With the 2012 trade deadline looming at the end of the month the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays kicked things off in a huge way with a ten-player deal that sends starting pitcher J.A. Happ and relievers Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter to the Blue Jays.
In exchange, the Astros pick up big leaguers Francisco Cordero and Ben Francisco, along with a host of minor leaguers. Both Cordero and Francisco are secondary pieces in the big leagues at this point, but they can be useful to a rebuilding club like the Astros over the next couple of months. In addition, a hot seven to ten days could see them flipped again at the deadline; stranger things have happened.
On the minor league side of things, the Jays have sent right-handers Joe Musgrove (14th in pre-season Top 15) and Asher Wojciechowski, left-hander David Rollins and catcher Carlos Perez.
Musgrove was a first round pick of the Jays in 2011 and features a very physical 6-foot-5, 225 pound frame. He can run his fastball into the 92-94 range consistently and has flashed velocity as high as 97 mph at times. His curveball has potential to be a plus pitch down the line with tight, overhand break. His change-up is a work in progress but some scouts believe he shows enough feel for the pitch for it be average down the line. In just two outings for rookie-level Bluefield this year, Musgrove has allowed five hits over eight innings while striking out nine batters.
Wojciechowski was also a first-round pick of the Blue Jays, having come off the board in the supplemental round in 2010. A product of the Citadel, Wojciechowski was a hot name coming out of college, having shown mid-90s heat and dominating overall stuff throughout his junior year. As a pro, he has struggled at times and more and more scouts see him as a power-armed reliever. He has a large frame with plenty of strength and the potential for two plus pitches – fastball and slider – in a relief role.
The left-hander, David Rollins is a 22-year old Texas native that has been drafted four times, once by the Dodgers out of high school, twice by the Mariners out of junior college and then again by the Blue Jays out of San Jacinto College North. With an average frame, Rollins pumps a good sinking fastball in the 88-91 range and some scouts report he has touched 92 this year. Both his slider and change-up flash on occasion. He mixes his pitches well but is still learning to command his arsenal. At best, he has the profile of a back-end starter.
Carlos Perez is an interesting catching prospect – one of many in the Blue Jays system. While he doesn’t have the incredible tools of Travis d’Arnaud or some other catchers, Perez still could have a solid big league future. He is a very sound player with a good feel for the game and enough across-the-board ability to contribute. He has the potential to be an above-average defender with an above-average arm and quick release. He makes easy contact with gap power and the potential to be an average hitter with 20+ doubles and 8-10 home runs a year at his peak.
The Astros also received a player to be named later from the Blue Jays and if/when that player is named, I will update the article to include some scouting notes on him.