This will be my last byline in June 2016. That means the midway point of the season is inching closer. We still don’t know what kind of team the Red Sox are, but by now we know who’s been good, who’s been bad and what needs to change in the second half if they are to remain competitive.
Regardless of how you view this season thus far, it’s still a big improvement from last year. Some of those first-half successes can be attributed to changes made in the offseason, such as signing David Price and Chris Young and trading for Craig Kimbrel (sorry, Carson Smith). But those changes, particularly the trades, also required parting ways with some notable players. Yes, the Red Sox acquired talent, but gone are promising prospects such as Manuel Margot and Javier Guerra, as well as complementary pieces like starting pitcher Wade Miley.
We’ve seen how these moves have worked for the Red Sox, but what about the teams on the other side of the deals? What kind of contributions have the likes Margot, Guerra and Miley made to their new clubs, and what does it mean for those players going forward?
Let’s start with the Kimbrel deal. The Sox sent Margot, Guerra, Carlos Asuaje and Logan Allen to San Diego for the four-time All-Star closer. Kimbrel, as I wrote last week, has become the player the Red Sox were hoping to get. The Padres may be a mess, but they aren’t missing Kimbrel, either. Fernando Rodney owns a 0.31 ERA and 2.32 FIP, and San Diego’s newcomers have shown good potential in the minor leagues.
2015: .270 TAv, .147 ISO and 1.1 WARP in 64 games with Double-A Portland; .273 TAv, .138 ISO and 1.7 WARP with High-A Salem
Last season was good, but not great for Margot. This year he’s looked more like the player that made him one of the top prospects in the Red Sox’s organization. He’s spent the entire season with Triple-A El Paso, and has been the leadoff hitter and starting center fielder most of the way. He’s also putting up some of the best numbers of his young MiLB career. Margot is slashing .299/.352/.419 with a .274 TAv., while his speed (21 stolen bases) and defense (14.9 FRAA) continue to be strengths. BP’s Mark Anderson put his MLB ETA at 2017 in his scouting report three years ago. With the Padres out of contention, the 21-year-old Margot may get his chance as early as this September.
2015: .259 TAv, .123 ISO and -0.6 WARP in 131 games with Double-A Portland
Asuaje didn’t look like a major piece in the Kimbrel deal at the time. He projected as nothing more than a major-league utility player, and his numbers in Portland last year proved just that. Asuaje, however, has found new life in a new system, posting a .296 TAv and 1.3 WARP in El Paso thus far. He also has 25 extra-base hits, including a Pacific Coast League-high seven triples, matching his total from last season. Asuaje’s 2016 numbers are a throwback to his 2014 campaign split between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem, when he combined for a 5.2 WARP that year. Now he’s starting to see his major-league potential manifest itself in his first crack at Triple-A. Perhaps he’s not far from his big-league debut either.
2015: .280 TAv, .171 ISO and 4.0 WARP in 116 games with Low-A Greenville
Guerra put all scouting reports to shame with his offensive production in Greenville last season. As BP’s Wilson Karaman wrote, Guerra is a premier defensive shortstop with a little pop in his bat, but at 20 years old his approach at the plate is still raw. That’s the player he’s been this season. He owns an underwhelming .245 TAv in High-A Lake Elsinore, but does have a 9.9 FRAA. Guerra hasn’t shown quite as much power, however, as he has just eight homers in 282 plate appearances and a .139 ISO, but it’s still a potential strength of his.
2015: 0.90 ERA, 1.05 FIP and 10.8 K/9 in seven starts in rookie ball; made one start in Class-A Lowell
The Red Sox drafted Allen in the eighth round last June, so there’s little to compare what he’s done thus far to. What we do know is that the 18-year-old is off to a decent start, posting a 3.07 ERA, 2.96 FIP and 8.4 K/9 in 12 appearances (eight starts) for Low-A Fort Wayne. BP’s Grant Jones sees a potential major-league future for Allen, but that’s still a long way from being realized.
Then there’s the Miley trade. Both the Red Sox and Mariners are off to good starts, but no thanks in part to the deal that sent Miley and Jonathan Aro to Seattle in exchange for Smith, who is out for the season, and Roenis Elias, who had a forgettable Sox debut.
2015: 4.46 ERA, 3.78 FIP and 6.8 K/9 in 32 starts
The Red Sox knew what they were getting from Miley last season. This year, the left-hander has been far worse. Miley owns a 4.74 DRA and 4.82 FIP through 13 starts with the Mariners this season. He’s allowing home runs at a career-high rate (1.5 HR/9) and inducing ground balls at a career-low rate (45 percent). These numbers are all coming with Safeco Field as his home ballpark. As bad as Boston’s starting rotation has been, it wouldn’t be any better with Miley in the fold.
2015: 6.97 ERA, 5.23 FIP and 7.0 K/9 in six games with Boston; 3.14 ERA, 2.42 FIP and 9.2 K/9 in 26 games with Triple-A Pawtucket; 2.82 ERA, 2.78 FIP and 7.7 K/9 in eight games with Double-A Portland.
Aro was a decent reliever throughout his MiLB career with the Red Sox, and he’s continued to be one for Triple-A Tacoma. The 25-year-old righty owns a 2.27 ERA and 3.81 FIP over 23 appearances, while posting a 6.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9. Pretty good, but nothing special. That’s who Aro is, and who he’ll continue to be, even if he works his way into a middle relief role in the majors.
The only other notable player the Red Sox lost in the offseason was Justin Masterson, but the Sox gladly let him walk in free agency after an ugly showing in 2015. This season hasn’t treated Masterson any better. He’s made five appearances (two starts) for the Indianapolis Indians – the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate – and owns a 5.17 ERA and 6.48 FIP. It’s safe to say he’s not due for any more post-Boston breakthrough seasons.
The Red Sox parted ways with numerous players throughout the organization last offseason. Overall, those players have met expectations in their new homes. What does that mean for the Sox? Ultimately very little given the way both offseason trades worked for the teams involved. Both the Red Sox and Padres benefited from the Kimbrel trade, while the Mariners and Sox have yet to get anything out of the Miley deal. Sometimes that’s how trades work. The fun part will be seeing what kind of players Margot and Co. develop into, while the Red Sox hope to get value out of Kimbrel and Smith for the next few years.
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