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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Astros Got Pretty Decent Haul in Hunter Pence Trade

The Houston Astros have been hammered by many folks for trading away All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence at the deadline this year. I’ve always thought Pence was a pretty good player, but nothing special. His All-Star appearances have been more the result of circumstance (playing for the hapless Astros) than stellar performance. Still, he should help the Phillies who could use the offensive boost. The good news for Philly is that Pence is under team control for the next two seasons, so his salary shouldn’t get too ridiculous. But let’s not shrug this off as if it were a bad deal for the Astros.

Houston is the worst team in baseball this year. They’ve been at least 10 games under .500 the last two seasons. There really wasn’t too much upside for keeping Hunter Pence, so why not trade him and get some players in return? The Phillies wanted him and gave up four players, three of whom aren’t bad (the fourth is to-be-determined).

All three prospects Philly gave up are young, low-level guys but they have some promise.

The top prospect from the deal is Jarred Cosart. You might remember him as the prospect who had a very public break up with his good-looking girlfriend. Cosart is a 21-year-old pitcher from Texas. He went 7-3 last year for single-A Lakewood with a 3.79 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 71 innings. He’s gone 9-8 with a 3.92 ERA in 108 innings for single-A Clearwater, a high-A team. He’s young but he looks like he can be a player.

The Phillies also gave up Jonathan Singleton, a 19-year-old first baseman from Lakewood, Ca. Singleton is a former 8th-round pick who’s in his third season as a pro player. He OPSd .872 as an 18-year-old for single-A Lakewood last year. He has an .800 OPS and nine home runs for high-A Lakewood. One of his strongest assets is plate discipline; he has 136 walks and 170 strikeouts in his minor league career.

The Astros also got Josh Zeid, a pitcher who’s been converted from a starter to a reliever. The Vanderbilt/Tulane product went 16-9 the past two years, making 27 starts in 58 appearances. He has a 5.65 ERA in 63.2 innings with 7.9 K/9 this season for double-A Reading. Being a 24-year-old who went to college, he’s a bit older than the other two prospects.

Add in the player-to-be-named-later, and the Astros could have done much worse. At least they’ve added some players to their minor league system which is one of the worst in baseball.

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