Scouting the Swap – Padres Nab Carlos Quentin
The 2011 trade season continues with the Padres acquiring outfielder Carlos Quentin from the White Sox for two minor league pitching prospects. The 29-year old Quentin brings plus power to the Padres lineup though it is difficult to see him playing a full season considering he has yet to play more than 131 games in any Major League season. Regardless of his health he provides some punch to the middle of a lineup desperate for offense.
The price paid is nothing too significant for the Padres, who boast one of the overall best and deepest minor league systems in baseball.
The headliner in the deal is right-hander Simon Castro. He is a big kid, checking in at a robust 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds. He is physically mature though still gaining coordination with his long limbs. He has a long arm action and good arm speed that generates plus velocity in the 92-94 mph range with some regularity. His velocity fluctuated a lot in 2011 as he completely lost his mechanics at times and he would range from 88 to 95 mph during many of his starts.
His slider shows as a plus pitch at times and it will offer two-plane break when he has it going right. His change-up is below-average but he will show some feel for the pitch at times and just needs to throw it more to become comfortable with it in tight spots.
There was a time when scouts viewed Castro as a potential number two starter but most talent evaluators have backed off that view and now consider him more of a number four starter with bullpen possibilities if his command doesn’t take a big step forward.
The second pitcher in the deal is left-hander Pedro Hernandez. The Padres had added Hernandez to the 40-man roster in November and while he needs more minor league seasoning he could see big league action in 2012.
Hernandez has a fringe-average fastball that sits at 88-90 mph and will touch 91. He commands his fastball well and loves to work both sides of the plate low in the zone. He elevates his fastball only occasionally. His change-up is his best pitch showing legitimate plus potential and increased consistency in 2011. He gets good sink on the change and can keep right-handers back with the pitch.
He lacks a reliable breaking ball but will throw a 1-7 curveball with loopy, soft break. Hernandez has to control his emotions on the mound as he can get excited and lose focus when things don’t go his way. If everything comes together he could be a back of the rotation innings eater or long man in the bullpen. He lacks a viable backup option if that doesn’t come together as without a reliable breaking ball he doesn’t project as a good lefty-specialist.
The Sox managed to continue their rebuilding effort by acquiring a prospect in Castro that likely would have ranked number three on their Top 15 list behind Addison Reed and Nestor Molina, and another pitcher that has some big league potential. I would however argue that the Sox should have gotten more for a player of Quentin’s caliber. Meanwhile the Padres get some much needed punch for their lineup at a relatively low cost.