The Cincinnati Reds have traded Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants for two minor leaguers. The Giants 2nd best prospect according to the Baseball America midseason update, RHP Keury Mella is headlining the return for Leake. He’s joined in the deal by 26-year-old infielder Adam Duvall.
The 21-year-old Mella has spent his entire 2015 season in the hitter friendly California League and the results have been quite strong, posting a 3.31 ERA in 16 starts with 26 walks and 83 strikeouts in 81.2 innings pitched.
There’s some concern with his delivery, with the scout I spoke with calling it rough, but he said he’d keep him starting for now even though he’s not sure if he’s a surefire starter. His fastball works in the 93-96 MPH range with good action. The change up flashes itself as a plus pitch and his curveball can flash above-average, but is still inconsistent and lags behind the other two offerings.
Duvall has spent the majority of his time in 2015 at first and third base, but he’s also played 10 games in the outfield. He entered the season as the Giants 13th best prospect according to Baseball America. The Giants play in rather friendly home ballparks in their farm system, but he’s had seasons of 22, 30 and 27 home runs in the past, and this season he’s already hit 26 for Triple-A Sacramento.
The scouts buy into the power being real, but they aren’t sold that he can be more than a backup corner infielder with good pop off of the bench. With an ability to play both corner spots and maybe even some outfield, he could make for a nice bench player rather soon for the Reds if they wanted to call him up. He had limited action with the Giants in 2014, coming off of their bench to play mostly 1st base.
I like this deal. While there is some risk here with Keury Mella sticking as a starter, there’s a lot to like with three potentially above-average pitches and two of them possibly being plus. If he has to move to the bullpen, he profiles as a potential closer. He’s thrown strikes in his career and he’s missed bats. The mechanics need improvement if he’s going to remain a starter though, but that’s a real arm the organization just picked up.
Adam Duvall can probably join the Reds tomorrow and help them out off of the bench. Whether that happens or not is a different story, but he brings something to the table that the Reds have sorely been lacking for a long time now: power off of the bench. With the ability to play multiple positions he may actually get some usage other than just as a pinch hitter every so often.