The Boston Red Sox farm system was stripped of two of their top prospects to get Chris Sale. Just how have all four prospects in the trade performed? Would you do it again?
The Boston Red Sox had that rare opportunity to pick up an ace pitcher in Chris Sale. Occasionally fortune does strike and a Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, and even a Josh Beckett become available. With Sale, the price was steep – very steep.
Would you do the trade again based on how the shopped prospects are performing? Of course, as Sale has been as advertised and he is under contract through 2019. So just what does it look like for the four who departed? Here is the current look.
Luis Alexander Basabe is the 13th ranked prospect for Chicago. The switch-hitting 21-year-old outfielder is still the proverbial work in progress after hitting just .221 in 2017 for Winston – Salem (A+). Basabe returned to Winston-Salem this season and is not in the early going hitting an impressive .372 (through 4/16).
"Basabe is still very much a work in progress offensively because his stroke gets long and he’s still learning to recognize pitches and control the strike zone. He has impressive bat speed and strength in his hands and wrists, and Chicago hopes to unlock his raw power by getting him to take a more direct path to the ball. With his plus speed and basestealing acumen, he could be a 20-20 player if he improves as a hitter. – Prospect Watch"
Victor Diaz is a 23-year-old righty who is on the disabled list. Hampered by injuries in 2017 Diaz appeared in only 12 games allowing 19 runs in just 12 innings. Diaz is not ranked in Chicago’s top-30 and health and performance make his future bleak despite possessing a fastball that occasionally tops out at 100 MPH.
"Stuff profiles in a late-inning reliever role, but very far away. Lottery ticket at this point with an elite fastball, well below-average breaking ball, and well below-average control. With the premium on late-inning relievers with velocity, Diaz is an intriguing prospect, especially if he can take strides with his secondary offerings and become a more complete pitcher. – Sox Prospects"
If you enjoy the heat then watch second-ranked prospect Michael Kopech pitch – just stay a safe distance. Kopech has a bit of Nuke LaLoosh is his control and quite possibly in his personality. What Kopech does have is a high plateau major league career if he controls his fastball and temperament.
"Kopech just needs some refinement before he’s ready to pitch at the front of a big league rotation. He’ll flash a plus changeup with sink, though it’s inconsistent and often more of a fringy offering. He walked 4.5 batters per nine innings through his first four years as a pro, though he’s often able to power his way out of self-created jams and cut his walk rate to 2.8 in the second half of 2017.- Prospect Watch"
This spring Kopech was invited to the White Sox camp and made a less than impressive performance allowing 11 runs over seven innings. In the four games in which Kopech appeared, he walked seven and stuck out seven. His first start at Charlotte (AAA) this season was an impressive four innings, but the pitch count (77) was the concern.
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Last season at Birmingham (AA) – where Kopech resided for most of the season – he showed the two facets of his game that get attention. The first was 155 strikes outs and the second was 60 walks and that was in 119.1 innings. Do not be surprised if the 22-year-old right-hander makes a summer visit to the MLB roster for the rebuilding White Sox.
Yoan Moncada is similar to Kopech in the strikeout category. The unfortunate aspect is Moncada is a position player and not a pitcher. The ultra-talented switch-hitting 23-year-old is viewed as a five-tool player, but one tool needs some serious refitting.
With a 41.1 K% (through 4/16) a problem exists that certainly impacts Moncada’s ability to ring up impressive numbers. In 2017, the rate was 32% so you have an indication of Moncada’s contact ability. Last season, Moncada hit just .231 in his 54 games with the White Sox but did hit .276 in September with five home runs and 11 RBI. So far Moncada has been rather quiet on the basepaths with only three steals in five attempts in 2017.
Will Moncada meet the level of success predicted? The beauty of opportunity is this is the White Sox and they can afford the time to be patient with Moncada. In Boston, the outcome would have been significantly different as we all so at the end of the 2016 season.
The Red Sox made a choice with Moncada in this deal or maybe it was the White Sox that made the choice? Rafael Devers or Moncada? The early indications are Devers was a more opportune selection, but both players are young. As the saying goes: Moncada may look like Tarzan but hits like Jane – at least for now.