Bernie on the Scene: Evaluating Recently Traded Prospects Part II

Bernie on the Scene: Evaluating Recently Traded Prospects Part II

This article is part of our Bernie on the Scene series.

This will be my second round of scouting reports regarding prospects involved in recent trades.

Bailey Horn, LHP
Traded to Cubs from White Sox 
6-2, 210
Age 23
5th-round draft pick in 2020 from Auburn University
Traded for: RP Ryan Tepera

Before he went to Auburn, and before he was drafted by the White Sox, Horn had Tommy John surgery. While it is becoming more common, TJ surgery still brings some risk to a young pitcher.

Horn gives the Cubs a potential back-end of the rotation starter. He has a three-pitch mix of a fastball that sits 90-94, a good curveball and a slider that is a work in progress.

To help the Cubs, Horn will have to improve those secondary pitches, and perhaps find a fourth pitch as well. I think it will be tough for him to win a rotation role, and for me, it looks like his career will be as a middle reliever.

Horn has shown traditional, common left-hand pitcher control and command problems in his development. He has a walk rate of 4.1 walks per nine.

I'm not thinking Horn will be a major fantasy factor for several years, if at all. When he was traded, he was pitching at the High-A level.

The Cubs gave up a pretty good, young arm in Ryan Tepera to get Horn. They must like his upside.

Scouting Grade: 45

Fantasy Relevance: Little to none

Pete Crow-Armstrong, outfielder
Traded to Cubs from Mets
6-0, 184
Age 19

This will be my second round of scouting reports regarding prospects involved in recent trades.

Bailey Horn, LHP
Traded to Cubs from White Sox 
6-2, 210
Age 23
5th-round draft pick in 2020 from Auburn University
Traded for: RP Ryan Tepera

Before he went to Auburn, and before he was drafted by the White Sox, Horn had Tommy John surgery. While it is becoming more common, TJ surgery still brings some risk to a young pitcher.

Horn gives the Cubs a potential back-end of the rotation starter. He has a three-pitch mix of a fastball that sits 90-94, a good curveball and a slider that is a work in progress.

To help the Cubs, Horn will have to improve those secondary pitches, and perhaps find a fourth pitch as well. I think it will be tough for him to win a rotation role, and for me, it looks like his career will be as a middle reliever.

Horn has shown traditional, common left-hand pitcher control and command problems in his development. He has a walk rate of 4.1 walks per nine.

I'm not thinking Horn will be a major fantasy factor for several years, if at all. When he was traded, he was pitching at the High-A level.

The Cubs gave up a pretty good, young arm in Ryan Tepera to get Horn. They must like his upside.

Scouting Grade: 45

Fantasy Relevance: Little to none

Pete Crow-Armstrong, outfielder
Traded to Cubs from Mets
6-0, 184
Age 19
1st-round draft pick in 2020 out of Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles
Traded for: Javier Baez and Trevor Williams

Crow-Armstrong is a highly regarded young outfielder, destined to play center field. He was signed by the Mets for $3,359,000 — that's a substantial amount of money. At draft time, Crow-Armstrong was viewed by many scouts as the best high school athlete on the board. And the Mets paid for that talent.

Offensively, Crow-Armstrong doesn't have that much power, but he's still young and his frame isn't fully developed. With big league weight room work, he could become a 17-homer big league outfielder.

A very good defensive outfielder, Cole-Armstrong has the type of fielding ability that could lead to a Gold Glove. He has enough speed to track down balls hit in the gaps. He also has above average arm strength.

A graceful player, Crow-Armstrong has the type of ability and baseball acumen that could lead to a very successful big league career. But all eyes will be on his development as a hitter, especially a hitter for average who can get on base, steal and score. 

Scouting Grade: 55

Fantasy Relevance: High. He can be a solid center fielder for years.

Austin Martin, third base, shortstop, outfielder
Traded to Twins from Blue Jays
6-0, 185
Age 22
1st-round draft pick in 2020 out of Vanderbilt University
Traded for: Jose Berrios

The Twins gave up a top quality pitcher in Jose Berrios to acquire Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson from Toronto.

I do like Berrios a great deal, but I think the Twins really helped themselves with this trade for two very good, young prospects.

Martin was a first-round draft pick for a reason. He's an outstanding athlete capable of playing multiple positions. But can he master any of them?

Martin hit .392 for Vanderbilt before the draft. He had an on-base percentage of .486. That earned him a whopping $7.825 signing bonus.

Martin has a high contact rate in his hitting history, and his eye-hand coordination is superb. Couple that with an ability to put the barrel on the ball, and his power outlook is solid.

Scouts see Martin as the type of hitter who will have a consistently good batting average at the big league level. An above average runner, Martin may be able to use that good hit tool and speed to turn a single into a double. 

The Twins may be able to use Martin anywhere in the infield, and probably in the outfield as well, depending upon the team's needs. But the lack of position certainty may not be ideal for Martin as he continues to find his way to the big leagues. 

Scouting grade: 55

Fantasy Relevance: High. I think he has a chance to be effective.

Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP
Traded to Twins from Blue Jays
6-3, 210
Age 20
2nd-round pick of the Mets in 2018 out of Kempner High School in Sugar Land, Texas
Traded for: Jose Berrios

Simeon Woods Richardson was among the youngest players taken in the 2018 draft. 

After his initial year with the Mets, the team traded him to the Blue Jays in the deal for Marcus Stroman. So, now at the age of 20, Simeon Woods Richardson has been traded twice.

Strong and powerful, Woods Richardson has a solid 91-95 mph fastball as well as an above average slider and curveball. But it is his changeup that can get that third strike on a swing and miss.  He really has an above average fastball/changeup combination that can fool hitters and buckle knees. Throw in those quality secondary pitches, and he could be a big winner.

Because of his excellent mound presence, good command and control and his deep repertoire, Simeon Woods Richardson could be a very valuable pitcher in the future Twins rotations. 

Scout grade: 55

Fantasy Relevance: Good to grab as a keeper

Konnor Pilkington, LHP
Traded to Indians from White Sox
6-3, 230
Age 23
3rd-round draft pick in 2018 out of Mississippi State
Traded for: Cesar Hernandez

The Indians went through starting pitching hell this season when their top four starters went down with injuries. Bound and determined to re-stock their farm system with quality college arms, the Indians — soon to be Guardians — loaded up on pitching in the draft and at the trade deadline.

In return for Cesar Hernandez. the Indians picked up a good-sized lefty with huge upside in Konnor Pilkington.

Pinkington has been assigned to Double-A Akron, where he will be part of the rotation. 

Pinkington projects to pitch at the back-end of the rotation at the big league level. He has a four-pitch mix, including a fastball that is 88-91 mph, and above average slider, a changeup and a curveball. It is his curveball that he will depend upon to get swings and misses. 

Scouting grade: 50

Fantasy Relevance: Mild, at best

Hans Crouse, RHP
Traded to Phillies from Rangers
6-4, 180
Age 22
2nd-round draft pick in 2017 out of Dana Hills High School in California
Traded for: Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy

Hans Crouse could become a very consequential pitcher for the Phillies. If you follow the money, you'll find that Crouse was signed by Texas for $1.45M as a second-round selection.

Crouse has a blazing, grade 65 fastball that sits 92-97 mph, but he can hit 99. He also throws a well above average slider and an above average changeup and curve. That's four solid pitches, with two, the fastball and slider, being top of the charts quality.

It remains to be seen if Crouse will fit better as a starter or at the back-end of the bullpen. In either role, he could be really solid.

There are some mechanical issues with Crouse that have concerned scouts. A lot of head movement and inconsistent release points in his delivery have caused questions. But he's still young enough to straighten out those wrinkles. 

Scout grade: 55

Fantasy Relevance: Solid, but role needs definition

Heading Home

Please allow me to rant. These opinions are mine, and mine alone.

Trevor Bauer is entering his fourth extension of his Administrative Leave from the Dodgers.

As you know, Bauer is being accused of sexual assault by a woman he alleges requested "rough sex" with him. He is alleged to have met the woman on the internet. The case is being investigated by Pasadena, Calif., police as well as Major League Baseball.

The basic collective bargaining agreement between players and owners stipulates that players on Administrative Leave will be paid their full salary.

Remember, Bauer was not suspended and has not been suspended. He was placed on Administrative Leave. He's getting paid. As I write this, he has not been arrested. 

I totally get that in the United States an individual is assumed to be innocent until proven guilty. But that doesn't enter the picture here. There has been no finding of guilt or innocence in this matter.

Major League Baseball has chosen to put Bauer on Administrative Leave while the matter is investigated. Apparently, they think there is enough hard evidence to take the drastic step of taking him off the Dodgers mound and requiring the Dodgers to pay him not to pitch. Fine. So be it.

However, if iBauer is found guilty of those very serious charges, I believe it will be a total miscarriage of justice if Bauer does not have to refund every penny he has received while on leave. Why not? If, indeed, he is guilty of criminal activity — sexually assaulting a woman — why should he have been paid while awaiting the resolution of the case?

The Dodgers players have indicated they do not want Bauer on their team, regardless of how the case is resolved. It is likely the Dodgers brass don't want him, either. But he has a contract. I have no idea what will happen if Bauer is found guilty. I think this could end up in court. Does he still get paid? Lawyers will make money battling that out. Loopholes will be sought. And maybe found by both sides in any dispute about his contract.

Millions of dollars will be in question.

If Bauer is exonerated of the allegations against him, he will have been paid. He can then resume his career, if some team is willing to absorb his contract and tolerate having him in their clubhouse.

I am not a lawyer. Matters such as the one Mr. Bauer finds himself in today are matters for lawyers. If the matter escalates, I have no doubt Mr. Bauer will find the best lawyers available.

However the matter is resolved, to this writer, if nothing else, Trevor Bauer has proven that concerns from baseball executives about Bauer from the day he was drafted by the Diamondbacks, until this moment have been well founded. More than anything, baseball front office personnel have questioned Bauer's judgement. They have questioned Bauer's behavior.

None of the execs were psychologists. But controversy has followed Trevor Bauer from college to the Diamondbacks, to the Indians, to the Reds and now to the Dodgers. 

Bauer might have good spin rates, a good repertoire and an ability to pitch at the major league level. However, he now faces the challenge of his life. He has to try to stay out of jail because of alleged behavior that has gotten him in much more trouble than trying to protect a one-run lead with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the ninth.

Trevor Bauer, guilty or innocent, has provided a massive black eye and extreme heartburn for Major League Baseball.

• In the comment section below, please let me know of topics and players you wish me to discuss in my weekly articles. I really appreciate all your comments, and I try to respond to each.

• Thank you for following me on Twitter @BerniePleskoffand for your loyal support of my work.

• Have a great week. And stay healthy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bernie Pleskoff
Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.
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