Hawaiian LHP Kodi Medeiros was part of a high-risk 2014 Brewers draft class that also featured SS Jake Gatewood (who had elite raw power but also contact issues) and OF Monte HarrisonChristian Yelich). On Thursday, he was the centerpiece of two-prospect package traded to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for ageless reliever Joakim Soria.
Medeiros was a curious selection in the middle of the 2014 draft’s first round, as he had command issues and a low-slot delivery that made him vulnerable against right-handed hitters. The gap between where Medeiros was, developmentally, and where he’d eventually need to be in order to profile as a starter was much greater than is typical of a top-15 pick, even as far as high-school pitching is concerned.
After parts of four years in pro ball, Medeiros continues to have issues with strike-throwing efficiency and with getting right-handed batters out, so while he has been developed as a starter (which makes sense if you believe the extra reps help accelerate or improve pitch development), he still projects in relief. His fastball velocity is down beneath what it was when Medeiros was drafted, now residing in the 88-92 range. A move to the bullpen might reignite some of the fire that has been lost and, if it does, then Medeiros’s fastball, plus slider, and low arm slot mean he’ll be death to lefty hitters in late innings.
The White Sox also acquired 20-year-old righty Wilber Perez from the Brewers. Signed as a 19-year-old in July of last year, Perez pitched the rest of the summer in the DSL. He’s still down there and has a 47:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 40 innings this year. His fastball sits in the upper 80s and rarely crests 90, but he can manipulate its shape to have cut. Perez can spin a soft breaking ball, and there’s significant spin rate separation between his fastball and changeup, a favorable trait. He’s a fringe prospect in need of more velocity. There’s room on Perez’s frame for more weight, but most of these guys are relatively maxed out, physically, around age 22, so projecting heavily on a 20-year-old’s velo based purely on physical maturation seems excessive.
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.