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July 31, 2017 at 2:15 PM

Trade Analysis: Scouting the prospects dealt to the Mets for Addison Reed

After trading for Eduardo Nunez last week, the Red Sox made their second move of the trade deadline period Monday morning, acquiring right-handed pitcher Addison Reed from the New York Mets for three right-handed pitching prospects, all relievers—Jamie Callahan, Stephen Nogosek, and Gerson Bautista. 

The 28-year old Reed has late-inning experience with both the White Sox and the Mets, having closed for both teams. This year, Reed has a 2.57 ERA (3.15 FIP) and 1.12 WHIP with 48 strikeouts and only six walks in 49 innings. He has served as the Mets' closer with Jeurys Familia on the disabled list, but his performance has tailed off some after a standout 2016, with his strikeout rate down from 29.9% to 24% and groundball rate down from 39.5% to 38.4%. His home run-per-fly ball rate is also up significantly from 5.4% to 9.4%. 

But after another loss Sunday in which the Red Sox bullpen blew the lead in the eighth inning, Reed represents a definite upgrade in setting up the bridge to closer Craig Kimbrel, having pitched in the American League before and with the experience and skillset to help extend the Red Sox bullpen. He can get both right-handed and left-handed hitters out, and his acquisition should push Matt Barnes to the seventh inning and allow John Farrell to use Brandon Workman even earlier in high leverage situations. Should Joe Kelly and, potentially, Carson Smith return healthy, the Red Sox could have a very strong bullpen down the stretch.

The Mets' return for Reed seems on par with what rental relievers of his pedigree have fetched around the league. Though the Red Sox did give up quantity in dealing three players ranked in the SoxProspects top 50 prospects, all three project as relievers, as the team avoided dipping into its already thin starting pitching depth. Callahan is the highest-ranked prospect of the group here at SoxProspects, coming in number 20 in the current rankings (which we should note have not yet been updated after the recent trades of Shaun Anderson and Luis Ysla). Nogosek comes in just behind him at number 25 and Gerson Bautista comes in at 47, although he started the season in the top 30. 

Notably, Callahan and Bautista were among the large group of Sox minor leaguers who will be Rule 5 Draft eligible this offseason. We had predicted that the Red Sox may try to thin that group by using such players in trades this month on the last Soxprospects.com podcast. Callahan was a lock to be protected, with Bautista unlikely to be protected but a potential to be selected as a long-shot to stick with some upside.

Jamie Callahan was selected in the second round of the 2012 draft as a high schooler out of South Carolina, signing for a $600,000 bonus. He appeared in just five games with the GCL Red Sox after signing striking out seven and walking three in 8 2/3 innings. He was assigned to Lowell in 2013 and put together a solid season with a 3.92 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 59 2/3 innings with 54 strikeouts and 17 walks. In 2014, Callahan struggled mightily with Greenville in his full-season debut. In 108 2/3 innings, he had a 6.96 ERA and 1.87 WHIP with only 89 strikeouts. 

He returned to Greenville in 2015 and started six games before being moved to the bullpen at a time when the organization was rethinking its prior reluctance to move its top pitching prospects into the bullpen if that was their likely landing spot. The move took some time to take, but he did see more success in that role, cutting his ERA and WHIP from 9.14 and 2.08 as a starter to 3.06 and 1.21 in the bullpen while seeing his strikeout rate jump from 17% to 26%. He even made a brief appearance in the Arizona Fall League that offseason after a strong performance in the Fall Instructional league

In 2016, Callahan put up a respectable 3.29 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 65.2 innings for Salem, but allowed only 53 hits and struck out 63. He turned in a strong performance with a full AFL campaign, allowing 11 hits and 3 walks while striking out 12 in 12 innings, previewing a breakout 2017 campaign. He surprised as a non-roster invitee to major league spring training, competing for an opening day spot and only being optioned to the minors as part of the final group of cuts from camp. Starting the season in Portland, he struck out 20 and walked nary a hitter in 13 innings, leading to a quick promotion to Pawtucket. Callahan has had a few rough outings in Triple-A, but overall has been solid with 36 strikeouts in 29 innings, though his 4.03 ERA and 1.41 WHIP don’t necessarily suggest that.

Callahan has a mature, solid pitcher's frame, listed at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds. He has minimal remaining physical projection and a strong lower half. Callahan throws directly over the top with an off-putting delivery. He gets solid extension to the plate and has quick arm. His fastball sits 92-95 mph and he has reportedly touched 98 mph, although we’ve only seen him hit 96. The pitch has late life and jumps on hitters due to his extension to the plate. He has shown the ability to control the pitch, but his command is still a work in progress. It projects as a plus-to-better offering with the potential to miss barrels at the major league level. 

Callahan’s best secondary pitch is his splitter, which has shown plus potential. He throws it 85-87 mph, with the pitch showing late dive down and away from left-handed hitters. Callahan also will show an average cutter/slider at 86-88 mph with short, horizontal movement. 

With the potential for two plus pitches and an average command profile, Callahan has a relatively high floor and is close to major league ready. He projects as a sixth/seventh-inning arm, with the chance for more, and should make his major league debut with the Mets later this season.

Stephen Nogosek was selected in the sixth round of the 2016 draft out of the University of Oregon, where he was the Ducks' closer. After signing for a $250,000 bonus, Nogosek made his debut with Lowell last year, striking out 19 in 13.1 innings while allowing only nine hits and walking seven before earning a quick promotion to Greenville. The South Atlantic League proved more challenging, as he posted a 5.14 ERA in 14 innings, allowing 17 hits but striking out 12 and walking just 3. Returning to Greenville this year, Nogosek struck out 45 in 35 1/3 innings with a 2.55 ERA and 0.99 WHIP before a mid-season promotion to Salem. With Salem, Nogosek had a 4.08 ERA and 1.42 WHIP with 18 strikeouts and 10 walks in 17 2/3 innings, but one disastrous outing in which he allowed 6 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 2 1/3 innings heavily skews those numbers.

Nogosek has an average pitcher's frame, listed at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds. He’s a solid athlete and has a max-effort delivery. He throws from a high-three quarters arm slot with a short delivery in which he brings his leg up, crouches, and then explodes towards the plate. He has a violent head whack late and quick arm. His fastball sits 93-95 mph, but is on the straight side. The pitch has plus potential, but command could be a problem at times given the effort in his delivery. 

Nogosek’s best secondary pitch is his 85-87 mph slider. The pitch flashes above-average potential with short, hard, two-plane break. Nogosek will also throw a changeup at 84-86 mph on occasion. He lacks feel for the pitch and it’s a below-average offering, successful primarily when sequenced correctly to steal a strike. 

Like Callahan, Nogosek projects as a middle relief arm. Interestingly, he was used as a true closer this year, typically entering games in the eighth or ninth inning in save situations, which is a rarity in A-ball for the Red Sox organization. Such usage likely speaks more for the organization's feeling that he might move quickly through the system, and he could do just that in the Mets system, perhaps debuting as soon as late next season in the major leagues.

Gerson Bautista signed for a $250,000 bonus out of the Dominican Republic in April 2013, a late-bloomer of an international signee as he was just two months from turning 18. He missed the 2013 season after testing positive for metabolites of Stanozolol, then made his debut in 2014 with the DSL Red Sox, putting up a 0.96 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 56 innings with 29 strikeouts and 21 walks. He came stateside in 2015, spending the entire season with the GCL Red Sox. In 52 innings, he had a 2.77 ERA and 1.21 WHIP with 41 strikeouts and 27 walks. In 2016, Bautista started the year with Lowell and moved to the bullpen. He excelled before a quick promotion to Greenville, and across both levels had a 2.55 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with 36 strikeouts and 13 walks in 35 1/3 innings. This year, Bautista was pushed to Salem and has struggled. In 45 1/3 innings, he had a 5.16 ERA and 1.81 WHIP and allowed 54 hits and 28 walks, though he also did post 53 strikeouts. 

Bautista's stuff has steadily improved since he entered the system, though physically he hasn’t really developed. He is listed at 6-foot-2, 170 pounds and has a thin, lanky frame with long limbs and minimal remaining projection. He has a very strong arm, but there is a lot of effort in his delivery and a lot of moving parts. He has a long arm action behind, but is short going forward coming from an over-the-top arm slot. He struggles to find a consistent release point and repeat his delivery, and has trouble keeping his line to the plate and his arm in sync with the rest of his delivery. 

Bautista's fastball sits 94-97 mph, and he has reportedly touched 100 mph. He struggles with his control of the offering, but when on, the pitch shows plus-plus potential. Bautista’s velocity has steadily increased since he signed, as he started off in the low-90s in 2014. Bautista’s secondary pitches include a splitter and breaking ball. His splitter works in the low-90s with late dive. The pitch has average potential and has evolved from his changeup, which he used to throw in the mid-to-high 80s, but was on the firm side. Bautista will also throw a mid-80s breaking ball with short, vertical break. 

Bautista’s stock has taken a hit this year, as he has struggled to put things together in Salem. When on, he will show stand-out velocity, but his secondary offerings are fringy and he has a below-average command profile. He has late-inning upside, but has a low floor and is a high-risk prospect with a long way to go developmentally. 

Photo credit: Jamie Callahan, Stephen Nogosek and Gerson Bautista by Kelly O'Connor

Ian Cundall is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.