Last night’s three-way trade between the Padres, Indians, and Reds, which was headlined by two mercurial big leaguers, also featured the movement of several notable prospects, including two from our Top 100 (sort of) in left fielder Taylor Trammell, who comes in at No. 31 overall, and left-handed pitcher Logan Allen, who is No. 110. As I move through the trade, talking about the young pieces used to headline, balance, and sweeten this deal to completion, I’ll remind you of who the team gave up to acquire the prospect. I’ll touch on some big league stuff throughout the piece because three-way deals make it hard to isolate analysis to just the prospects, but there’s also analysis that focuses on the major leaguers — including the Reds’ return, which I ignore because they only received a big leaguer — from Dan right here. Let’s begin by looking at the best prospect included in the trade.
LF Taylor Trammell (55 FV)
Trammell becomes our fourth-ranked prospect in a Padres system that we have rated as the second best in baseball; this deal helps San Diego close the gap between itself and No. 1 ranked Tampa Bay by about $20 million.
We like Trammell a lot, even though we moved him down from a 60 to a 55 FV in a recent update to THE BOARD. Until a slight (and ultimately unconcerning) downturn this season, Trammell had been a consistent statistical performer, which is atypical of most two-sport high school prospects (he was an electric high school running back and could have played college football) who often come to the pro game with an unrefined feel to hit. He’s a scowling, intense guy who plays with focus and effort. Across four pro seasons, Trammell has hit .273/.367/.408, amassing 112 extra-base hits and 107 stolen bases (76% success rate) in just shy of 400 career games. He’s a plus-plus runner who could be an elite defender in left field due to his range (his arm is comfortably below average, which is part of why we have him projected to left) and whose combination of speed and ball/strike recognition will likely make him a dynamic offensive catalyst at the top of a lineup.
What Trammell has yet to do is translate what looks like above-average raw power in batting practice to in-game power production. He hasn’t really developed much feel for pulling the ball with power, and remains more of a gap-to-gap hitter and baseline slasher who takes a lot of balls the opposite way. Changes to the way Trammell uses his lower half, which is currently very conservative, may coax out more power, though perhaps it will still just develop naturally. One source compared Trammell’s swing and it’s choppy, abbreviated finish to Chase Utley’s and thought that, like Utley, Trammell would eventually hit for similar power. Our dwindling optimism for real impact from that aspect of the profile combined with growing conviction that he’ll be in left field caused us to move Trammell down from where we had him earlier in the year, but we still think he’s a potential star.
How you feel about the Padres end of this deal probably depends upon what you think of Franmil Reyes who, despite being a productive big league hitter for a full year now, remains polarizing throughout baseball. If he keeps producing the way he has thus far, which is equivalent to what we’d expect from a 45 or 50 FV prospect, then he’ll outpace the 40 FV projection we placed on him while he was in the minors. On the one hand, he’s a controllable 24-year-old with huge power. On the other, he’s a DH who’s currently sporting a .315 OBP. On talent, this strikes me as a pretty even exchange for the Padres, one where they clear two valuable 40-man spots while picking up, in my opinion, the second-best individual talent in this trade who won’t occupy one of those roster spots until sometime in 2020.
RHP Trevor Bauer
Allen is likely to be a 10-start downgrade to Bauer for the rest of 2019, but he’s a controllable No. 4 starter prospect who reached the big leagues at age 22. This isn’t the first time Allen has been traded, as he was drafted by the Red Sox and sent to San Diego as part of the 2015 Craig Kimbrel deal. He’s a four-pitch lefty with an out-pitch changeup and improved slider, which at times is easier to identify out of Allen’s hand because he drops his arm slot a bit to throw it. He’s not as electric as Bauer but Allen should be a solid big league rotation piece, and he’ll be around for a half decade longer than Bauer would have been.
Nova and Moss are two flier prospects. The Reds have done a good job recently of scouting and assessing the signability of some of the University of Florida’s midweek starters and bullpen arms, who sometimes get overlooked due to the depth of talent at that program. One of these was Moss, who was a fourth rounder in 2016 despite having started just five games for the Gators. Now 24, Moss has risen to Double-A where the life and ride on his fastball, which sits 91-94 and touches 96, has helped him strike out 123 batters in 102 innings this year. He has well below-average control and therefore has considerable risk to move to the bullpen. He’s interesting, but is ultimately a mid-20s relief prospect, and even then, only if his fastball ticks up out of the bullpen.
Nova, a teenager in the AZL, is a physical kid with some strength-driven pop and mature feel to hit. At a sculpted 5-foot-9, he’s not all that physically projectable and probably won’t grow into too much more raw power. He also lacks a defensive position right now. The Padres have moved him around here in Arizona, giving him reps at second and third base as well as in the outfield, but none of these has emerged as Nova’s natural position yet. He’s a nice bat-first sleeper to watch develop in a system that has had success developing precocious young hitters.
Both Allen and Nova have been added to the Indians prospect list on THE BOARD. Moss may be added as a 35+ at some point soon or in the offseason.
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.