The Nationals waited for the Winter Meetings to conclude before making a move, dealing LHP Ross Detwiler to the Texas Rangers for two prospects: 22 year old RHP Abel De Los Santos and 21 year old 2B Chris Bostick.
De Los Santos benefited by being moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen before the 2013 season; from 2010-12 where he was predominately a starter, De Los Santos put up the following stat line: 3.81 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 8.32 H/9, .64 HR/9, 2.43 BB/9, 8.47 K/9 and 3.35 K/BB ratio. Since being moved to the bullpen in 2013, he’s gone 2.58 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 6.36 H/9, 0.55 HR/9, 2.86 BB/9, 10.41 K/9 and 3.65 K/BB. While he spent his third straight season in A ball, he was still only 21 years old, so he wasn’t considered old for his level. His ceiling is as a middle reliever at the ML level, but if he can keep those BB and K rates right where they are, he stands a decent chance of reaching it. Making strides in 2015 is vital if he wants to reach the bigs; he needs to put on a strong performance for the Nats to have no choice but to add him to the 40-man and protect him from next year’s Rule 5 Draft.
There wasn’t much scouting information on De Los Santos. FanGraphs writer Nathaniel Stoltz put up a few videos of De Los Santos’ 2014 campaign (embedded below). I asked him about De Los Santos (accidentally calling him De La Rosa in my tweet) and he replied:
De Los Santos is a 6’2 RHP with a lightning quick arm and some projection in his frame. He works from a 3/4 slot, firing in a potentially plus fastball that had good run and was missing barrels, as well as bats. He has some recoil in his delivery, and did not show a secondary offering, but a 21-yr old with a potentially plus fastball is one to watch.
De Los Santos was eligible for today’s Rule 5 Draft but was not taken, likely because he does not fit the profile of a normal Rule 5 draftee (righty who throws smoke, lefty who throws at all, defense/speed utility guy). Also, if you go looking for Abel De Los Santos stats, there is a guy by the same name who is 6 months older that last pitched in the Reds system. Don’t get them confused like MiLB.com, who has the same picture for both.
There’s a lot more information in the internetosphere on Chris Bostick, a 21 year old second baseman (turns 22 in March). Bostick signed with the A’s after being drafted in the 44th round of the 2011 draft from a high school in Rochester, NY. Bostick had an okay 2014 season in high-A ball, hitting .251/.322/.412 with 31 doubles, 8 triples, 11 HR and 24 SB in 35 chances. He’s consistently put up solid walk rates in the minors (8.5%-9.2% over the last three seasons) and has meh-but-managable 20.9%-22.0% K rates to go with them.
Bostick was not really expected to see a big power guy when he was drafted, but he had 25 HR and 97 extra base hits combined over the 2013-14 seasons. His power and speed combination out of a middle infielder is intriguing, and it’s encouraging that he’s able to play solid defense and get on base at a good rate as well. He may profile as more of a utility guy, but I’m not giving up on him as a starting 2B yet. Both FanGraphs and Keith Law wrote in their Rangers pre-2014 prospect rankings that he had the ability to be an above-average ML 2B.
Law loves Bostick, and spoke about him with Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas after releasing his Rangers top 10 list (Bostick was #6 pre-2014):
I’ve loved him when he was in the A’s system and I had him as a sleeper prospect a few years ago. He’s got a great swing, good approach at the plate, can really run and is an above-average defender at second base. In the Rangers’ system, they have (Jurickson) Profar and (Rougned) Odor ahead of him, but it’s an asset with value. Maybe he becomes a tradable guy for them because he’s blocked and could be a good player for someone else. He’s got the swing discipline, the swing and attitude to end up an above-average second baseman.
Bostick is familiar with being ranked on organizational prospect lists, as he was #24 for the A’s pre-2012 (Baseball America), #20 for the A’s pre-2013 (Baseball America), #13 for the A’s pre-2013 (FanGraphs), #18 for the A’s pre-2014 (Baseball America) and #10 for the Rangers pre-2014 (FanGraphs).
Nine days ago, we were wondering if Ross Detwiler would even be tendered a contract. The fact that the Nats got two interesting prospects is a bit surprising in a good way, although the Nats could have done much better if he was dealt last winter. Still, they shed $3 million in payroll and freed up a spot in the bullpen. And remember kids, the last time the Nats made a salary-dumping move with the Rangers for minor leaguers, it netted them Tanner Roark.