The San Francisco Giants have secured a veteran outfielder for the stretch run but it comes at the cost of a young catching prospect.
Tommy Joseph, 21, was the organization’s second round draft pick in 2009 and he’s moved methodically through the minor league system, one level each year, and landed in double-A to begin the 2012 season. Despite being known as an offensive-minded catcher, the Arizona native has yet to post a wRC+ above 95, meaning he’s struggled to produce league-average offense. Despite that, he’s shown raw power potential and slugged 22 home runs in 127 high-A games last season. This season his isolated power rating has dipped to .132 (from .198 in ’11).
Joseph doesn’t hit for average, his walk rate is modest and he flirts with 20% strikeout rates so he’ll need to remain at catcher to have any true value at the big league level. Defensively, he’s made strides in the finer aspects of his game, which is good news because his strong arm would be wasted at first base and he just doesn’t have the type of profile that hints at future success there.
Philadelphia currently has the underrated Carlos Ruiz starting behind the plate at the big league level but he’s already 33 and won’t be around forever. The club’s best catching prospect – prior to this deal – was Sebastian Valle who also has a number of question marks surrounding his future potential in the majors. Prior to the season, I ranked Valle as the Phillies’ third best prospect in a relatively weak system and he appears to have taken a small step back this season. Joseph, on the other hand, was ranked as the Giants’ third best prospect in another weak system and his value has held steady.
Joseph and Valle are both currently playing at the double-A level and neither has performed well enough to warrant a promotion so they may split time behind the dish while Joseph also sees some time at first base. The former is likely about a year away from receiving his first cup of coffee with the big league club.
For me, the real steal of the deal may be Seth Rosin. I ranked the right-handed reliever in the “Sleeper Alert” section of the Giants 2011-12 Top 15 prospect list and said, “If you’re a rival executive talking trade with the Giants this winter you’ll want to ask for Rosin as a throw in to any deal.” It’s nice of Philadelphia to listen.
The North Dakota native and University of Minnesota alum has been a little slower to develop – like many cold weather state prospects – but he’s produced solid minor league numbers and has a decent repertoire, including a low-90s fastball, curveball and changeup. He also has strong frame and has been durable.
Rosin, 23, has been pitching in high-A ball and currently has a 4.31 ERA but his FIP is more than a full run lower at 3.18. His strikeout rate currently sits at 10.86 K/9 and he’s showcased solid control. He’s made some spot starts and could be a useful bullpen arm at the big league level. In the grand scheme of things a middle reliever and spot starter does not have huge value but he could be a solid, cost-controlled commodity for three to six big league seasons.
The third player headed to Philadelphia is outfielder Nate Schierholtz who has struggled to find consistent playing time at the big league level but was coveted by a few teams. He’ll basically perform at a league-average level until Philadelphia acquires or promotes someone with more potential. He’s currently earning $1.3 million in 2012 and could be non-tendered this fall as an arbitration-eligible player.
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