December 23, 2011 by staff
He was always primed to be over-valued on the trade market, and the four prospects are really too much for a No. 2 starter who is about a 3-3.5 WAR pitcher at this point. Gio is just 26 and has upside, but I don’t think he’s worth as much as A.J. Cole, Brad Peacck, Derek Norris, and Tom Milone.
Cole is the best prospect in this deal and has a chance of being as good as Gonzalez, and he was one of the best three prospects in the Nationals farm system before this trade. In a few years, Cole should have an absolutely amazing fastball and at least a solid curve, but he could really take it to the next level if he’s able to work on his changeup. Cole’s change is nothing special at this point, but he could have a real trifecta of pitches if he can effectively build it into at least a plus pitch. This is a pitcher who has a legitimate shot at becoming a No. 1 starter one day, and I can definitely see his curveball becoming a very good pitch for him.
However, a lot hinges on that changeup; he should be able to develop at least a decent change. Brad Peacck is another high-line pitching prospect, but nobody is sure if he’ll end up as a starter or reliever in the Majors. He doesn’t have the best control out there and might not end up being a very durable pitcher, but Peacck does have a strong fastball.
Most people aren’t sold on his knucklecurve yet, and his changeup needs a lot of work before it becomes anything resembling a threat to hitters. He will probably end up being a set-up man, but that’s not bad for a guy who was an afterthought before a breakout 2011. Peacck was a 41st rounder, and it should be noted that his smaller frame and significantly higher velocity in shorter outings make him better suited for a move as a high-leverage reliever (SU).
Catching prospect Derek Norris may not be a catcher for much longer, as his defense is still inadequate for the position despite improvements made defensively. That being said, Norris is the kind of prospect that has been synonymous with Athletics hitting prospects over the years. He draws a ton of walks and has never had an OBP under .360 during the last five stints. Norris has quite a bit of power, a .237 ISO last season, but it should be noted that his lowest K% over the last three stints was 23.6% in 2010 (a career-high 27.7% last year).
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