Astros: Three premium trade chips this offseason

codypoage
HOUSTON, TX - JULY 07: Kyle Tucker #3 of the Houston Astros singles to right field in the seventh inning for his first major league hit against the Chicago White Sox at Minute Maid Park on July 7, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JULY 07: Kyle Tucker #3 of the Houston Astros singles to right field in the seventh inning for his first major league hit against the Chicago White Sox at Minute Maid Park on July 7, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 3
Next
Astros
Astros /

Trade Chip #3: J.B. Bukauskas

A former first round pick in 2017, J.B. Bukauskas is one of the more intriguing arms in the Astros’ system. Across five different affiliates this year, the University of North Carolina product threw well although a back injury following a car wreck sidelined his season for a while.

2018 Minor League Numbers: 59 IP, 2.14 ERA, 2.51 FIP, 10.1% BB%, 30.0% K%

There are questions whether the right-hander can stick as a long-term starter. Some scouting reports view his ceiling as a late-inning reliever, possibly a closer. However, his mid-nineties fastball along with a potent slider remains an effective combination. If he can develop his changeup further, then his chances to stick as a starter likely increases. For a team like the Astros, who need starters this season and beyond, his development in 2019 is something to watch. That said, his value still rates as quite high, so he could be a key part of any potential trade negotiations.

Currently the Astros’ eighth-best prospect per MLB Pipeline, Bukauskas is likely to draw plenty of interest in trade negotiations. He is presently behind Forrest Whitley, Josh James, Cionel Perez, and Corbin Martin in MLB Pipeline’s prospect rankings. It is doubtful that the Astros entertain trading Whitley and James at the moment. Perez, Martin, and Bukauskas are three pitchers to watch if the front office enters serious trade talks.

dark. Next. Comparing Justin Verlander with other Cy Young finalists

At this time, I view Bukauskas as a potential key piece in any deal for another catcher or starting pitcher. The Astros aren’t going to part ways with Whitley any time soon, and the same can be said for a few other pitching prospects. Luhnow and his front office probably feels the same way about the right-hander. But to acquire talent, you’d also have to part ways with talent. If the Astros don’t want to trade Whitley or James, then that is fine. However, someone has to be made available, and that someone could be Bukauskas.

facebooktwitterreddit