Athletics, Marlins Swap a Pair of Former First-Rounders

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The Oakland A’s and Miami Marlins pulled off a minor commerce over the weekend, with the A’s sending former first-round decide A.J. Puk all the way down to Florida whereas one other former first-rounder, outfielder JJ Bleday, headed to the CurrentCorporateName Coliseum. Puk had arguably his greatest — and healthiest — season as a professional in 2022, showing in 66 1/3 innings over 62 video games, all in reduction, whereas placing up a 3.12 ERA and three.69 FIP for the A’s. Bleday’s season was notably much less profitable, particularly after a July call-up that led to a .167/.277/.309 line with the guardian membership whereas mainly being a full-time starter.

For the Marlins, the draw of bringing Puk in is clear. As I’ve famous up to now, I’m typically leery of the Marlins buying and selling offense for pitching, contemplating how little they’ve of the previous. However on this case, it’s onerous to essentially describe Bleday as “offense,” whereas Puk is coming off an very profitable season. Whereas Puk succeeding as a late-inning reliever isn’t the sexiest final result given his standing as a prospect, it’s an vital constructing block contemplating the time he’s missed as a professional attributable to Tommy John surgical procedure, a shoulder surgical procedure, and an annoying biceps subject. Simply the truth that he got here out the opposite aspect of these maladies along with his upper-90s fastball and command each intact is a reasonably large deal in my e book and must have made Puk fascinating to most groups.

Puk’s precise function for Miami is way from set in stone. It could be tempting to only name him a late-inning reliever — he’s arguably the highest lefty within the bullpen and is much less heartburn-inducing than Tanner Scott and extra explosive than Steven Okert. But it surely’s onerous to definitively shut the e book on him as a starter given his pedigree, construct, and need to begin within the majors. The A’s had hinted that they have been keen to discover utilizing him as a starter within the spring, although that’s no assure that the Marlins can have the identical willingness. That stated, it also needs to be famous that the Marlins have been very reluctant to maneuver a few of their explosive younger pitchers with harm points to the bullpen full-time. Puk the Reliever is a strong contributor, however not a star, whereas Puk the Starter may nonetheless obtain stardom if he managed to remain wholesome.

Right here’s how Puk tasks by way of his remaining years of membership management:

ZiPS Projection – A.J. Puk

2023 3 4 4.01 51 1 60.7 54 27 8 22 68 102 0.4
2024 3 4 3.94 50 1 59.3 52 26 7 21 66 104 0.4
2025 3 4 3.97 49 1 59.0 52 26 7 21 65 103 0.4
2026 3 4 3.97 48 1 56.7 51 25 7 20 61 103 0.4

The transfer doesn’t actually change Miami’s 2023 outlook, and the workforce’s flaws stay, however I believe I’d fairly be within the Puk enterprise than the Bleday one. When the Marlins took Bleday with the fourth decide within the 2019 draft, he was typically considered one of the crucial polished, pro-ready hitters accessible within the class. The hope was that he’d be an enormous enhance to the workforce’s future offense, and that together with Jazz Chisholm Jr., Jesús Sánchez, Lewin Díaz, and Monte Harrison, he would kind a part of the workforce’s offensive core. Ultimately, solely Chisholm has labored out to any diploma. Bleday’s offensive prowess from school — he hit .347/.465/.701 for Vanderbilt in 2019 after coming back from a major indirect harm — has mainly disappeared within the professionals. His 2019 .257/.311/.379 professional debut at Excessive-A Jupiter is hardly what you wish to see from a high-end offensive prospect, and after shedding 2020, Bleday’s prospect standing took a critical hit in 2021 when he posted a .212/.323/.373 line for Double-A Pensacola.

Bleday had his greatest minor-league stint in 2022 for Triple-A Jacksonville, however even his .835 OPS there was extremely disappointing when you contextualize the numbers. His .228/.365/.470 line was very walk-heavy, which interprets comparatively poorly, and there was lots of offense within the minors final 12 months; the Worldwide League had a .750 OPS and the common workforce scored 5 runs a sport. ZiPS solely interprets Bleday’s 2022 efficiency for Jacksonville as .203/.310/.390, a tepid line that will get a lot worse while you add in his stint with the Marlins.

I believe that the A’s see Bleday as a lottery ticket, and one with extra upside remaining than, say, Cristian Pache. Once we look again in 10 years, I anticipate that we’ll see uncommon developmental patterns for the gamers who misplaced the 2020 season at a vital level of their profession, those that have been below 23 and a 12 months or two faraway from being drafted. I clearly can’t show that as I don’t possess a time machine — else ZiPS’ projections can be a great deal extra correct — however it’s one thing to maintain at the back of your thoughts. The very fact stays that as dismal as his skilled profession has been to date, lots of people actually appreciated Bleday going into the draft and he’s nonetheless comparatively younger, so it makes higher sense to offer him an opportunity fairly than checking in on, say, Tyler Naquin or Odúbel Herrera. Right here’s how Bleday tasks:

ZiPS Projection – JJ Bleday

2023 .200 .297 .360 469 56 94 23 2 16 56 61 147 3 86 -8 0.3
2024 .205 .302 .367 463 56 95 23 2 16 57 61 141 3 90 -8 0.5
2025 .209 .306 .374 454 56 95 23 2 16 57 60 135 3 93 -8 0.7
2026 .211 .306 .375 365 45 77 19 1 13 46 48 106 3 93 -7 0.6
2027 .214 .308 .376 290 35 62 15 1 10 37 38 84 2 94 -5 0.5
2028 .213 .308 .371 221 26 47 12 1 7 28 29 64 1 93 -4 0.3

Ultimately, I’d name this a justifiable “problem commerce” for each groups.