Projecting the Prospects in the Aroldis Chapman Trade

A couple of days ago, news broke that the Yankees had traded for uber-reliever Aroldis Chapman. In exchange for Chapman’s services, the Bombers coughed up four prospects: Starting pitcher Rookie Davis, corner infielder Eric Jagielo, second baseman Tony Renda and reliever Caleb Cotham. Here’s what my fancy computer math says about this quartet.

Rookie Davis, RHP (Profile)
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 2.6 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 0.7 WAR

The Yankees took Davis in the 14th round out of high school in 2011, but he soon proved to be a steal at that spot. In 2013, he dominated Short-Season A-Ball with the help of a mid-90s fastball. He continued to establish himself in 2014 by posting a sub-4.00 FIP as a starter in Low-A.

It was last year, though, that Davis put himself on the map. He opened the year at Class-A, where he pitched to a dazzling 2.22 FIP in 19 starts. His performance tailed off a bit following an August promotion to Double-A. But even so, a 3.21 FIP by a 22-year-old in Double-A is nothing to sneeze at. It’s worth mentioning that Davis has drastically underperformed his FIP in each of the last two years. There may be something to that, but it’s almost certainly too soon to diagnose him with Ricky Nolasco Syndrome. In any event, Davis appears to be the best prospect headed to Cincinnati in this trade.

Let’s fire up the old Mahalanobis machine and pull up some comps. As always, the lower figure represents the more similar comp.

Rookie Davis’ Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Wtd Mah Dist IP WAR
1 Burch Smith* 0.16 36 -0.3
2 Casey Fossum 0.19 786 5.0
3 Jon Switzer 0.33 70 -0.7
4 Marty Janzen 0.36 99 -0.4
5 Wade LeBlanc* 0.36 447 1.5
6 Eric Surkamp* 0.43 57 -0.7
7 Paul Menhart 0.47 165 0.1
8 Mike Hostetler 0.52 0 0.0
9 Troy Cate 0.53 16 0.1
10 Scott Klingenbeck 0.58 138 -1.4
11 Nick Maronde* 0.63 18 -0.3
12 Jeff Locke* 0.64 517 3.0
13 Josue Matos 0.66 0 0.0
14 Andrew Heaney* 0.68 135 1.2
15 Adam Morgan* 0.74 84 0.4
16 Cody Anderson* 0.74 91 1.0
17 Scott Ruffcorn 0.74 70 -0.9
18 Rod Henderson 0.75 10 -0.3
19 Nestor Molina* 0.76 0 0.0
20 Jason Bell 0.82 0 0.0
*Active Player

*****

Tony Renda, 2B (Profile)
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 2.0 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 0.2 WAR

Renda came to the Yankees from the Nationals in exchange for David Carpenter back in June. Between the two organizations, the former second-round pick hit .269/.330/.358 in Double-A last year. Renda’s game revolves around contact and speed. He struck out in a mere 7% of his plate appearances last year and swiped 23 bases in 29 attempts. On the downside, he has practically no power to speak of.

Renda has some redeeming qualities, but offers very little in terms of upside. At 5-foot-8, it’s very unlikely Renda will ever hit for power. And at 25, it’s unlikely he’ll make any sweeping improvements in other areas, either. It’s hard to envision Renda becoming anything more than a backup. But considering he’s never really played shortstop, it’s not clear he’s really cut out for a utility infield job.

Tony Renda’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Wtd Mah Dist PA WAR
1 Brian Raabe 1.35 33 -0.3
2 Jay Pecci 1.46 0 0.0
3 Cole Figueroa* 1.51 57 0.0
4 Ali Castillo* 2.02 0 0.0
5 Derin McMains 2.21 0 0.0
6 Mark Hallberg 2.41 0 0.0
7 Ryan Theriot 2.57 3,615 7.2
8 Chris Getz 2.61 1,574 1.2
9 Tom Sergio 2.73 0 0.0
10 Jesus Azuaje 2.93 0 0.0
11 F.P. Santangelo 2.95 2,075 7.9
12 Jose Pirela* 2.99 103 -0.3
13 Chris Demetral 3.04 0 0.0
14 Steve Singleton 3.16 0 0.0
15 Callix Crabbe 3.19 39 -0.4
16 Rusty Crockett 3.26 0 0.0
17 Doug Brady 3.35 23 0.0
18 Jarrett Hoffpauir 3.38 53 0.2
19 Casey Mcelroy* 3.40 0 0.0
20 Brad Emaus 3.43 42 -0.2
*Active Player

*****

Eric Jagielo, 1B/3B (Profile)
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 0.5 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 0.3 WAR

The Yankees took Jagielo 26th overall in the 2013 amateur draft, but he’s underwhelmed in the two-and-a-half years since. His .284/.347/.495 line in Double-A last year looks solid enough, but a lot of that was fueled by his .342 BABIP. And his 23% strikeout rate is cause for concern. Even for a college bat who’s missed some time with injury, Jagielo’s age-relative performance has been underwhelming. Still, Jagielo’s power potential is obvious, and it’s fair to dream about what he might do in a full healthy season.

Jagielo clearly still has some work to do on the offensive side, but there’s also the issue of his defense. Although he’s played third base almost exclusively in the minors, most think he’s a first baseman long-term. If that’s the case, he’ll have to do a lot more with the bat to be a valuable big leaguer.

Eric Jagielo’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Wtd Mah Dist PA WAR
1 Steve Dunn 0.63 43 -0.4
2 Brock Peterson* 0.85 28 -0.5
3 Todd Landry 1.03 0 0.0
4 Greg David 1.05 0 0.0
5 Jeff Liefer 1.07 844 -2.4
6 Dave Kelton 1.08 22 -0.2
7 Matt Brown 1.10 27 -0.5
8 Chad Santos 1.16 8 0.1
9 Matt Mangini 1.23 41 -0.2
10 Matt Curry 1.24 0 0.0
11 Eric Munson 1.28 1,186 -1.7
12 Wes Hodges 1.28 0 0.0
13 Craig Brazell 1.28 40 0.0
14 Matt Clark 1.39 0 0.0
15 Luis Jimenez* 1.45 168 0.3
16 Brandon Gemoll 1.47 0 0.0
17 Mark Trumbo* 1.57 2,760 6.1
18 Christian Walker* 1.58 31 -0.2
19 Gabe Johnson 1.61 0 0.0
20 Jamie Ogden 1.61 0 0.0
*Active Player

*****

Caleb Cotham, RHP (Profile)

KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 0.4 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 0.1 WAR

Cotham’s minor league numbers were astoundingly good last year. Between Double-A and Triple-A, he pitched to a 2.21 ERA, a 2.37 FIP and a 27% strikeout. The catch is that he worked exclusively as a reliever. The second catch is that he’s already 28, meaning his time as a prospect-age player has come and gone. Cotham is a recent rotation-to-bullpen convert, and has been very successful in his new role. But it remains to be seen if he’ll succeed against big league hitters.

Caleb Cotham’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Wtd Mah Dist IP WAR
1 Dirk Hayhurst 0.52 39 0.1
2 Robbie Crabtree 0.69 0 0.0
3 Jeromy Palki 1.13 0 0.0
4 Aquilino Lopez 1.26 207 1.3
5 Lesli Brea 1.55 11 -0.4
6 Jim Lewis 1.68 13 -0.2
7 Eric Moody 1.86 19 0.1
8 Larry Mitchell 1.98 12 0.0
9 Micheal Nakamura 2.01 38 -0.3
10 Geremi Gonzalez 2.05 573 4.1
11 Chris Limbach 2.12 0 0.0
12 Eammon Portice 2.13 0 0.0
13 Dave Veres 2.17 694 5.6
14 Brian Schmack 2.36 13 0.0
15 Don Perigny 2.49 0 0.0
16 Cory Bailey 2.49 207 1.1
17 Matt Hampton 2.52 0 0.0
18 Tony Watson* 2.57 319 3.5
19 Dan Hubbs 2.59 0 0.0
20 Ken Edenfield 2.62 17 -0.1
*Active Player


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Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights thinking about baseball. He writes for Pinstripe Pundits, FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. He's also on the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell None of the views expressed in his articles reflect those of his daytime employer.


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Monroe Says
Member
Monroe Says
4 months 23 days ago

What a pitiful return on Chapman. In addition to the lame haul on Frazier, this is why you don’t let the front office that painted an organization into a corner be the ones to redecorate.

eph_unit
Member
Member
eph_unit
4 months 23 days ago

Wow, very eloquently put, and I agree wholeheartedly!

At least the Phillies seem like they brought in some young, fresh new mgmt to clean up their mess.

Jay
Member
Jay
4 months 22 days ago

I think it was the domestic violence issues that really tanked the ability to get a decent haul for him.

Personally, I like rookie Davis a lot. I think he has mid rotation stuff, and really looked impressive in AA last year.

Jagielo has some good upside, and could be a solid 1st division 3b or 2nd division 1b if he figures enough of it out.

The other 2 make the trade look worse, but if you are looking for cheap options as your depth 2b and 5th guy in the bullpen, I think they are worth picking up as throw ins (So long as they were not really the main part)

Easyenough
Member
Member
Easyenough
4 months 23 days ago

So, a bag of beans. Wonder why they didn’t just wait until the trade deadline.

StroShow
Member
4 months 23 days ago

MLB told them to because having the NYY not make the playoffs is bad for business!
*removes tinfoil hat*

Joey Butts
Member
Joey Butts
4 months 23 days ago

Maybe the Justin Wilson trade set the market?

s_zissou
Member
s_zissou
4 months 23 days ago

No – Smart. Reds front office behaving like realists knowing Chapman’s trade value could further diminish any day now (despite being an ELITE arm). Rookie Davis and Eric Jagielo slot right in at #9 and #10 in their system and with the Cueto, Leake, Frazier, and now Chapman trade this farm system went from the bottom 1/3 (generous) to at least front 1/2 in baseball. All you can ask for when rebuilding and dealt with the poor luck of Frazier’s mediocre second half and Chapman’s bizarro domestic violence investigation.

Obviously should have traded everyone before or at 2015’s deadline (from what I hear that is all bob castellini)

Paul22
Member
Paul22
4 months 20 days ago

They sold low. Waiting for Frazier to re-establish his value and for Chapmans investigation to be concluded would have yielded them far more. Its more likely than not that Frazier rebounds and Chapman gets no suspension or a minimal one. Both moves at this time were more a salary dump than a rebuild

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