After much speculation and far too many rumors, Jake Peavy has finally been traded.
The 2007 NL Cy Young winner was sent to Boston in a three-way trade and the White Sox received four players in return. Jose Iglesias was shipped to Detroit for Avisail Garcia and three other pitchers, Cleuluis Rondon, Frank Montas and Jeffrey Wendelken, come from Boston to Chicago in the deal.
The centerpiece is Garcia. He already has Major League playoff experience and just turned 22 years old. The Venezuelan righty is an athletic rightfielder with five-tool upside. That won’t sound out of place in the White Sox system, but he has far more production to his name than any of the outfield prospects currently in the system.
Garcia has grown into his 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame, which leads scouts to think he can still develop power. At the time of the trade Garcia was hitting .374/.410/.537 in AAA Toledo. His contact rate is good (32 K in 156 PA), which has led to the high batting average, but he doesn’t walk much (8 in AAA).
An injured heel in April slowed Garcia early on, but he did play 30 games with the Tigers and hit .241/.273/.646. He made his MLB debut in 2012 (.319/.373/.319 in 51 PA). Garcia also saw at-bats in the postseason (.261/.320/.304 in 25 PA). The Major League performance isn’t spectacular, but he is Major League ready and a young talent with good upside.
Garcia is also a solid defender with a strong arm. In the preseason Baseball America named him the best power hitter and best outfield arm in the Tigers’ system. Obviously, they think he will hit for more power than he has in his limited MLB time.
Based on BA’s scouting scale in this year’s Prospect Handbook, Garcia would have rated as the second best prospect in the White Sox organization behind Courtney Hawkins in the preseason. Given Hawkins’ 2013, Garcia slides in as the top prospect in the system ahead of Erik Johnson. That said, Garcia could be up soon and lose his prospect eligibility before the 2014 preseason lists come out.
The other intriguing addition is Frank Montas, a 20-year-old right-handed pitcher with a fastball capable of hitting 100 mph. He regularly throws in the upper 90s and has shown a good, but inconsistent breaking ball. Montas also throws a change up, but he profiles more likely as a two-pitch reliever. He doesn’t have good control yet, but his numbers in Low-A show well because his stuff is well beyond that level.
The Dominican has a 5.70 ERA in Low-A in 85.1 innings, but with an impressive 96 strikeouts and 32 walks. Last year in the Gulf Coast League he posted a 3.98 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 12 walks in 40.1 innings.
Given his fastball velocity, Montas is certainly a top 20 prospect in the system and could even be top 15 if you think he can remain a starter.
Jeffrey Wendelken is a 20-year-old reliever that signed for $100,000 in the 13th round in 2012 out of junior college. He was dominant in 2012 (1.27 ERA, 28 K, 3 BB in 21.1 IP) in the GCL and has good numbers this year in Low-A (2.77 ERA, 54 K, 20 BB in 65 IP). His fastball sits above 90.
Finally, Cleuluis Rondon is a 19-year-old shortstop also from Venezuela. He is a raw athletic defense-first shortstop. He hit an uninspiring .226/.265/.344 in the GCL last year, but started switch-hitting recently. This year he’s hitting .276/.326/.350 in the short-season New York-Penn League with more even left/right splits.