Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: J.A. Happ and the Yu Darvish Trade Model

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HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 25: J.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 25, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 25: J.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 25, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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MILWAUKEE, WI – JULY 08: Hernan Perez #14 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park on July 8, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI – JULY 08: Hernan Perez #14 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park on July 8, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Brewers

Our own Hayden Godfrey has already discussed what the Brew-Crew’s front office could offer the Blue Jays in return for Happ’s services. However, to complete the exercise, Milwaukee would offer Luis Ortiz, Jake Gatwood, and Larry Ernesto, according to the Darvish model.

Luis Ortiz was mentioned in Hayden’s aforementioned article, and he may be an attractive prospect to the Blue Jays. The righty, according to Fangraphs, has an above average fastball and slider—with an average-to-slightly-above-average curveball and change. Playing in his age-22 season in Double-A, the right-handed hurler has posted a 4.41 ERA, 3.98 FIP, 9.37 K/9, and 2.94 BB/9 in twelve games and seven starts.

Ortiz has posted decent line drive and ground ball rates of 18.3% and 45.1%, respectively. Finally, his 11.5% HR/FB rate suggests that his ERA should dip down in the later months of the year. His xFIP currently sits at 3.60, which gives a good picture of where his ERA may drop to by the end of the year.

While the prospect is listed as a 2018 ETA, his year in Double-A suggests that he still needs time. However, with more time out of the bullpen this year it seems the Brewers view him as a bullpen option later this year.

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Jake Gatewood is a significantly less enticing prospect than Luis Ortiz. The 22-year-old is a former first round pick by the Brewers, and he has failed, somewhat, to meet that potential. The prospect plays a mixture of first base and shortstop—and he is the first player I’ve ever seen listed as a 1B/SS.

Through 80 games in double-A this year, Gatewood has hit for a .248/.301/.446 slash line with a .331 wOBA and 106 WRC+. Gatewood’s wOBA and WRC+ confirms what is evident—he is a remarkably average player.

The Brewers prospect’s strikeout and walk rates are also very concerning, through 332 plate appearances he has posted an awful 29.5% K-rate and 6.6% BB-rate. Finally, with a poor 3.7 speed rating, he should not be expected to add much on the defensive side of the ball at short—which is confirmed by his 12 errors in 52 games.

Finally, to complete the final trade in this exercise, the Brewers would sweeten the pot with an outfielder, Larry Ernesto. The seventeen year old is playing just his first year in professional ball, assigned to rookie ball this year. The outfielder has hit for a .264/.322/.418 slash line with a .352 wOBA and 107 WRC+.

While he is still very young, and this should be taken into account, his strikeout and walk numbers are terrible, posting a 31.4% K-rate and 6.6% BB-rate. Finally, he has decent speed with a 6.6 speed score, but has been untrustworthy on the base paths, scoring a -1.0 wSB.

Next: Stuck between a rock and a hard place with Osuna

While these these trades may never be rumoured, confirmed, or even discussed, the type of return for J.A. Happ should be clear. Obviously with different farm systems—that aren’t as strong as the Dodgers—the Blue Jays would differently ranked prospects. As well, some teams may value Happ less than they valued Darvish. Regardless of all of this, hopefully Blue Jays fans now have a better understanding of what Happ may pull in the open market.

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