The Cole Hamels to Texas trade is a six-for-two (plus money) deal with lefty reliever Jake Diekman joining the Phillies’ former ace on his way to the Rangers in return for big league starting pitcher Matt Harrison as well as the following prospects- pitchers Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher and Jake Thompson, outfielder Nick Williams and catcher Jorge Alfaro.
Eickhoff, a 25-year-old righty, tallied a 1-0 record with a 2.70 ERA in two starts at the Triple-A level this year and had a 4.25 ERA and an 8.24 K/9 mark in 18 games at Double-A this season. The six-foot-four 240-pounder was a 15th round draft pick in 2011. Eickhoff throws a mid-90’s fastball as well as a curve ball and a change up. It’s possible his future is out of the bullpen.
Asher, a righty, tallied a 3-6 record with a 4.73 ERA in 12 games at Triple-A after posting a 1-4 record with a 3.98 ERA in eight Double-A games this season. The six-foot-four 230-pounder was a 4th round draft selection in 2012. With a (low-90’s) fastball/slider/change up repertoire, the durable Floridian has a promising future.
The next three prospects were all rated among the Rangers’ top five prospects, starting with Thompson, a six-foot-four 235-pounder, who posted a 6-6 record with a 4.72 ERA while striking out 78 and walking 30 in 87 2/3 innings in 17 starts at the Double-A level this year. The 21-year-old right-hander was a 2nd round draft selection in 2012. He is equipped with a pitching arsenal that features a low-90’s fastball, along with a nice slider and a change up that he’s working to refine. He was part of a trade that brought him from the Tigers to the Rangers for Joakim Soria last summer.
Williams, a 21-year-old slugger had a .299/.357/.479 slash line in 97 games at Double-A this season. The six-foot-three 195-pounder was a 2nd round pick in 2012. Described as a “pure hitter”, Williams has great upside. The Texas native is said to have a strong arm and great athleticism. He can swipe some bags too, but has been successful in just 10 of 18 attempts this year.
Alfaro, a 22-year-old Colombia native, has missed considerable time this season with an ankle injury. Prior to being sidelined, he posted a .253 average with five homers and 21 RBI in 49 games at Double-A this season. The righty batting youngster has considerable pop but needs to improve his plate discipline, as he strikes out a lot. Heading into the 2015 season, MLB.com listed Alfaro as the second best catching prospect in the minor leagues.
Harrison, a 29-year-old lefty, is owed $28 million guaranteed beyond this season. He has a 50-35 record with a 4.21 ERA and a .273 batting average against in 135 career big league games.
As things shake out, assignments for each player will be announced with other roster moves to be made as well.
The bottom line following this trade is the Phillies developmental ranks will now be considered loaded. Prospects can be considered to be something like raffle tickets. The more of those you have, though, the better chances there are for the result you’re hoping for, especially when the tickets are actually young talent and you’ve got a whole lot of money to spend to obtain more of that.