Big Hype Prospects: Hassell, Wood, Marte, Arroyo, Waldichuk

Today on Big Hype Prospects, we’ll be looking at the most important leads processed at the trading deadline. For a full recap see Mark Polishuk american league review and James Hicks national league overview. JC Abrams has exhausted his rookie eligibility, so we’ll skip it.

Five Big Hype Prospects

Robert Hassell, 20, DE, WSH (A+)
346 AP, 10 HR, 20 SB, .299/.379/.467

James Wood, 19, OF, WSH (interim)
236 AP, 10 HR, 15 SB, .337/.453/.601

The Nationals said they wanted a mix of major and minor league talent in exchange for John Soto, and the Padres obliged. Hassell typically finds his way into conversations about the league’s top 10 prospects, although most roster makers rank him around the 25th best. He is young for his level and could taste Double-A in the last months of the season. Hassell combines rigor and a keen sense of contact. It’s a high-probability future big leaguer, but it might not be particularly exciting. Every promotion will be a test – can he continue to post a walk rate of more than 10%, a strikeout rate of less than 20%, while showing 20 home runs? Trent Grisham — ahead of his absent 2022 season — serves as a loose lineup.

In production, Wood starred as a Hassell clone a year back on the development curve. However, Wood is an absolute mammoth. Most young players of his size either have a significant withdrawal problem or have sold themselves for contact. Wood looked comfortable in Low-A, hitting for power while showing both discipline and a high contact rate. One can dream about height, athleticism and early ability. There is potential for a true elite player here – one who could eventually justify Soto’s elimination. Of course, with all the challenging miner levels awaiting it, Wood is more of a concept than a proven commodity. He should get a season-ending High-A tryout.

Noëlvi Marte, 20 years old, SS, CIN (A+)
394 AP, 15 HR, 13 SB, .275/.363/.462

Edwin Arroyo, 18, SS, CIN (A)
410 AP, 13 HR, 21 SB, .316/.385/.514

Many analysts believe Marte was the best prospect traded at the deadline (excluding Abrams) while others wondered aloud if the Mariners knew something we didn’t. You may recall an earlier discussion in this column. To sum up, baseball america people cooled off on Marte, dropping him to 46 on their midseason Top 100. During this time, Athletic’s Keith Law favors Marte with the 12th rank. FanGraph Lists Marte as one of their 13 level 60 prospects (on the 20/80 scale). MLB pipeline ranked him 17th.

At first glance, Marte was quite a price to pay for a season and a half of castle louis if the majority opinion is correct. Especially considering the Mariners also fielded the well-regarded 18-year-old Arroyo (more on him below) and a pair of pitching prospects. Even if Baseball America’s more pessimistic ranking is accurate, the Reds have done well in this trade.

Baseball America actually ranked Arroyo one spot behind Marte. Other outlets are less enthusiastic about Arroyo. With Elly Cruz ranked in their Top 20, it’s a good time for shortstops in the Cincy system.

Interestingly, Arroyo is a switch hitter and switch thrower. He throws right-handed as an outfielder but threw left-handed in high school. The latter element will only come into play if he has to retrain on the mound in the future, or if he injures his right arm and moves to the outfield. As a hitter, reports indicate that Arroyo sells power but has a compact enough swing to do so without painful strikeout rates. His left side swing has a classic left loop. His bat path is flatter on the right side, although he still produces a lot of contact with the fly ball.

Ken Waldichuk, 24, PS, (AAA)
47.2IP, 13.22K/9, 4.34BB/9, 3.59ERA

Waldichuk came out of the lost COVID season to post one of the most effective throwing lines in the minors last season. After replicating his success at the start of this season, he found himself on top 100 prospect lists. Many premium pitching prospects have great things but need to know more about the pitching business. Waldichuk, a lefty, kind of comes from the other side. He is polite and deceptive which allows him to surpass his stuff, even if it is not to undermine his repertoire which is both deep and effective. His delivery has a relief aspect, but he has the weapons to thrive as a mid-level starter. In particular, he has a great slider and shifter, both of which help his mid-90s fastball play. Sent to Oakland in the Frankie Montas trading, Waldichuk should get a taste of major league action in the final months of the season.

Five Plus

Logan O’HoppePSI (22): O’Hoppe was one of the more obvious trade tokens. The Phillies have no apparent role for a quality catching prospect (although such things could suddenly change). O’Hoppe is considered a defensive and offensive receiver who should one day be an average starter in the league. He was given more time at Double-A than he needed in a particularly friendly attacking environment. The discipline and contact skills he has shown this season have surpassed anything he has teased in the past. We’ll see if they hold up to a move to the angel system and the later steps of the ladder.

Jordan Groshans, MIA (22): After hitting just one home run in 279 Triple-A plate appearances, Groshans is trending toward a super utility role. Once a well-regarded prospect, reviewers began complaining about something missing – hard-hitting power – shortly after his 2019 debut. include in the Top 100, but that evaporated as he reached the upper minor levels.

Seth Johnson, BAL (23): A promising Rays system pitcher, Johnson will miss the rest of this season and most of 2023 due to Tommy John surgery. This is an interesting case for the Orioles. He will be eligible for Rule 5 this winter, may be hidden on the injured list and could defend in the bullpen when he returns in 2024. Will the Orioles field him or try to get him through? the rule 5 glove?

Esteury Ruiz, MIL (23): Presumably, the Brewers acquired Ruiz to help complete Tyrone Taylor in center field. Taylor has played near replacement level and Ruiz has hard-hitting skills that could help win ball games. For now, he will rely on his underage legend. He has 60 interceptions in 379 plate appearances in the minor leagues. His 27 plate appearances in the Majors haven’t yielded much — a .222/.222/.333 line and a three-attempt steal.

Spencer Steer, CIN, (24): While not exactly a top prospect, Steer will soon be part of the Major League squad and could claim a regular role. He has a short, punchy swing and enough discipline to keep his head above water. Great American Ballpark is the perfect place for him. He doesn’t have great raw power but hits a ton of fly balls. It could end like Eugene Suarez redux.

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