We are going to start this whole post over after all of the rumors, “done deals” and mis-truths. The Cincinnati Reds have indeed traded outfielder Jay Bruce to the New York Mets.
In the original “done deal” the team had apparently landed outfielder Brandon Nimmo and two prospects for Bruce, but that deal reportedly came apart when the medicals on one of the lesser players wasn’t up to snuff. The deal then turned into infielder Dilson Herrera and left handed pitcher Max Wotell.
For those of you looking toward various prospect lists, you won’t find Dilson Herrera on any of them. It’s not because he’s not good, it’s because not prospect eligible as he has a few too many at-bats in the big leagues to qualify. Heading into the 2015 season he was ranked as the #46 overall prospect in baseball. He then went to Triple-A Las Vegas and hit .327/.382/.511 on the season and got into 31 games with the Mets as a 21-year-old. He struggled somewhat, hitting just .211, but had 11 walks to boost his on-base percentage to .311 and he slugged .367 with seven extra-base hits.
In 2016 he’s spent his entire season with Triple-A Las Vegas where he’s hitting .276/.327/.462 with 24 doubles, two triples and 13 home runs. Las Vegas is a ballpark where things fly quite well, so I wouldn’t expect him to carry that kind of power forward just yet. With that said, he’s got 10-15 home run potential as a big leaguer with perhaps a tad more at his peak. Defensively he’s going to stick at second base, but he doesn’t project to be more than average there. He’s going to provide the value with his bat, which projects quite well moving forward, particularly for a middle infielder.
The other player that is coming the Cincinnati Reds way in the deal with the Mets is left handed pitcher Max Wotell. He was originally rumored to be in the deal that included Nimmo, and he remained in the deal as it progressed. He was a 3rd rounder last season and signed for $775,000. He entered the year as the Mets #17 overall prospect, and was unranked in their Top 10 midseason update by Baseball America.
The 19-year-old has played in short-season baseball this year in the Appalachian League. That’s a league on par with the Pioneer League that starts after the draft. He’s made six starts, throwing just 29.2 innings this year with a 3.94 ERA, 12 walks and 31 strikeouts.
He works in the low 90’s with his fastball, though there may be some projection left as he gets older. He mixes in a good slider and a change up that has the potential to be at least a third average offering.
An initial thought on the trade is that this is a very good haul for the Cincinnati Reds. They have landed what appears to be a future starting middle infielder in Dilson Herrera who has the potential to be a very good hitter and they also grabbed a quality lower level minor league arm with upside to work with. While the trade doesn’t technically improve the farm system when it comes to rankings because Herrera doesn’t qualify any longer, the organization added a significant talent with Herrera. How they will play him over the next year has yet to be determined as he’s a second baseman and we’ve seen how much the team has used Jose Peraza with Brandon Phillips still on the roster. More talent is always better than less talent, and perhaps the organization has other plans for Peraza in the future – maybe taking over at shortstop for Zack Cozart in 2017 (traded during the offseason or at the deadline next year). Maybe the team has changed their plan on him entirely and now see him as more of a utility player. It’s tough to say for sure at this point.