Blue Jays Trade For Matt Chapman Without Giving Up A Top 100 Prospect
The Blue Jays acquired Matt Chapman, a Gold Glove third baseman coming off a 3.5 WAR season (per Baseball Reference) under team control for two more years.
It’s a great deal for the Blue Jays, who kept their top four prospects and didn’t have to give up a Top 100 prospect to acquire Chapman. Instead, they parted with their 2021 first-round pick and prospects who were unlikely to ever play major roles in Toronto.
BLUE JAYS RECEIVE
Matt Chapman, 3B
Chapman is an elite defender at third base with an OPS+ of 115 over the last three years. Yes, he strikes out a lot, but those whiffs come with 30-homer power and the patience to draw 70-80 walks in each of his last two full seasons. Long term, there are certainly questions about how that skill set will age, but the Blue Jays are getting someone who projects to be a 3 to 5 WAR player under team control at a reasonable price for the next two years, a time when they are now even better positioned to make a deep postseason run.
Athletics' Kevin Smith Has The Bat For Third And Glove For Short
The hard-hitting rookie joins the organization in the midst of a tear-down. His hitting upside, defensive versatility and Triple-A production make him priority play for 2022.
Gunnar Hoglund, RHP
The best prospect the Athletics are getting here is Hoglund. He was Toronto’s No. 5 prospect before the trade and its first-round pick in 2021 out of Mississippi. Hoglund wouldn’t have been available with the No. 19 overall pick had he stayed healthy in 2021, but instead he had Tommy John surgery last May before the draft. If Hoglund proves he can handle a starter’s workload, he could develop into a mid-rotation or better starter. He pitches off a fastball that was trending up before he got hurt, sitting at 91-94 mph and touching 96. His simple, repeatable delivery helps him dial in his fastball to both sides of the plate with relatively polished command for his age. Hoglund consistently gets ahead in the count and has a pair of offspeed weapons in his slider and changeup that are a tick above-average, giving him a starter’s repertoire to be effective against righties and lefties.
Kevin Smith, SS
Smith, the Blue Jays’ No. 7 prospect before the trade, has long seemed like a change-of-scenery candidate, both because of his own career trajectory and the players ahead of him in Toronto. After a strong first full season in 2018, Smith cratered in 2019, didn’t get a chance to rebound in 2020 because of the pandemic, then was able to turn things around in Triple-A last year, hitting .285/.370/.561 in 94 games with Buffalo. Smith tinkered with his swing a lot throughout his struggles, but he seemed to find an adjustment that worked for him last year when he got his barrel more vertical in his setup by moving his hands higher. Pitchers had been throwing fastballs up in the zone by Smith, but the adjustment helped keep him from dropping his back shoulder too much and kept him on plane with the pitch for longer. The result was a more efficient swing, which along with better swing decisions led to improved offensive output. Smith also turns 26 in July, so the time to produce at the major league level is now, and the trade opens a path for him to get that opportunity in Oakland.
Zach Logue, LHP
The No. 24 prospect for the Blue Jays before the trade, Logue was one of the positive development stories for the organization last year with his ability to throw strikes and change speeds. Logue had a 4.97 ERA as a junior at Kentucky in 2017, when the Blue Jays drafted him in the ninth round. He didn’t do much to separate himself as a prospect until last year, when he posted a 3.67 ERA with 144 strikeouts and 27 walks in 125 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. His velocity also ticked up, going from a lefty who sat in the upper 80s to now parking in the low 90s and reaching 94 mph, playing up because of the deception in his delivery. He throws plenty of strikes and also improved his changeup last year to become an above-average pitch, though his slider and cutter are both fringe-average. Logue turns 26 in April and didn’t seem likely to get much of an opportunity in Toronto, so the trade should allow him more chances to stick around as a back-end starter.
Kirby Snead, LHP
Snead, 27, has been a pure relief prospect since the Blue Jays drafted him in the 10th round out of Florida in 2016. His stuff has jumped since then, with a 92-96 mph fastball and a high-spin, low-80s slider (2,700-2,800 rpm) that were both effective at missing bats last year in Triple-A, where he posted a 1.58 ERA with a 57-16 K-BB mark in 40 innings. He could fit as a middle reliever in Oakland.