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July 31, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Trade Analysis: Scouting the players dealt for Peavy


As reported early this morning, the Red Sox have acquired right-handed pitchers Jake Peavy and Brayan Villarreal in a three-team deal. Infielder Jose Iglesias (pictured) is headed to the Detroit Tigers, and the Chicago White Sox will receive three minor leaguers from the Red Sox: infielder Cleuluis Rondon and pitchers Francellis "Frank" Montas and Jeffrey "JB" Wendelken. To complete the deal, Detroit is sending outfielder Avisail Garcia to Chicago. In dealing two middle infielders and two right-handed pitchers, the Red Sox took advantage of two of the deeper positions in their farm system to trade up for pitching.

- Iglesias, the most known Red Sox commodity in the deal, is the only player above A-Ball that the Red Sox included. Since he entered the system, the 23-year-old has been known for his defensive prowess, which grades out as an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale. Iglesias has soft hands, fluid actions, and excellent instincts. He really understands how to play the position, taking excellent angles, and combines all that with a plus arm. The question with Iglesias has always been whether he would hit enough for the defensive tools to play. He has plus bat speed and a compact swing, but has always had major issues with pitch recognition, especially identifying breaking balls, and an immature approach. His power potential is also limited due to his smallish frame and arm-heavy swing. In the past he has shown a reluctance to take pitches, often resulting in him putting the ball in play with weak contact against pitcher’s pitches.

This season, Iglesias was putting together better at-bats, and at the major league level the results were evident. At the time of the trade, he was hitting .330/.376/.409 which is solid on its surface, but he has struggled mightily in recent weeks, including going 5 for 35 without a walk or extra base hit since the All-Star break. Even if those numbers continue to regress, Iglesias will still be an extremely valuable player due to his elite defensive ability, but with Xander Bogaerts knocking on the door, along with Will Middlebrooks and Garin Cecchini at third base, the Red Sox could comfortably deal him and know they had other internal options now and in the future.

- Of the three minor-league prospects in the deal, 20-year-old right-handed pitcher Francellis Montas is the one with the most upside. Montas is listed at 6-foot-2 and 185-pounds, but is considerably bigger than that, having filled out his frame especially in the lower body, since entering the system. He has struggled this season, with a 2-9 record and 5.70 ERA for the Low A Greenville Drive, however those numbers don’t reflect his ability. Montas throws from a ¾ arm slot and has an extremely live arm. His delivery isn’t the cleanest, he throws with a decent amount of effort and he has below-average command, especially of his fastball. The fastball is his best pitch though, sitting in the mid-to-high 90’s consistently and touching 100 mph. When he finishes his delivery the pitch shows late downward life, but it can flatten out at times. He has trouble holding velocity, something Senior Columnist Jon Meoli noticed after watching him in Spring Training.

The primary secondary offering for Montas is a mid-80s slider, but the pitch is inconsistent. It tends to lack depth and tilt, but on occasion, especially when thrown harder, it shows tight rotation and the potential to be a solid complement to his fastball. He also mixes in an 86-88 mph changeup that grades as well below average right now. Montas has shown the ability to miss bats, striking out 96 in 85 1/3 innings this season. At this point, however, he gets by mostly with his well-above-average-to-elite velocity, rather than understanding how to pitch and use his complete arsenal. While currently a starter, Montas is likely best suited for a bullpen role where he could rely on his fastball and get away with not having pinpoint command or multiple secondary offerings.

- Jeffrey Wendelken lacks the pure stuff of Montas, but his results in 2013 have been superior. Taken in the 13th round in the 2012 draft out of Middle Georgia College — the same school as former-Red Sox and current-A's outfielder Josh Reddick — the 20-year-old has been excellent since joining the Red Sox organization. In his 2012 debut in the Gulf Coast League, Wendelken had a 1.27 ERA and 0.656 WHIP, striking out 28 and walking only three in 21 1/3 innings. Placed in Greenville for 2013, the right-hander has continued to excel, earning South Atlantic League All-Star recognition. In 27 appearances out of the Drive bullpen, he has a 2-0 record with a 2.77 ERA, striking out 54 and walking 20 in 65 innings.

Wendelken is a stocky, filled-out right-hander. He has decent mechanics with some arm whip in his finish. He fastball sits in the low 90s, topping out at 95 mph. The pitch has late life and Wendelken does a good job hiding the ball in his delivery. During the Fall Instructional league he showed off two secondary pitches, a curveball and changeup, with the curveball being the more advanced of the two. He threw his 11-5 curveball 74-75 mph, and when he snapped off the pitch it showed depth and tight rotation. His mid-80s changeup lagged behind, as it was inconsistent, and tended to float to the plate with little movement. Wendelken doesn’t offer much projection, profiling as a potential middle reliever.

- The youngest player included in the deal, Cleuluis Rondon, has been in Lowell, where he has complied a triple slash line of .276/.326/.350. Listed at 6-foot and only 160 pounds, Rondon is athletic with a projectable frame and the defensive ability to stay up the middle. Signed as a shortstop out of Venezuela in November 2010 by scout Angel Escobar, Rondon has seen most of his 2013 action at second base with the Lowell Spinners. That is more a result of Tzu-Wei Lin’s presence on the roster, rather than a reflection of Rondon’s defensive ability; in most years he would be the primary shortstop for the Spinners.

At the plate, Rondon is a switch hitter who has shown solid bat speed, especially from the left side where he starts open before closing down on approach. His hands work well and he has fluidity in his swing. He has shown the willingness to use all fields in the past and some gap power. From the right side, Rondon’s swing can get a little long and his bat can tend to drag. His pitch recognition skills are still rough and he is just starting to develop some semblance of an approach. His present power is well below average and he doesn’t project to hit for much in the future, but he has shown the ability to drive the ball out on occasion in batting practice. Going forward, Rondon’s physical development will be key as he will need to add strength in order to succeed against more advanced pitching. He is a lottery ticket of sorts, but has some tools that could play in a utility role at the major league level. 

Photo credit: Jose Iglesias by Kelly O'Connor

Staff Writer James Dunne contributed to this column. Ian Cundall is a Northeast Scout for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.

 
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