Below are scouting reports on the prospects who changed hands in the three-team trade on Tuesday night that sent OF Steven Souza, Jr. from Tampa Bay to Arizona and INF Brandon Drury from Arizona to the Yankees.
Anthony Banda, LHP
In 2017, Banda struggled at notoriously unforgiving Triple-A Reno, where he posted a 5.39 ERA. He made a spot start in Arizona in July and then was up again in August for a three-start look before he finished the year in the D-backs bullpen. Despite his poor on-paper production in 2017, his stuff remains intact and he profiles as a No. 4 starter. Banda sits 92-95 and will touch 96 with his fastball. He has an above-average changeup that he should probably throw more often and an average curveball in the 77-82 mph range. In light of what’s going on with Tampa Bay right now, he’ll probably exceed rookie limitations in 2017. He’s a 50 FV prospect who appeared within the honorable-mention section of our top-100 list.
Nick Solak, 2B
Solak was a hit-first second-base prospect with elite makeup at Louisville and was targeted by the Yankees (and other teams) as a high-probability big leaguer who might also take an underslot deal. The Yankees signed him for $950,000, about $100,000 below slot, as a second-rounder in 2016.
After slashing .301/.397/.460 at High-A Tampa for much of the year, Solak finished 2017 with Double-A Trenton. He’s a plus runner and is at least an average defender at second base with a chance to be a 55. He puts a surprising charge into the baseball for his size, but his swing is flat-planed and leads to hard, low-lying contact. He’s a 45 FV prospect who either needs a mechanical tweak to tap into more power or to outhit the current 60 projected on his bat to soundly profile as a regular.
Taylor Widener, RHP
Widener’s fastball sat in the 89-93 range in high school and then comfortably in the low-90s out of the bullpen in college at South Carolina. The Yankees drafted him in the 10th round of the 2016 draft and moved him to the rotation. His velocity has continued to climb and he now sits 93-95, touching 98, with natural cut when locating to his glove side, and it even plays up a tick due to extension. He also has an above-average two-plane slider. The reps he’s gotten as a starter in pro ball have enabled him to develop a changeup, which now projects to a 50 on the scouting scale.
Widener made 27 starts at High-A last year and then pitched the final few frames of Double-A Trenton’s combined no-hitter in the Eastern League playoffs. He works around the zone enough to merit continued development as a starter, but his command is pretty fringey. He’s a 40 FV prospect right now with a good chance to be a 45 next year if he continues to develop starter traits. If not, he has a late-inning bullpen fallback, especially if the fastball velo increases after a move to the bullpen.
Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.
prob gonna be an article about this, but Damn, I think I’d take Souza over Martinez all things equal.
Considering you are getting Souza, a younger, much better defensive outfielder, with a big arm, very athletic (committed to play football as well as baseball at Washington State), for next three arbitration years aka dirt cheap money, I would have to agree. Also could very well hit 35 home runs in Chase Field, .350+ OBP, etc. Definitely not a sure thing by any means, but neither is a one-dimensional, somewhat injury prone player who is best suited as a full-time DH, for an NL team. Not trying to hate on Martinez but for the money didn’t make sense for Arizona when this was (presumably) already on the table.
On an anecdotal note, I had Souza on my fantasy baseball team last year. I remember him being very very streaky. When he’s on a good streak though, it makes you feel like a young Ric Flair going “WOOOOOOH”
All things equal, I’d take Martinez. 110 million and 3 million aren’t equal though. Advantage Souza…by a lot.