Though the deadline wasn’t busy for many teams, the Astros made three trades within the last three days and continued to revamp their farm system. Here are some of the experts’ opinions on the trades and the deadline as a whole.
Like Hader, Hoes was a local kid for the Orioles, drafted in the third round in 2008 from high school in Washington, DE. He’s made slow but steady progress through the farm system, reaching Triple-A and the majors briefly last year and again this year. In 2012 he hit .300/.374/.397 for Norfolk; this year he’s at .304/.406/.403. He is 0-for-4 in three major league contests.
My initial take on this was that the Astros got a great return for Maxwell, but I like Smith more than most analysts do. I’ve seen him called a Grade C prospect by other reputable sources, and that’s apparently the same way that the Royals viewed him. You don’t swap a top pitching prospect for a 29-year-old outfielder with a career .222 average and a history of injury.
Because of his tall and lanky physique, Hader is often compared to White Sox starter Chris Sale. At 6-foot-3, 160 pounds, Hader has a slender, wiry frame that allows him to pitch downhill. Like Sale, Hader hides the ball well, giving the hitter very little time to see and follow the flight of the baseball out of his hand.
Even focusing just on his strikeout rate, Norris is already in decline. In 2010, he threw 93.6 mph and struck out 23.1% of the batters he faced. This year, he’s down to 92.4 and 16.6% respectively. From what we know about pitcher aging curves, his velocity loss fits the pattern.
Vasquez is from Venezuela, signed by the Tigers as a free agent in 2010 for a robust $1,200,000 bonus. He made his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League as a 17-year-old in 2011, hitting .272/.306/.350 in 54 games. He was sent to the Midwest League to open 2012 but played poorly, hitting just .162/.218/.222 in 29 games. Demoted to Connecticut in the New York-Penn League in June, he rebounded against more age-appropriate competition with a .311/.341/.401 mark.
Here are some experts’ Winners and Losers:
The dismantling continues, and because of it Houston may now have the deepest farm system in baseball. That’s the point of Jeff Luhnow’s destroy-to-rebuild plan, and shipping off starter Bud Norris to the Baltimore Orioles for L.J. Hoes, Josh Hader and a draft pick, along with dealing outfielder Justin Maxwell for promising A-ball pitcher Kyle Smith, played into that. Already the Astros had parlayed closer Jose Veras into two other prospects. That’s how this is done. Don’t get cute. Don’t get fancy. Just bite down, swallow hard and hope your scouts are good.
Astros clubhouse attendants: Good luck with those end-of-season tips. With Bud Norris, Carlos Pena and Jose Veras gone, Erik Bedard is now the highest-paid Astro at $1.15 million this season. That’s about what Alex Rodriguez makes per week.
They dealt Norris and Maxwell for more prospects. To add to the prospects they already have. Who are playing on top of more prospects. We’ll check back in four or five years, ‘Stros.