The Mets augmented their bench and reliever depth yesterday by way of a small commerce with the Reds, buying 10-year veteran Tyler Naquin and up/down lefty Phillip Diehl in trade for 2 Low-A minor leaguers, second baseman Hector Rodriguez and right-hander Jose Acuna.
In a platoon position for the Reds, Naquin was hitting .246/.305/.444 total and .264/.333/.472 towards right-handed pitching, taking part in proper subject nearly solely. Each lefty-hitting reserve outfielders, Naquin and Travis Jankowski, are all of a sudden redundant on the Mets’ bench, which could imply they transfer on from the latter. Jankowski has simply 9 hits all 12 months, none since Could (he was injured for a stretch), and had been decreased to a uncommon defensive alternative and frequent pinch runner main as much as the commerce. Naquin isn’t as quick as Jankowski nor nearly as good a defender, however he has one of many higher throwing arms in baseball and generally is a particular form of defensive alternative of his personal (aka a sac fly sniper) and supply meaningfully extra with the bat than his fellow 2012 first-rounder. Brandon Nimmo’s middle subject protection is such that Jankowski hardly ever represents a significant improve at his most succesful, useful place. A skillset like Naquin’s is a puzzle piece that matches extra snuggly with righty-hitting nook mainstays Starling Marte and Mark Canha, although Jankowski is out of choices and was DFA’d shortly after publication of this piece.
Diehl offers lefty aid depth at Triple-A — useful, provided that the Mets’ 40-man is skinny on southpaws. Joely Rodríguez has been fairly wild this 12 months and has had stretches of inactivity; he didn’t pitch between July 8 and July 22 (a few of that’s the All-Star break), and his two appearances since then have been unhealthy. David Peterson has been a starter for all however a sliver of his complete profession however moved to the bullpen on July 24 and has given up runs in every of his two outings because the transfer. In Syracuse are Thomas Szapucki (beginning depth for now) and up to date waiver declare Sam Clay, who’s on his third NL East org this month. Each Diehl and Clay are low-90s fastball/slider lefties. Diehl’s fastball performs up and to his arm aspect and has a bit of extra bat-missing skill than Clay’s, however Clay has the higher breaking ball. Both of these two may pitch their means into the large league bullpen if the few at present in entrance of them wrestle into the stretch run.
The rebuilding Reds obtain 18-year-old Rodriguez, who has spent a lot of the 12 months on the Advanced, the place he’s hit .356/.387/.558 in southeast Florida; the Mets gave him a two-game espresso at Low-A in mid-July earlier than sending him again down. A plus runner, Rodriguez has principally performed middle subject this 12 months however has expertise everywhere in the diamond (second and left within the Low-A video games), and his long-term outlook contains defensive versatility. He’s a compact (5-foot-8) lefty batter (60 run, 40 arm) who has precocious bat management regardless of restricted energy. Extra related than precisely the place he ranks on a prospect checklist (thirty eighth on the Mets, now 49th on the Reds in case you had been curious) is that he’s a proficient developmental utility prospect within the very early phases of his professional profession.
The opposite prospect coming again is 19-year-old Acuna, a 6-foot-2 righty with medium projection, who dominated Advanced-level ball in Florida earlier than making two Low-A begins previous to the commerce. He sits 90–94 mph from a three-quarters slot, imparting sink and tail on his heater. His mid-80s cutter/slider has quick, glove-side motion and is below-average proper now, but when it may be reshaped and stay at this velocity, that pitch could possibly be an efficient weapon. Acuna additionally deadens spin on his low-80s changeup (within the 1,500–1,600 rpm vary), which he’s already snug throwing to right-handed hitters. He’ll deliberately differ the tempo of his supply as a means of disrupting hitters’ timing and has a fairly superior really feel to pitch for a teen.
As a result of Acuna isn’t particularly projectable and his fastball has restricted in-zone, bat-missing utility, he’s extra the sort of prospect who can be on the honorable point out of an inventory relatively than stuffed in its important part, particularly at this distance from the large leagues. If we apples-to-apples Acuna to different pitching prospects that may present higher context, I’d level to the junior faculty pitchers who are inclined to go mid-to-late Day Two of the draft, in this area and past. Pathways to impression for Acuna are: if his slider high quality takes a leap, or if he finally ends up with superlative command. He provides depth to a Reds farm system that already has a very good little bit of it.