Last week, I tried to predict who the Red Sox would be receiving from the Royals and Mets to complete the Andrew Benintendi trade from February. Now that we know I was completely wrong on all of them, let’s take a look at the prospects headed to the Red Sox and (attempt to) project what they’ll become.
In addition to Josh Winckowski, who is looking very solid in Double-A so far, the Mets sent over corner outfielder Freddie Valdez, their #14 prospect, to complete their part of the Benintendi trade. In Rookie ball in 2019, Valdez slashed .274/.367/.814 with 6 HR in 60 games. He’s still working on translating and developing his power, but he looks to be a patient hitter with good power and a solid throwing arm. He’s definitely a boom-or-bust prospect, but from the research I did he’s leaning towards boom.
Initial reports compared him to fellow return Franchy Cordero, but I’m not sure if that’s the most fair comparison. Firstly, Valdez is only 19, so we shouldn’t project our frustrations with Cordero onto him. Second, Fangraphs projects Valdez to develop at least an average hit tool, whereas Franchy’s is below average, as well as being much more patient (at least according to the numbers).
A better projection, from what I’ve seen, is Cleveland outfielder Franmil Reyes, who’s had a little more success in the majors. He’ll have plenty of time to grow in the minors, so it will be some time before we can evaluate this part of the trade.
Luis De La Rosa
Coming from the Royals side of the Benintendi trade, De La Rosa is another young prospect that we won’t be seeing in the majors for a while. In 2019, at only 16, he pitched in 12 games in the Rookie league and impressed, with a 2.33 ERA, .705 WHIP, 1.6 BB/9 and 12.1 SO/9 after converting from SS.
Given everyone’s performances to this point, I think De la Rosa might end up being the best player in the trade. It might be rookie ball, but those numbers at just 16 are insane, and I’m expecting to see more of the same once he starts playing this year. It might take some time for him to start back up given the lack of a 2020 season for him, but I got high hopes for him.
According to Baseball America, members of the Royals farm system were impressed by his velocity as well as an “advanced changeup” for his age. Once again, I’m really excited to see what he becomes.
At 23, Gambrell is the oldest prospect of the players to be named later. He hasn’t looked great so far in the minors, and so far in 2021 he has a 4.37 ERA in 22.2 innings. That said, he does have a 1.01 WHIP and his opponents have a .180 BABIP (batting average on balls in play). This suggests that the hits he gives up are generally multiple bases.
From what I read, it seems to me that Gambrell projects best as a reliever. He has good stuff but doesn’t have the best control. Basically, a right handed version of current Red Sox reliever Darwinzon Hernandez. Gambrell’s inclusion in this trade, in my opinion, suggests to me the Royals gave up on their former 3rd round pick. We’ll see what the Sox can do with him.
It’s clear with these prospects the Sox are going with the long play and building up their farm system, as De la Rosa and Valdez are very likely a few years out from making the Show. Hopefully at least one of the three will pan out!
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– Pat Shuman (@PShu1996 on Twitter) Check out my other articles here!