Thursday, July 31, 2014

Future put on hold for one more year

Here's what the Astros did today:

Less than 45 seconds before the deadline, the Astros sent:

Jarred Cosart
Enrique Hernandez
Austin Wates

to the Marlins for:

Jake Marisnick
Colin Moran
Frances Martes
2015 Competitive Balance draft pick

How do you feel about that? I'm genuinely curious, because I'm not sure. Let's recap exactly what the Astros gave up:

Jarred Cosart: 38th Round pick in the 2008 draft by the Phillies. Acquired in the Hunter Pence trade.'s #89 prospect heading into the 2013 season. 30 starts, 176.1IP, 10-8, 3.57 ERA/1.42 WHIP (4.13 FIP), 108K:86BB (1.26 K:BB ratio). It's not as though that K:BB ratio is surprising, either. Cosart hasn't posted a K:BB ratio over 2.00 since 2010 against any competition. In the same regard, Cosart always had a knack of pitching out of trouble: With the exception of 2011, when he struggled in his first pass at Double-A, he hasn't had a full season with an ERA over 4.00. I know that ERA doesn't tell the whole story, but - to me - it shows #Grit and #BucklingDown. I like Jarred Cosart.

Enrique Hernandez: Drafted 2009, 6th Round, by the Astros. In 24 games for the Astros this season, he hit .284/.348/.420 with 11K:8BB in 89 PAs. In six minor-league seasons (he began his career at Age 17), he hit .274/.327/.401 but really took off in 2014. Having never posted an OPS over .740 in a season, he hit .337/.380/.508 in 67 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season before getting called up. And, man, he was a sweetheart. Not to get all Kirk Gibson on you, but that dude is/was a #grinder. I loved watching him play.

Austin Wates: 2010 3rd Round draft pick by the Astros. Recipient of the first Astros County Man Crush. Wates is in his Age 25 season, and would have to be put on the 40-Man roster this season, which likely would not have happened. As we have seen with a few other 2010 draft picks, the Astros traded him in order to get *something* in return. In five seasons, Wates has a career .303/.381/.415 slash line with 98 stolen bases in 121 attempts. That's a bit misleading, because since the beginning of 2013, Wates has successfully stolen 46 of his last 51 bases. But injuries have been a concern. He has played in 100+ games in a season just once - in 2011. But I really like Austin Wates. 

And so there it is. The Astros traded two players on the Major League roster - one who has been on a 25-man roster prior to June 2014 - and Austin Wates, whom the Astros feel is a good player, but not as high on the depth chart. 

What did the Astros get in return?

Jake Marisnick: Drafted by the Blue Jays as their 2009 3rd Round pick, Marisnick was acquired by the Marlins in their BS firesale in mid-2013. Prior to 2014, Marisnick was Baseball America's #79 prospect, and's #65 prospect. Marisnick turned 23 last March, and is 6'4" 225lbs. Marisnick has spent most of this season with Triple-A New Orleans - his first stint at Triple-A - and in 377 PAs, has hit .277/.326/.434 with 64K:17BB and 24 stolen bases in 30 attempts. But his impending debut in Houston will not be his first ML action. In 2013 he and Christian Yelich were called up from Double-A and, in 40 games for the Marlins, hit .183/.231/.248. In 14 games in 2014, Marisnick hit .167/.216/.167. Yes, small sample sizes. Marisnick will likely play CF until Dexter Fowler returns from the DL and will play a role in the Astros OF in the future. Unless he doesn't, and gets traded next year.

Colin Moran: Moran was the 6th overall pick in the 2013 draft, and was in the mix - at least on the surface - for the Astros pick in 2013. Coming into this season, Moran was BA's #61 prospect,'s #51 prospect, and BP's #74 prospect. He's a 3B by trade, so Matt Dominguez has approximately two years to figure his crap out. Moran has spent 2014 at High-A Jupiter in the Florida State League, where he has hit .294/.342/.393 with 53K:28BB in 392 PAs, meaning that he can make contact. This season he has 21 doubles and five homers, and 80 singles. His uncle is B.J. Surhoff, though.

Francis Martes: Martes, a 6'0" 170lb RHP, will be 19 at the end of November. His first taste of pro ball came last season, when in 50.1IP in the Dominican Summer League, he allowed 51H/17ER, 33K:14BB. In the GCL this season, he has thrown 29IP, allowing just 24H/16ER, 31K:18BB. Walks are up, but so are strikeouts. Lottery ticket.

Competitive Balance pick: This is where it gets interesting, because for the second year in a row, the Astros receive an extra pick in the next year's draft. Last year, the Bud Norris trade resulted in L.J. Hoes, Josh Hader, and - ultimately - Derek Fisher. Now, did the Astros get the pick because it provides extra value to the trade, or do the Astros think there's a chance they could be forced to uphold the Nix deal, which would cost them not only the 1-2 pick (for Aiken) but the other 1st Round pick (wherever that may fall due to their overall standing)?

Recap: At best, the Astros get a CF prospect, a 3B prospect, a lottery ticket pitcher and three of the 1st 40 picks in return for a potentially good starter with projection, a super-utility player, and the recipient of my Man Crush. At worst, the Astros get those prospects and a supplemental pick. I mean, obviously the worst-case is that Cosart figures out his command issues, Hernandez turns into David Eckstein, and Austin Wates is Vince Coleman while Marisnick is Jordan Schafer, Moran is no one in particular, Martes doesn't do anything, and the Astros actually do lose their 1st two picks in 2015. 

But who's counting? Tune in tomorrow for a different version of The Future.