The Cincinnati Reds have reportedly traded Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox in a 3-team trade that also included the Dodgers. The Dodgers sent three prospects to the Reds as a part of the deal.
The Reds have acquired 25-year-old outfielder Scott Schebler, 23-year-old infielder/outfielder Brandon Dixon and 21-year-old infielder/outfielder Jose Peraza in return for moving Frazier to the White Sox. Let’s take a look at the three players.
Schebler was originally drafted in the 26th round of the 2010 draft by the Dodgers as a 19-year-old out of Des Moines Area College. He signed for well over-slot money, getting a $300,000 signing bonus to sign (4th/5th round money at the time). He has moved through the Dodgers system at a steady pace, reaching the Major Leagues in 2015 for 19 games, though he played sparingly, getting just 40 plate appearances.
He entered the season as the Dodgers #8 prospect according to Baseball America, but his 2015 season wasn’t a strong one, hitting just .241/.322/.410 in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League (after posting an OPS of .921 the year before in the Double-A Southern League).
He’s already on the 40-man roster, but the Reds have room for him. A quick scouting report on him suggests above-average power potential from the left side of the plate (he hit 28 home runs in Double-A in 2014 – he also smacked a 444 foot home run in September off of James Shields this past season) with good bat speed. He’s an average speed guy who can play both left or right field. His 2015 season was a step backwards, but in the past he’s hit everywhere he’s ever been. In the 2014 season he cut down on his strikeout rate and that carried over into the 2015 season. His walk rate has also improved over his time in the minor leagues, though it’s just now at a level that isn’t below-average.
Dixon was originally drafted by the Dodgers in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft out of the University of Arizona. Despite his pedigree from a big time college program he has really struggled as a professional. For his career he has hit just .247/.281/.396. He finally showed some life with the bat in the 2015 season, but it came in his second go-around in the California League as a 23-year-old with a second half spent in Double-A Tulsa. On the bright side, he had 25 doubles, five triples and 19 home runs to go along with 26 steals on a .263/.303/.443 line, though he only hit .244/.272/375 in Double-A. On the down side, he had just 28 walks to go with 144 strikeouts, representing a serious plate approach or pitch recognition issue that doesn’t bode well for the future of his bat.
He was sent to the Arizona Fall League following the season and in 66 plate appearances hit .295/.318/.508 with seven extra-base hits, three walks and 15 strikeouts.
The Atlanta Braves signed Jose Perez out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old in 2010 for $350,000. He entered the season as the Braves #1 prospect, but was traded to the Dodgers during the 2015 season. He spent most of the year in Triple-A where he hit .293/.316/.378 before getting a late season call with the Dodgers in August for a week, then spending most of September on their bench.
There are some questions about whether he’s a true shortstop or more of a second baseman, but he can handle shortstop if you want him to and profiles well at second base. He’s also spent some time in center field recently where his plus-plus speed can play well. He has used his speed to steal 47, 44 and 43 bases over the last three seasons.
At the plate he’s a high contact hitter, striking out just 47 times in the 2015 season over 546 plate appearances. With that approach though comes an extreme lack of walks, drawing just 19 base on balls during the year, giving him a low on-base percentage despite hitting .293. Power is not a part of his game, as 10 home runs would seem to be the absolute best expectation you could get from him (he hit a career best four home runs in 2015).
My initial reaction to this trade is this: That’s all you could get for a 30 home run, gold glove caliber third baseman with two years on his contract? Jose Pereaza has a high prospect ranking, but his ceiling is that of an average at best middle infielder and he’s the guy leading this trade. He’s a low on-base percentage, no power speedster who may not be able to play shortstop on an everyday basis.
There is some upside with Scott Schebler. You have to like the power potential there, but he’s also coming off of a relatively poor season for a 24-year-old in Triple-A where his OPS was below the league average. Of course, there’s also a high probability that he’s a future 4th/5th outfielder.
Brandon Dixon finally showed some life with the bat in 2015 as a 23-year-old, but it came with terrible plate discipline and he was entirely in over his head once he reached Double-A.
Both Peraza and Schebler should compete for jobs out of spring training with the Reds, but don’t be surprised if both wind up back in Triple-A when the season begins.
The return for Todd Frazier seems like it should have included someone with star potential, even if they weren’t there yet. Instead, it seems like the Reds got back guys who look like maybe they could be solid contributors if things go right for them, but mostly look like utility types of guys. That’s not the kind of return you would expect for a guy who has hit .264/.322/.479 with 64 home runs over the last two seasons who still has two years left on his contract.