This edition of “Questions You Were Too Afraid To Ask” focuses on the finalization of the Kyle Blanks trade and the Nick Hundley-Troy Patton swap.
The Padres received Ronald Herrera last week from the Oakland A’s to complete the Kyle Blanks trade. He’s just 19 years old and currently boasts a 3.30 ERA in the Midwest League. Is it okay to be excited about this pickup?
We discussed the Blanks trade two weeks ago, noting that the player to be named later set to come the Padres way might be something of value:
While PTBNLs are often just bit pieces, it seems possible, if not likely, that the Padres will get something decent back here, if only because Blanks has plenty more value than Goebbert as far as role players go.
By PTBNL standards, Herrera seems like a pretty nice acquisition. Signed out of Venezuela for $20K in 2011, Herrera has progressed nicely through Oakland’s system, rolling through the Dominican Summer League and Arizona Rookie League in 2012 and 2013, respectively. He’s currently stationed in Single-A Fort Wayne, sporting a 3.30 ERA in 57 1/3 innings, along with a 3.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio and just under a home run allowed per nine innings. (Most of that work was done in Oakland’s system, of course.)
The Padres have announced that they’ve traded longtime catcher Nick Hundley and cash to the Baltimore Orioles for lefty relief pitcher Troy Patton.
Patton comes to the Padres with an unimpressive 8.10 ERA in 2014, which is quite a bit higher than his 3.28 career average. The 5.31 FIP and 4.73 SIERA are disconcerting. Career numbers of 3.94 FIP and 3.57 SIERA lead me to believe Patton is pretty much a replacement level pitcher with a “slightly-above-average” ceiling.
So what’s the problem in 2014? I don’t really know, I haven’t seen him pitch this season. Looking at the numbers, he pretty consistently throws a 2-seam fastball 50% of the time (or so), slider around 35% of the time, changeup 8-9% of the time, and a curveball less than 5% of the time. This year, the fastball remains similar, but he’s throwing his slider half as often (16.4%), his changeup a little bit more (11.8%), and his curveball significantly more frequently (18.2%). According to Fangraphs pitch values (Troy Patton’s Fangraphs page), Patton’s slider has been his most successful pitch over the last couple of seasons. Over that same span, his curveball has become his least successful. He’s also walking a lot more batters than he generally does. Is it due to the new pitching coach in Baltimore? Is it due to a health issue? It’d definitely be interesting to see if these trends continue in San Diego.
Is he a LOOGY? Everybody loves a LOOGY, it’s so fun to say! For his career, 314 LH batters have a .243 AVG and .649 OPS against him while 353 RH batters have a .233 AVG and .719 OPS. I would say no, not a LOOGY.
Anyway, the trade itself? If you really look at Hundley, there wasn’t much value there. After his hot start, he’s down to a 79 wRC+. That’s pretty much who he is. He’s a great guy and an asset to the community, but he’s become surplus on the roster. Logically, the trade seems to be a wash. Two players in need of a change of scenery, and they help both teams address a need(catcher w/ Wieters out in Baltimore, ML bullpen depth in San Diego w/ every pitcher out).