Yankees come away with A’s Sonny Gray in a Blockbuster Deal

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50 minutes before the trade deadline ended, the Yankees, who have been the front-runner for Sonny Gray all week, finally struck a deal with the Athletics to get it done. The Yankees get Sonny Gray in addition to $1.5 million in international bonus money and the Athletics receive OF Dustin Fowler, SS/OF Jorge Mateo, and RHP James Kaprielian.

Fowler, 22, is ranked as the Yankees fourth best prospect and comes ranked as the 77th best prospect in all of baseball. Fowler was having a nice season in Triple-A, slashing .293/.329/.542 with 19 doubles, 13 home runs, and 43 RBI’s in 70 games played with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders. He is currently sitting out the rest of this year after rupturing the patella tendon in his right knee on June 29th, but he will be major-league ready when he’s healthy again. Here’s his scouting reporting from MLB.com:

Fowler makes repeated hard contact with a short, quick left-handed stroke. His bat speed, strength and plus speed give him 20-20 upside, though he’s still learning to be an efficient basestealer. To reach his offensive ceiling, he’ll need to get more selective at the plate because he walks infrequently and puts too many early-count pitches in play rather than waiting for one to drive.

Fowler has made tremendous defensive improvement since turning pro. He has worked diligently with outfield instructor Reggie Willits to refine his reads and routes, going from spending the majority of his time on the corners in his first two season to being a quality center fielder. He also has bolstered his arm strength to at least average.

 

Mateo, 22, was ranked as the Yankees 8th best prospect and was originally a highly rated shortstop, but has seen time in the outfield and at second base this season. After struggling to hit in high Single-A, the Yankees still promoted him to Double-A, where he has found his bat, slashing .300/.381/.527 with nine doubles, four home runs, and 26 RBI’s in 30 games played. Mateo has still seen the majority of his playing time at shortstop, however, he’s most likely to end up at second base or the outfield at the big-league level due to his tendency to be inconsistent defensively. Here’s his scouting report from MLB.com:

One of the fastest runners in baseball, Mateo has top-of-the-scale speed and led the Minors with 82 steals in 2015 before dipping to 36 last season. He can get from the right side of the plate to first base in less than 4.0 seconds and wreak havoc once he gets on base. His quickness also should boost his on-base ability, though he’ll need to tighten his plate discipline to become a quality leadoff man.

While his speed gets the most attention, Mateo has a nice array of tools. His deceptive strength gives him solid raw power and he has an offensive ceiling of a .275 hitter with 15 homers per season. Few players can match his combination of quickness and arm strength, though he has been erratic at shortstop and is more likely to wind up at second base or in center field.

Kaprielian, 23, ranked as the Yankees 12th prospect, has missed all of 2017 due to having Tommy John surgery in mid-April. He’s had trouble staying on the mound since he was drafted by the Yankees with the 16th overall pick in 2015 MLB Draft. The good news is Kaprielian will not need a lot of minor-league seasoning so he will be available to help the Athletics sooner rather than later once he’s healthy. Here’s his scouting report from MLB.com:

After working at 88-92 mph in college with a fastball that stood out more for its sink and command than it did for velocity, Kaprielian has sat at 93-96 mph and touched 99 in pro ball. There’s no consensus as to which of his secondary offerings is the best, because his curveball, slider and changeup all grade as plus pitches when they’re on. His slider might have been his worst pitch coming out of college but he ran it up to 90 mph when he returned to the mound in the Arizona Fall League.

Kaprielian controls and commands his pitches very well, doing a good job of delivering all of them from the same arm slot. Considered more of a pitchability right-hander with a ceiling of a No. 3 starter when the Yankees drafted him, he has shown frontline stuff on the rare occasions he has been healthy. He shouldn’t require much Minor League seasoning but will have to prove he can stay on the mound.

Gray, 27, is having a nice bounce back year after a disappointing 2016 campaign and he’s been stellar in his last six starts, sporting a 1.37 ERA in that span, which certainly helped his trade value. The beauty about Gray is he’s no rental because he is under team control for two more years and it’s one of the reasons why the Yankees were willing to pay a huge price for him. It also helps that the Yankees received $1.5 million in international bonus money, which will help them down the line with international free agents.

If Kaprielian and Fowler recover without any problems, the Athletics will come out of this with one hell of a haul, continuing to quietly stockpile some highly rated talent. For the Yankees, Gray could be the piece to push them into another gear this season and put the rest of the AL East in the rearview mirror.

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