The Dodgers shocked the baseball world on Friday as they traded away fan favorite Yasiel Puig and others to free up salary and acquire additional prospects.
The Dodgers shook the entire baseball world and their own fan base on Friday as they traded away Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, Matt Kemp, and Kyle Farmer. The move has everyone thinking Bryce Harper but it could have been to open a spot in the outfield for Alex Verdugo. In the trade the Dodgers also got two prospects who are not just throw ins.
The Dodgers acquired the Reds’ number seven prospect in Jeter Downs and number twenty prospect in Josiah Gray. That is according to MLB.com’s prospect rankings for 2018. The first prospect Jeter Downs is in the Gavin Lux mold as he can play shortstop and second base. Downs spent his 2018 season in Single-A with the Dayton Dragons and played 73 games at second base and 43 games at shortstop.
Jeter Downs struggled at shortstop making fourteen errors and cut his errors in half at second base. He hit thirteen home runs and hit .257 while stealing 37 bases in 47 attempts. Jeter is an average defender with the ability to be an above average hitter and have above average speed for a middle infielder according to redsminorleagues.com. The man with the famous first name also has above average speed and an above average arm. He could be a toolsy second baseman in the future.
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The other prospect the Dodgers acquired in their blockbuster trade was Josiah Gray who was drafted in the competitive balance round of this year’s draft. Gray got to work quickly and made twelve starts for the Greeneville Astros of the Appalachian rookie league. Gray posted solid numbers pitching to a 2.58 ERA while limiting opposing hitters to a .155 batting average. He also struck out 59 batters in 52 plus innings.
Gray throws in the mid 90’s with good movement and is able to keep his velocity late in games according to mlb.com. Gray is working on his changeup and has a good slider that he is learning to command. He projects as a middle of the rotation starter who at worst could be an effective reliever with his fastball getting a boost in shorter bursts of work. It will be interesting to see how Gray follows up his stellar debut in 2018.
For the Dodgers they have dealt away quite a few prospects over the past few seasons so it was a good move to add a couple more prospects to their farm system. It remains to be seen if the Dodgers will deal Gray and Downs away as a part of a possible Kluber deal, or it could make other players in the farm system expendable. Regardless the Dodgers’ off-season is just getting started.