The Blue Jays’ made their first move of the deadline last night, sending late-inning reliever Seung Hwan Oh to Colorado for two minor leaguers, CF Forrest Wall and 1B Chad Spanberger. They made their second one this afternoon, exchanging LHP J.A. Happ for IF Brandon Drury and Triple-A left fielder Billy McKinney of the Yankees.
Wall was a comp-round pick out of high school and played second base because of a 40 arm on which he underwent shoulder surgery as an amateur. He’s since moved to center field and is still the advanced hitter he was as a prep, but the game power hasn’t showed up yet and he’s had some minor injuries along with some streakiness. Given the complications along the way, Wall probably ends up as a hit-first, multi-positional fourth outfielder, with some chance of less (an up/down guy) or more (low-end everyday center fielder for a few years). He’s maintained his 45 FV preseason grade.
Spanberger had a hot finish to his draft year last spring at Arkansas, showing off his 70-grade lefty raw power. He’s a late-count power guy who will always strike out some and occasionally gets overeager to launch one, chasing at times. He’s below average in terms of speed, defense, and positional value — and he also has some contact questions — so the power needs to show up in games and he needs to be patient enough to allow it to happen. He’s 22 in Low-A, so he’ll also need to move quicker to avoid becoming a Quad-A slugger or pinch-hitter, the latter of which is a luxury for which most teams don’t have a roster spot. He’s a soft 40 FV, but that will likely change given how he performs next year against more advanced pitching.
McKinney was a first-rounder in 2013 by Oakland and was traded for Addison Russell in an exchange with the Cubs, then again in 2016 to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal. He’s been a similar player the whole time, a medium-framed left-field-only defender with fringe to average speed, a 40 arm, and an average glove in left. What’s changed is that, in the past few seasons, he’s gone from a line-drive, hit-over-power type (which would probably make him a platoon/bench player) to a power-over-hit type with lift (which fits more in today’s game). With this shift, the outcome looks something like a soft 50 hit grade with 55 game power and a 50 glove, the lefty-hitting side of a solid platoon — and with no service time, to boot. He’s still a 40+ FV for us, as some stuff still needs to go well in the big leagues to turn into a 45+ or 50 FV type player, and there’s no margin for error given his profile.
Kiley McDaniel has worked as an executive and scout, most recently for the Atlanta Braves, also for the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates. He's written for ESPN, Fox Sports and Baseball Prospectus. Follow him on twitter.
You guys don’t give too many dings for batters with swing and miss tendencies…
Because that’s not a major red flag in today’s offensive environment. Just about every good hitter strikes out 20% of the time or more