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Blockbuster: Padres and Reds Dealin’

The Padres and Reds agreed to a deal early today that is going to send RHP Matt Latos to the Reds while 3 of the Reds top prospects will be headed back to San Diego. Reds GM Walt Jocketty, no doubt smelling blood in the water after the rival Cardinals lost Albert Pujols to the Angels, made a huge move today. 

“Mat is a big, strong young pitcher with electric stuff,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. “We consider him to be a potential No. 1 starter who, contractually, we have under control for four more years. To acquire a pitcher who is ready to fit into the top of a rotation, you have to give up talent.”

Latos had a stellar 2010 season going 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA and more than a K per inning over 184.2. The workload in 2010 no doubt had something to do with his slow start to 2011 and his slight step back in ERA which jumped to 3.47. He still was right around a K per inning and despite being better in the pitchers have Petco, Latos still had a 3.57 ERA away. Moving to Great American will no doubt hurt his ERA as Latos is more of a flyball pitcher, but his K numbers should help him keep the ERA under 4.00.

As we take a look at the Padres haul, you will see 3 players players who would of appeared on our soon to be released Cincinnati Reds 2012 Top 10 Prospects List, however you can find them now on our revised San Diego Padres Top 10 Prospects List.  Before we get to the prospects, let’s take a look at the Major Leaguer heading to San Diego in the deal. RHP Edison Volquez, who had an All Star rookie year in 2008 before needing Tommy John surgery in 2009, is a high upside selection for the Padres.

Volquez has of yet to regain his command and his numbers have suffered because of it. His stuff is still electric and the move to Petco should only help him. If Bud Black can help him refine his mechanics he could be a steal for the Padres. Despite being a ground ball pitcher, Volquez has left too many fastballs up in the wrong counts and has suffered an 8% and 13% HR per flyball rate over the past two season.

But the biggest part of the Padres haul may very well be players with little to no major league experience. Here are the excerpts from our Reds Top 10 list:

The Reds #2 overall prospect:

2. Yonder Alonso OF/1B 04/08/87 H:6’2” W:240 –  Drafted as a power hitting first basemen in the 1st round of the 2008 draft as the 7th overall pick, Yonder Alonso has had to learn to play a position in which he does not belong. We detail more of this conundrum here . With a triple-A slash line of .296/.374/.486 in 409 plate appearances, Alonso is a good combination of offensive skills. He brings good contact rates and decent power numbers. In 358 at-bats he hit 12 hr’s, 56 rbi’s and 24 doubles. His power is more of a line-drive and gap power than a home run hitter.

Best of all he has fine strike zone management with bb/k ratio of 46/60. As we noted in his Prospect Instinct, Yonder is a fine defensive first basemen. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help when somebody named Votto is manning that position in Cincinnati already. As a result he was promoted up to the big club as a left fielder. This is not a good fit defensively and is simply the only way that the Reds could get his bat in the lineup. Yonder made 88 at-bats for the Reds in 2011 and had excellent numbers with the ridiculously small data sample. However, minor and major league performance suggest that his bat is major league ready. On the other hand his left fielding skills are not ready and likely never going to be good. Unless traded during the off-season, Alonso will start the season in Cincinnati in 2012 and he should be a very productive bat. He is still adding more power to his advanced swing and solid offensive approach.. Yonders’ game has all of the makings of a productive major league hitter with the potential for a few all-star appearances along the way.

Our Instinct – Now with the Padres, Alonso is possibly blocked by Anthony Rizzo. He’s an excellent bat and has a great head for the game, but I just don’t see where he and Rizzo fit on the 2012 Padres. There may be more movement to come from the Padres.

3. Yasmani Grandal C 11/08/88 H:6’2” W:205 – Apparently the Reds have a penchant for drafting very good players to positions where they already have a strong player ahead of them. Exhibit A is Joey Votto manning first base with Yonder Alonso waiting in the wings. Exhibit B is Devin Mesoraco likely taking the catching duties in 2012 with Yasmani Grandal toiling in the minors with no place to go. We break down Grandal’s development path here.

While it is difficult to know how he fits into the future of the organization, we can look at his current production to evaluate his potential. His bat is a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat. Last year he slugged a .500 slugging percentage across 3 levels of competition with 14 hr’s and 68 rbi’s in 374 at-bats. That power will likely be his calling card. Posting a batting average of .305 and an OBP of .401, Grandal also knows how to get on base and make the opposing pitcher work. Grandal is a legitimate defensive catcher, who is already close to major league average and still developing. There is a lot to like about Yasmani Grandal and his game could translate to an all-star level major league catcher. But the question remains, where does he fit. Grandal likely starts in triple-A and good numbers are expected. Grandal should be ready for the majors before the end of 2012. Will the Reds be ready for him?

Our Instinct: The Padres have no one in the way for this Hurricanes product. Grandal should make his debut some time in 2012 and be an above average defender and hitter. Not easy to find catcher who can work both sides of the game and handle a pitching staff. Grandal seems to be that type of player.

7. Brad Boxberger RP 05/27/88 H:6’2” W:200 – Drafted in the 1st round as the 43rd overall pick of the 2009 draft, Brad Boxberger is a relief pitcher that gets high marks from us. Originally drafted as a starter, he converted to relief role after 13 starts in 2010. Since the move to reliever, he has been lights out. He carries a nice pitching arsenal of a low to mid 90’s FB, a low 80’s slider and a low 70’s changeup. It is this differentiation of speeds that seems to be the key for his effectiveness. And Boxberger was very effective in 2011. He carried a shiny 2.03 era and 11 saves in 34.1 innings pitched across 2 levels of competition. No smoke and mirrors here, he had a dominating 93 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched in the 2011 season. His control isn’t outstanding with 28 free passes in those same 62 ip’s, but it is more than adequate in the context of all those strikeouts. Boxberger has a legitimate chance to make it in the Reds bullpen coming out of spring training. If not, we will see him very soon thereafter. Good stuff and the great stats to back it up. We like his chances to be successful as big league, high leverage reliever. He has the markings of a top flight closer in the big leagues, if he pitches up to his potential.

Our Instinct: The Padres add another dominant arm to their bullpen and Boxberger could eventually close for the Padres. He has the K numbers to be dominant and handled the AFL well this year. He’s ready to make the Padres out of Spring Training.

Overall the trade is even right now. The Reds got the front line starter they were looking for in Latos who has Ace experience and is under team control for four more years.

The Padres got upside and future. A lot of upside. If they can fix Volquez this trade will eventually be the root cause of a multi-year playoff run.

Check back soon as we profile more Top 10 Lists for each MLB team and also get our baseball geek on and take a look at some of the later draft picks from the 2011 draft that we think could be big names on the prospect radars in the near future. While you’re here, take a look at a recent article in this series: Cleveland Indians Top 10 List  and be a step ahead of the game.  Also, check out a friend of ours for all of your fantasy sports needs. Fantasy Rundown is updated religiously and is truly an awesome resource.   Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be. So don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at mailbag@baseballinstinct.com.


I was born and raised in NYC. My father was a diehard Yankees fan but not biased and raised me to love the game more than any one team. For that I'm truly thankful to him. My love for the game runs deep, and after crunching numbers all day long, I tend to spend my nights at the FSL ballparks.

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