Double-A again, making it the third season he was a member of the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Back there again to start 2016, Mejia put up a 1.94 ERA and 3.19 FIP and finally notched that promotion to Triple-A.

Since getting there, he has improved his K%, but has fallen victim to the home run ball, as is the rite of passage for a pitcher in the Pacific Coast League. He might be too of a prospect to sacrifice for a utility infielder. However, the big knock on Mejia has been his fastball command, and as such, he’s a player with a wide range of possible performances. When you’re trying to maintain a division lead and keep your even year mojo, this is not necessarily the kind of pitcher you think twice about dealing.

Paul Swydan used to be the managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for and The Boston Globe. Now, he owns The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, an independent bookstore in Acton, Mass. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan. Follow the store @SilUnicornActon.

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7 years ago

I could be wrong here, but it seems like the Giants did incredibly well in this deal. Interested to see more on this.