The one thing that Royals fans need to know is that trades for “rentals” isn’t as lucrative as they once were. The days of big returns for less than a year of control is likely over based off of trades the last two years.
When talking with Redbird Rants, the deal for Moustakas brought back three prospects. Two are
within the Cardinals Top-30. According to an updated Bleacher Report of ranking MLB farm systems, the Cardinals have the 13th ranked farm system.
The three prospects we came to an agreement on are outfielder Oscar Mercado, third baseman Evan Mendoza, and lefty Colton Thomson. Mercado is the Cardinals 8th prospect and Mendoza is the 28th ranked prospect. Thompson is outside the Cardinals Top-30, but he is a Double-A bullpen arm.
Mercado is a 23-year-old Triple-A outfielder who seems to be coming into his own. While he lacks a lot of power, he is solid defensively. When looking at his Scouting Grade, he ranks as a, Hit: 45, Power: 40, Run: 60, Arm: 60, Field: 60, Overall: 45.
The last two years, Mercado has moved from Double-A to Triple-A, while hitting .289/.348/.426 over 194 games. His patience at the plate is one of his strengths, walking 46 times already this year. Over his career so far he has 165 walks compared to 366 strikeouts (2.66:1 K/BB). When looking at his last two years, his 114 wRC+ in Double-A and 107 wRC+ in Triple-A show he is an above average hitter.
Here is a short expert from MLB.com about Mercado.
"The move seemed to free his mind as he re-worked his swing and was able to focus on his offense. It came together rather quickly, with him making more consistent contact as a result of improved bat speed and much more extra-base authority than he’d ever shown previously. He does need to continue to refine his approach and get into hitter’s counts more consistently, which would give him more opportunities to tap into that raw power. A plus runner with a plus arm, he has transitioned to center field seamlessly and is a plus defender who looks like he was meant to roam the outfield."
Mendoza is a 22-year-old Double-A third baseman. He lacks the power a third baseman should have, but he is able to be consistent at the plate. His slash is .329/.381/.462 over his first two years in the league, hitting .289/.358/.385 in Double-A this year. Similar to Mercado, his 2.49:1 K/BB is pretty good.
When looking at his Scouting Grade, Hit: 50, Power: 40, Run: 40, Arm: 55, Field: 55, Overall: 45, shows a similar story. His wRC+ the last two years has been impressive. In 2017, in A-ball, he had a 90 wRC+. However, at every other level in the last two years, he has had a wRC+ over 100. So while he doesn’t have high power numbers, he is an above average offensively.
Here is a short expert from MLB.com about Mendoza.
"In his brief career, Mendoza has shown an innate ability to barrel up the baseball from the right side of the plate with a line drive approach. He can drive the ball to all fields, albeit without over-the-fence power, as he is much more focused on contact. Mendoza has the chance to be a plus defender at the hot corner, with good hands, footwork and a strong arm."
Thomson is a 25-year-old bullpen arm who has upside. While he has been moving up the rankings slower than the other two prospects, he is a low-risk type prospect.
When you look at his overall numbers, they are relatively impressive. Over 57 appearances and 84.2 innings, Thomson has a 2.66 ERA with 103 strikeouts and 32 walks. The K/BB ratio isn’t amazing, but his ERA is something that we should pay attention too.
The one knock I can see is he struggles at first when he moves up to another level. He currently has a 3.30 ERA at the Double-A level. If you look at his trends, he will struggle to an extent at one level, but then he is able to make the necessary adjustments. With the bullpen being one of the weaker area’s for the Royals, they can’t have too many options.
So what should we make of these prospects?