All of the dust has settled on what ESPN’s Jayson Stark explains, “…isn’t just a trade. It’s a foray into the history books.” MLBFP closely studied this monster trade to figure out how the pieces fit together. Of course, we concentrated on the prospects, only. If you don’t already know that Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are top ten starters in any format, maybe you might need a new hobby.
We begin by taking a look at the Blue Jays’ haul for Roy Halladay, which includes Kyle Drabek, Brett Wallace (obtained by flipping Michael Taylor to the A’s. Stay tuned for our interview with him, later this weekend), and Travis D’Arnaud.
Loyal MLBFP readers already know that Drabek holds a spot on our list of Top 25 Fantasy Prospects for 2010 & Beyond, coming in at #17. Once you’ve read our scouting report on Kyle, you’ll see that we that this kid might someday follow in his daddy’s footsteps and win a Cy Young Award. On December 17, John Manual and J.J. Cooper discussed the big trade on the Baseball America Podcast. They now list Kyle Drabek as Toronto’s number one prospect. Who’s number two? Brett Wallace, of course.
One of the only knocks on Wallace has been his defense at third base. That may no longer be an issue. Recently, Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos chatted with fans on MLB.com about the Halladay trade and prospects for the Blue Jays in the future. During the chat, Anthropoulos said the following:
We think Wallace is capable of playing third. But, we see him being an above average defensive first baseman. Our hope is to have a strong as a defensive club as we can and putting players in a position where they have a chance to impact the club in the best way defensively.
Sure sounds as if Brett’s days manning the hot corner are over. In my opinion, this is a positive move because now he can concentrate on what he does best – crushing the baseball! Back in July, he was traded to the A’s in the deal that sent Matt Holliday to the Cardinals. Regardless of where he played in 2009, albeit in the Texas League (AA) or the Pacific Coast League (AAA) – for two different organizations, no less – Wallace proved he’s ready for the bigs. For the year, he hit .293 with 20 homers and a .822 OPS. Sure, with the move to first base, we’ll want to see him get that .455 slugging percentage a bit higher. Even so, as Bill Root pointed out after Brett’s trade to Oakland, “The Arizona State alum has hit at every level in the minors.” If that’s not enough of a ringing endorsement, Root later proclaims, “he has the skills to win a batting title if he keeps progressing.” Upon arriving to the A's organization, Wallace had his best stretch of the season, batting .302 with 9 homers in 182 at-bats.
So when might we see these two top-flight prospects playing in the majors? According to Anthropoulos, (from the aforementioned chat session):
I'd say both Drabek and Wallace are very close. But we don't want to put expectations with respect to a time line on them arriving in Toronto. Since Wallace got to Triple-A last year, you could argue that he is the closest but with Drabek having good success in Double-A last year, he could certainly come fast as well just like Jesse Litsch did.
Barring injuries, MLBFP is willing to bet the house that these guys will be regulars at the Rogers Centre by the end of 2010. So that leaves us with just one player to cover – catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud.
Last season, D’Arnaud played for Single-A Lakewood in the Sally League. When we think Sally, we automatically turn to our friend, Mike Newman and his “Scouting the Sally” blog. Newman grades Travis really high, as this snippet proves:
At his peak, I would not be surprised to see D'Arnaud surface as a .270-.285 hitter with 18-25 home run power while contributing above average defense and plus game management skills. Among the current catching crop, this would place him in the same company as Geovany Soto, and Miguel Montero who profile as above average regulars, if not occasional all-star caliber players. Select company indeed, but D'Arnaud has the tools and projection to reach those heights. Prospect analysts who regard him as little more than a throw in are seriously undercutting his ability. The Blue Jays gained an excellent prospect.
Those might seem like some lofty expectations, but Newman has been scouting the Sally League for some time now. We at MLBFP highly respect his opinions.
I understand that losing Doc Halladay is a tough pill to sawllow for you Jays fans. But hey, you were going to lose him at the end of the season for nothing! Your new GM came through big in flipping Doc for Drabek and Wallace. Both are blue chippers, just a hair shy of performing in the Major Leagues, potentially at a very high level. Hang in there, Toronto! Anthropoulos might be the real deal.