The Red Sox continued to overhaul their bullpen this off-season with the acquisition of right-handed pitcher Andrew Bailey from the Oakland A’s. Also going to Boston is outfielder Ryan Sweeney. In exchange Oakland receives outfielders Josh Reddick, first basemanMiles Head and right-hander Raul Alcantara.
Bailey has been a very good closer the last three years in Oakland and he should fill the void left from departed free agent closer Jonathan Papelbon. There are some injury concerns with Bailey but when healthy he is very good in the late innings.
The exchange of outfielders between the two clubs gives both players a potential fresh start in a new environment. The Sox have been reluctant to turn duties over to Reddick though he did show nice progress last year with a .280/.327/.457 line in the big leagues. Sweeney has been a solid platoon right fielder during his big league career and he should compete for some time in right field this spring.
On to scouting the prospects in the deal…
Alcantara ranked 15th on my recently released Red Sox Top 15 Prospects list. He is a 19-year old right-hander that pitched in the Gulf Coast League in 2011. He has reached 95 mph with his fastball but generally sits in the 91-92 range right now. He has an ideal pitcher’s frame (6-3, 180) that oozes future projection and could see added velocity.
His curveball is his best secondary pitch and it will flash plus at times while his change-up is still a project. There is a long developmental path ahead of him but his raw stuff suggests he could be a solid mid-rotation starter is his well below-average command develops.
Head just missed the Sox rankings and would have likely slotted in the 16-20 range. During his full-season debut in the Sox system he raked in the South Atlantic League with a .338/.409/.612 line in 66 games. He stumbled some once promoted to the Carolina League but still showed plenty of raw power.
Power is Head’s only true plus tool and it is a legitimate game changer. He has a good approach at the plate with advanced pitch recognition for his age and some scouts believe he could hit for a solid average down the line. Head’s body is not pretty and he is definitely limited to first base defensively. As a right-handed hitting first baseman he is going to mash at every stop.
This is the third significant trade of the off-season for the A’s and the deals have stocked their farm system with plenty of talent over the last few weeks. For more details on Oakland’s top prospects, check back on Friday as their Top 15 list debuts.