The Astros have traded closer Jose Veras to Detroit, according to Brian McTaggart, for outfielder Danry Vasquez and a Player To Be Named Later.
Vasquez is a 6'3" 177lb 19-year old lefty-throwing/righty-hitting outfielder from Venezuela, and has been with Detroit his entire career.
In 251 career minor-league games, Vasquez is hitting .276/.317/.368. This season, he's hitting .281/.333/.390 in his second stint with the West Michigan Whitecaps of the Low-A Midwest League. In 420 plate appearances he has 26 extra-base hits, 56 strikeouts and 31 walks and a .313 BABIP. At home this season, Vasquez is hitting .344/.391/.425, compared to .222/.280/.376 on the road. And his numbers this season are depressed from an April where he tallied a .604 OPS. Since May 1, he's hitting .290/.344/.427 and, again, is 19 years old.
Vasquez was Tigers' blog Bless You Boys' 4th-ranked prospect at the beginning of the 2013 season, writing (and this is but a brief pull from a thorough scouting report):
Vasquez's ceiling is that of an impact, middle of the order bat that hits
over .300 consistently with 20+ HR power and tons of doubles, while
playing a solid-average LF. Overall, he has the potential to be a
perennial all-star, but it takes some dreaming to see it. The
projection is there, and his best tool is the one tool that you'd want
to be a prospects' best: his bat. He'll play the entire 2013 season at
19, undoubtedly at Class A-West Michigan. Ideally, if all goes well, he
will be ready to compete for the starting LF job by 2016.
He was also ranked #4 in the Tigers' system by Jonathan Mayo, who said:
Vasquez is still very raw, but has the chance to keep hitting .300 as he moves up the ladder. He may never have a huge power profile, but he could be the type of hitter who runs into 12-15 homers annually.
West Michigan's manager, Larry Parrish said of Vasquez:
With his swinging mechanics, he's got a chance to hit. His total game, though, has to keep getting better.
And "one AL scout" said Vasquez has "double power," and "could blossom into a top-of-the-lineup player in the majors, but will have to work on his instincts in the outfield...he makes strong contact in hitter's counts and has the ability to put the ball in play with two strikes."
Vasquez will slide over to Quad Cities.
Obviously, this weakens an already-weak bullpen, but...the Astros are adding another valuable piece, just at the Low-A level. Here's hoping the Astros slide Jose Cisnero into the 9th inning or, you know, sign Brian Wilson.
But let's put it this way: In 2010 the Tigers signed Vasquez as an international free agent to a $1.2m signing bonus. The Astros signed Veras to a $1.85m contract for 2013, of which they have paid him approximately $1.19m. So the Astros basically swapped a 32-year old reliever for one of the Tigers' top prospects. It may be 2016 before we see him, but this is exactly why you sign guys like Jose Veras.