The Dodgers, Royals, and White Sox executed a three-team trade on Thursday night. Los Angeles acquired 28-year-old lefty Scott Alexander from Kansas City and INF Jake Peter from Chicago while sending RHP Trevor Oaks and INF Erick Mejia to Kansas City and Luis Avilan to Chicago. In addition to Avilan, the White Sox received reliever Joakim Soria from Kansas City and cash from both other teams.
Travis Sawchik examined the deal last night from the Dodgers’ perspective. Below are scouting reports on Alexander (who exhausted rookie eligibility in 2018 but still has a developing skill set) and the deal’s prospects. Notes and prose are a combination of my own and Kiley McDaniel’s.
Going to Los Angeles
Scott Alexander, LHP (from Royals)
The late-blooming lefty was an effective MLB reliever last year, posting a 2.48 ERA on the back of a 73% ground-ball rate. He relies on a sinker that he throws a whopping 94% of the time, working at 92-94 and touching 96 with plus-plus life. It’s average velocity jumped nearly three ticks last year, while the usage jumped accordingly from 72%. He barely used his slider, but it’s an above-average pitch now — also with three ticks more velo — that scouts think he should throw more often. Alexander’s slider may work against righties effectively, as well, due to its more vertical shape (versus a normal slider). He may not miss many bats but is an effective relief piece who might only just be discovering something unique.
Jake Peter, UTIL (from White Sox)
Peter reached the upper levels of the minors as a high-contact, lefty-batting second-base prospect, then started seeing time at new positions during the 2015 Arizona Fall League. The following year, he had yet more reps allocated to third base, shortstop and left field, and, most significantly, began making adjustments to his swing that would eventually yield a bit of a breakout at the plate in 2017.
Peter began using a leg kick, had more active hands as he set up and was taking more a more violent, high-effort swing late in 2016 and more so in 2017. He started hitting the ball harder and pulling the ball more, ending 2017 with a .292/.351/.506 line in 45 games at Triple-A Charlotte. Peter’s strikeout rate did tick up, to 24.0% in 2017 against a 17.7% mark split between Double and Triple-A in 2016. Charlotte is a favorable run-scoring environment, but Peter has made tangible mechanical changes and his hand-eye coordination, his most exceptional attribute, enables the more violent swing.
Peter was almost exclusively a second baseman in 2017 with a little bit of time spent in the outfield corners and at third base. He’s a below-average defensive infielder with sluggish footwork and actions. He’s below-average runner with an average arm. The likely reserve options on the Dodgers’ 40-man are overwhelmingly right-handed, especially among those capable of playing the infield, and Logan Forsythe hit .190 against righties last year. Peters projects as fairly versatile bench bat and he has a path to a 2018 debut.
Going to Kansas City
Trevor Oaks, RHP (from Dodgers)
While Alexander is a study in extremes, Oaks is a type of player everyone has seen before, throwing a sinker/slider combination and the occasional changeup vs. lefties. He’s a pitch-to-contact back-end starter. Oaks works 90-93, touching 95, with above-average life and plane on his sinker, throwing lots of strikes and generating an above-average ground-ball rate. His 84-87 mph slider is average, he fills the zone with it, and he uses it a lot when he gets ahead in the count. Oaks’ changeup is below average but usable. Some scouts question his upside, and his velocity was down a tick in 2017. He looked very hittable at times in the PCL. Oaks has earned an MLB chance next year and, as an efficient sinker/slider guy who won’t generate many whiffs, his best role may be as a multi-inning swing man, especially if there’s more velo in short stints.
Oaks was scratched from a July 4th start with an oblique injury and didn’t pitch again until the end of August when he made three rehab starts at Rookie-level ball. He didn’t receive a fall- or winter-ball assignment, nor was he listed on Los Angeles instructional league roster. He struck out 72 and walked 18 in 84 innings at Triple-A before the injury.
Erick Mejia, UTIL (from Dodgers)
Mejia had a respectable 2017 at Double-A Tulsa, slashing .289/.357/.413 while learning third base and seeing lots of time at more familiar positions, shortstop and second. The switch-hitting 23-year-old has viable swings from both sides of the plate and projects to have an average hit tool with below-average game power. He’s a flashy albeit somewhat erratic defender and only average in aggregate, though he has the athleticism and range (he’s a plus runner) to be above average if he can continue to refine his defense. He projects as a utility infielder.
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.