There's no news on any of the seven remaining compensation free agents, so the draft 2011 order hasn't changed since the last edition of Ask BA.
The big story since then has been the eight-player trade that sent Matt Garza from the Rays to the Cubs, which provided much of the fodder for today's column . . .
Archer and Lee definitely would make the Rays Top 10 if we were doing it today. I wouldn't change Tampa Bay's top three prospects (Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Desmond Jennings), but I would slot Archer in right behind them at No. 4. He'd bump Jake McGee, Josh Sale and Alex Torres down a notch each, and then I'd come with Lee at No. 8. Alex Colome and Justin O'Conner would round out the Top 10. I'd put Guyer at No. 12, between Drew Vettleson and Jake Thompson.
The influx of those three players, as well as Chirinos (who checked in at No. 16 on our Cubs Top 30 in the Handbook), does give the Rays the second-best farm system in baseball. In our rankings in the Handbook, Tampa Bay was No. 3, behind the Royals and Braves.
As for the Cubs, Brett Jackson would ascend from No. 2 to replace Archer as the system's best prospect, while Alberto Cabrera, Darwin Barney and D.J. LeMahieu would come into the Top 10. Quick scouting reports on the newcomers: Cabrera is a righthander with a 92-97 mph fastball and mid-80s slider; Barney is a proven winner and quality middle-infield defender who plays above his tools; and LeMahieu is the best pure hitter in the system but needs to find more power to make it at third base, his best defensive position.
The remainder of the trade involved exchanging backup outfielders (Fernando Perez to the Cubs, Sam Fuld to the Rays) and Chicago, which has a knack for finding value in previously obscure players in trades, getting minor league lefthander Zach Rosscup. My first reaction was that the Cubs paid more than I thought they'd have to, as Tampa Bay was motivated to trade Garza in order to save money and create a rotation spot for Hellickson. But the Rays did a good job of getting other teams involved in trade talks, which helped drive the price up.
Ultimately, the deal makes sense for both sides. The Rays won't take a hit by replacing Garza in the rotation with Hellickson, and they can spend the $5 million or so they'll save to upgrade other areas. They also added a quality arm who features two plus-plus pitches at times (Archer), one of the few legitimate shortstop prospects in the minors (Lee), two guys who can be valuable reserves if not everyday players (Guyer, Chirinos) and a high-energy bench player (Fuld). Lee does have a better chance of emerging as a starting shortstop in Tampa Bay than in Chicago, though don't underestimate Reid Brignac.
The Cubs didn't give up a single player expected to contribute much to their 2011 team while getting a massive upgrade for their rotation in Garza, who will benefit from moving from the rugged American League East to the much more benign National League. While I do think Chicago overpaid somewhat, prospects aren't sure things. Archer hasn't figured out control and command yet, while Lee has offensive and defensive adjustments to make and is three years away from the majors. Even if Lee realizes his full potential, the Cubs look set at shortstop with Castro. Guyer and Chirinos were similarly redundant with the presence of Jackson and Welington Castillo in the system.
In terms of upside, I like the Garza package more. Archer has the stuff to become a frontline starter or a closer. Lee has the tools to develop into a quality all-around shortstop. Guyer has to prove he can stay healthy and maintain consistency, but his raw tools aren't too different than Brett Jackson's. Chirinos has the bat, defensive ability and versatility to be one of the best backup catchers in the majors.
The Greinke package is more of a sure thing. None of the players the Rays received is major league-ready, while Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain were big league regulars last year. Jeremy Jeffress has a good chance to make the Royals' Opening Day bullpen, with only Jake Odorizzi requiring more minor league seasoning. He's at least two years away.
I'd rather have Tampa Bay's return than Kansas City's, though it's close and will require a longer wait for the payoff. While Escobar and Cain are gifted defenders, I'm not sold on either's bat, and I don't have a ton of faith in Jeffress' ability to do much beyond light up a radar gun. I believe teams win with stars, and I think Archer and Lee have a better chance to become stars than anyone the Royals got in the Greinke trade.
A shortstop out of the Dominican Republic, Peguero signed for $2.9 million in December, making him the highest-paid international amateur from the 2010 crop. The only international amateurs ever to receive higher bonuses were three fellow Dominicans: Athletics righthander Michael Ynoa ($4.25 million, 2008), Twins third baseman Miguel Sano ($3.15 million, 2009) and Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez ($3 million, 2009).
Scouts considered Peguero one of the most advanced hitters on the international market last year, but he's not in the same class as Sanchez and Sano because he doesn't have their power. Pimentel, who signed for $2 million out of the Dominican in 2009, also has more pop.
Triunfel was still playing shortstop last season despite lacking the true range for the position. Peguero has more speed and range but less arm strength, and in time both will have to move off of shortstop. Triunfel figures to end up at third base, and Peguero at second base.
On upside, Peguero has a case for making the Mariners Top 10. But while his bat is quite intriguing, he doesn't have another plus tool and he's not going to remain at shortstop. He also hasn't been tested against anything resembling quality competition. We took a conservative approach and ranked him No. 19 on our Mariners Top 30 in the Prospect Handbook.
Here's a sneak preview of his scouting report from the Handbook:
Peguero worked with trainer Enrique Soto in the Dominican Republic and other teams expected him to sign with the Rangers after Texas signed Colombian catcher Jorge Alfaro (another Soto client) for $1.3 million, as well as Soto's son Lee, a 25-year-old third baseman released by the Blue Jays. But the Mariners remained interested—and have one of Soto's sons (second baseman George) in their system as well. Seattle signed Peguero for $2.9 million in December, giving him the largest bonus in the 2010 international amateur class. The Mariners also landed Dominican outfielder Phillips Castillo earlier, giving them the top two amateur hitters on the international market last year. Peguero's bat is his carrying tool and he has shown the ability to hit in game situations against live pitching. He has advanced bat speed, good pitch recognition for his age and a sound stroke. He does have a late trigger to his swing, which can give him problems against good fastballs, especially ones on the inner half of the strike zone. But once he gets his hands going, he's able to whip his bat through the zone with excellent finish. He doesn't show the same raw pop that Castillo does, but Peguero drives balls into the gaps and should grow into more power down the road. He has a physical frame and almost certainly will have to move off shortstop, probably to second base because his arm isn't strong enough for third base. He's an average runner and some scouts believe he could become a solid defender in time. Because Peguero signed so late, he may spend 2011 in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League before making his U.S. debut in 2012, though he's talented enough to accelerate that timetable.