I am fascinated by the PTBNL trade. Always will be. With what I know of Theo Epstein and Baseball's rules, how close can I come to guessing the two players to be named later? Probably, not very. That won't prevent me from trying.
With Sunday's Jeff Baker trade Sunday for two Players To Be Named Later, the temptation soon became too great. I went to their companion site, reading about who would (and wouldn't) make for an acceptable return. Then, I went to the Stats page for the Lakeland Flying Tigers and the West Michigan Whitecaps. Then I began this.
Due to baseball's rules, a player can't be traded in his first 12 months with a team after being drafted. So, anyone that was drafted by Detroit in the 2012 Draft is off-limits. So too (for now) are any 'deadline signings' from 2011's Draft, which had a later deadline. That is largely moot, as the TBNL status of the players to be dealt will make the 2011 Draftees all tradable by the deadline of October 31. (James McCann-C 2nd Round), (Tyler Gibson-SS 15th), and (Brett Harrison- 3B 18th) are the only ones that were signed less than a year ago. McCann would be a coup. I don't expect him.
So, three types of trades exist, from where I see. One would be, one from the above 3, and one from a list of players. The second option is, two from a list of players. The third option I see is, (one from Column A), and (one from Column B). If the third option is selected, I would guess one would be of higher presumed value than the other.
So, how do I guess who it will be? I went to the statistical pages of the Lakeland Flying Tigers (opponent of Daytona in the Florida State League) and the West Michigan Whitecaps (from Peoria's Midwest League.) Then, I ignored all of the hitters. So which pitchers did I come up with?
I'm guessing starters. If we get a guy who isn't starting in A Ball, he could develop into something special. But I'm thinking starters. Theo has generally gone that way in trades (Jaye Chapman aside) and I'm looking at the rotations. West Michigan has 6 guys with 10 or more starts. Kyle Ryan has started 23 (WHIP 1.35 90 K/133 IP), Thomas Collier (1.16 WHIP 80 K/116) and Marcello Carreno (1.14 87/107) have 21. Wilsen Palacios has 20, with more pedestrian WHIP K numbers. Brennan Smith (1.16 51/62) has 13, and Jeff Ferrell (1.14 WHIP 60/59) has ten starts, and has the best numbers of the six, and is a year out from TJS. I'd accept any of the six, but would really like Ferrell.
As I look at the pitchers on Lakeland's statistical page, Brian Flynn leads the team in strikeouts. Is Flynn the type of player we would want? He wasn't listed on the Tigers Top 20 Prospects list on the Tigers website. He has a relatively high WHIP of 1.42. He is a 6-8 lefty from Wichita State. He hits 90-95 on his fastball (not sure where read that, but it might have been at Bless You Boys). He's gotten to three levels in this, his first full professional season. He has very recently gotten the bump to AA Jacksonville. So, he's a lefty with velocity at AA in his first full year. He won't be Rule 5 eligible until December 2014.
So there you have it, my guesses for what we will get for Jeff Baker. I'm confident I'm wrong, but at least I gave you my who and why. If we get a different starter than Ferrell, I'm good with it. If the centerpiece is McCann (solid defensive catcher, not hitting well in AA) instead of Flynn, or another of their starters, I trust the return will be better than Abner Abreu, who we received for Fukudome.
Do tell. Who do you think Baker will get us?