As we all pick ourselves off the floor following the Dodgers/Reds trade, let’s take a look at the two prospects the Dodgers got back.
#Dodgers reportedly acquiring Jeter Downs, Josiah Gray & Homer Bailey from the #Reds for Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp & Alex Wood. Downs and Gray are Nos. 7 & 20 on the @Reds' Top 30 Prospects list: https://t.co/FqakPMq2aZ pic.twitter.com/qkdEiwz8ON
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) December 21, 2018
Unlike the great salary swap of 2017 (aka the Charlie Culberson trade), the Dodgers got some legitimate prospects from the Reds. MLB Pipeline had Jeter Downs as the Reds’ number 7 prospect and Josiah Gray as the number 20 prospect. Minor League Baseball had Downs at number 8 and Gray as number 10. With the shuffle of prospects, the Dodgers updated prospect list has Downs at 8 and Gray at 16. This trade has made the farm system even stronger and could enable further trades.
Yes, Mr. Downs was named after Derek Jeter and was the 32ndpick in the 2017 draft. A 20 year old native of Colombia, he was brought to the United States to play baseball, as his father planned. He is a middle infielder who is highly regarded as his prospect ranking indicates.
Although Downs played all his games in the Reds organization in 2017 at shortstop he ended up playing more second base in 2018. He played at Daytona in 2018 which is the same level as the Great Lakes Loons (the Dodgers low class A level team). Downs started 72 games at second base and 41 at shortstop.
“hit .257/.351/.402 in Low-A with 23 doubles, 13 homers, 37 steals, 52 walks, 103 strikeouts in 455 at-bats; aggressive runner with more power in the bat than you might think given 5-11, 180 size; controls zone reasonably; defensive tools fit best at second base where he should be above-average in time; good makeup and fun to watch” – John Sickels, Cincinnati Reds Top 20 prospects for 2019
Downs adds some quality depth to the Dodger middle infielder prospects and, with Gavin Lux, have two of the top ten spots in the organization. He’s a right handed hitter who drew a decent amount of walks, who can steal bases. The strikeouts are high but for a young middle infielder, having 13 home runs during your age 19 season is a good start. Great news for RC Quakes fans, he should be a Quake beginning in 2019. I am looking forward to seeing him play in person.
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Josiah Gray was drafted with the 72ndpick in the 2018 out of Le Moyne College. He celebrated his 21stbirthday by getting traded to the Dodgers. That must be quite a birthday surprise after an excellent 2018 professional debut. He is a converted shortstop who became a pitcher in the summer of 2017. In his debut season he started all 12 games he pitched in. He threw 52.1 innings he only gave up 29 hits, walked 17 and struck out 59. That lead to a WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) of .88.`
“Gray has a quick arm that delivers fastballs that sit at 90-95 mph and reaches 97 with running action, and he maintains his velocity deep into games. He flashes a plus slider with good shape, though he’s still learning to command it. He didn’t use his changeup much and showed limited feel for it in college, though he has made some progress with it as he has employed it more in pro ball.” – MLBPipeline
What I see with Gray is someone who could be a dynamic pitcher. He’s only been pitching for two years and is still developing his various types of pitches. His mechanics (see below) are smooth and uncomplicted. Right now, he could project as a starter but if the secondary pitches don’t develop he could be a stud reliever. Gray should be targeted to start the 2019 season with the Great Lakes Loons but I would expect him to be with the Quakes by mid-season.
Overall, this #ProspectHugger is impressed with this haul of prospects. Whether they turn them around in another trade or keep them, I’m impressed the Dodgers acquired these players. They can also be used as further depth to enable the trade of other prospects. Of course, with prospects that are just one or two years away from being drafted, they are a couple of wild cards.
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