In return for Hand and Solarte, New York has to give up some top prospects from their #2 ranked farm system.
While Gleyber Torres will certainly be unavailable in serious talks, the Padres can still receive much-hyped minor leaguers.
The following are some prospects that the Friars should consider and why they make sense for the team.
Who the Padres would be interested in
Signed in 2012, Jorge Mateo made a name for himself with some of the best speed in the minors.
Rated as having 80-grade speed, Mateo has stolen 214 bases since his debut in 2012. While he’s also been caught 52 times in his career, Mateo has game-changing speed and could lead the majors one day in the stolen base category. After all, he led the minors in 2015 with 82. While being fast is his best tool, the young Dominican shows other quality tools as well.
For example, he could be an above-average fielder. He has a plus arm and flashes average fielding due to a decent first step and an okay lateral movement. Scouts have described him as erratic and therefore more likely to wind up at second or center field but there’s a chance Mateo stays put. On offense, the Yankee has struggled with not taking his fair share of walks, never posting above a 10% walk rate, which has limited his ability to get on base and steal more.
However, the top prospect has a realistic ceiling of hitting .270 per season as he’s never hit below .250. Also, the player has more power than one would expect from a speedster, especially a six-foot one. Seen as someone who can hit 15+ homers in the future, Mateo, smacked eight home runs in 465 at-bats last year and has smashed six home runs in 323 at-bats this year.
To recap, Jorge Mateo is an extremely fast prospect with deceptive strength as well as decent hit and fielding tools. He might even be something more if his thirteen-game showing in Double-A, where he has a slash line of .417/.533/.750 with 10 walks and 12 strikeouts in 13 games. Although Mateo’s average is highly inflated by a .545 BABIP, he, as a super fast player, will have a high one. His K/BB ratio is more telling and it suggests that the prospect has found a better approach and may be more impactful than before. To summarize, the Padres should discuss this young stud. To me, he’s similar to Trea Turner as both have 80-grade speed, surprising pop, and questionable future positional homes. Yet, Turner was a much better hitter and Mateo is a better fielder. He could become the future at shortstop for the Padres as all the young shortstops the team has in the minors are predicted to move off the position.
The best international prospect in the Yankees’ 2011 international class, Miguel Andujar is close to contributing and he would probably be sent to El Paso if traded.
Although not a top-100 prospect by MLB.com, this Dominican-born player has tons of potential as he is one of the minors’ best at his position. Viewed as a long-term third baseman, the right-handed hitter’s most dreamy assets come on offense. Armed with above-average power, the 22-year-old has only managed to hit more than ten home runs per year in the minors.
However, as Andujar finishes filling out his 215 lb. frame, his power should take steps forward. By that time, he could become a 20-home run hitter and impact run producer. This strength is helped by the fact that Andujar is good at controlling the strike zone. While his walk rate has never reached over eight percent, his strikeout rate has never surpassed sixteen percent. As a power hitter first, this habit is not ordinary and is an excellent sign of a strong offensive contributor. This is evidenced by how he has been an above-average batter while developing, at least according to wRC+ measurements. Scouts note how he has a knack for making hard contact with a quick swing. Yet, he can be too aggressive at times, swatting at pitches that should be taken instead.
As a whole though, Miguel Andujar has exciting offensive potential. On the other side of the ball, the third baseman has a double-plus arm. This, in addition to his solid hands and range, allows him to stay at the sixth position in the long-term. His only concern on defense is his consistency as errors have caused his fielding percentage to never surpass .950. Yet, his ability to stay at the position would be good for a Padres team that has limited options there in the future. Sure, we have players like Hudson Potts and Eguy Rosario, who have shown great potential, but they’re stuck at A-ball and below, meaning their stock could fall easily. On the other hand, Andujar is an advanced, and therefore safer, bat who can do more than just hold down the fort for San Diego. Also, new reports have come out saying how A.J. Preller’s front office is looking at the Yankees’ Triple-A team and thus close to contributing prospects.
Blake Rutherford (Traded to the White Sox 7-18)
It’s a frequent rumor that New York will acquire the services of Bryce Harper once he hits free agency after the 2018 season. As a result, the Yankees’ future outfield spots will be filled by Bruce Harper, Aaron Judge, and Clint Frazier; thus leaving prospect Blake Rutherford expendable. A possible No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft, Rutherford slipped to the Yankees at 18 because he was 19 and still in high school by the time the draft came around.
However, since being drafted, the young outfielder has provided a lot of reason to dream on his potential. As a rookie, the left-handed swinger hit .351 with three home runs in 33 games played. This year he’s at .278/.343/.384, but with only one homer. However, he is only 20 years old and is in A-ball; therefore, the absence of power should not be discouraging. After all, he was drafted high because of his above-average power. Another reason why he was drafted in the first round was because of how athletic he is.
Although he is projected to stop playing his natural position of center field, his plus speed should hold up enough for him to steal bases into the double digits. Meanwhile, his most reliable and useful tool, hitting, is superb and will let his power to show up in games more and more. Throughout his young career, the hitter has battled in every at-bat and employed a simple but effective swing. Such a swing has allowed him to be an above-average contributor in the wRC+ column. On defense, the California native has used his speed and instincts to run efficient routes. For scouts, it’s easy to see an above-average defender.
While Blake Rutherford is loaded with tools, he does have a weakness. His arm is generally considered average and sometimes below. With such an arm, the Yankee won’t be making right field his home. If his speed falls below the desired center fielder’s, he will only be able to play left field and accumulate less value as a result. In short, Rutherford is a player who could one day become a perennial MLB all-star and superstar. His ceiling may not be easily guessed at because of how young his career is, but Rutherford could truly be special as he possesses four above-average tools and could improve his arm strength so that he becomes a five-tool giant.
The prospects that I have written about are exceptional and the Padres should look at them. The team probably won’t be able to get Gleyber Torres, but the Yankees have other stars San Diego could get.
Brad Hand has been a real blessing for the Friars. He won’t be a Padre much longer, but his impact will be felt for a long time.
I write, I write, and then I write some more.. Lifelong Padres & Chargers fan who is tired of the acceptance of losing that grips all of San Diego sports fans!