Indians Trade For Outfield Prospect Oscar Mercado From Cardinals
The Indians on Tuesday made one trade for an immediate upgrade in the outfield, acquiring center fielder Leonys Martin from the Tigers, and then later in the afternoon made another trade before the deadline to improve their outfield picture in the near future. Cleveland landed Oscar Mercado from the Cardinals in exchange for outfielders Conner Capel and Jhon Torres.
The outfield has been a troublesome area for the Indians, as they have been hampered throughout the season by injuries to Lonnie Chisenhall, Tyler Naquin and Bradley Zimmer. Rookie Greg Allen and veteran Brandon Guyer have both struggled offensively, further complicating matters.
The Tribe’s outfield only gets more complicated after this season. Chisenhall and Michael Brantley are both free agents this winter, leaving an uncertain future in the outfield. Adding Mercado, a 23-year-old in Triple-A, serves to add depth for this season and another solid option for next season.
Oscar Mercado, OF
Mercado was the Cardinals’ second-round pick out of the Florida prep ranks in 2013 and he’s steadily worked his way through their system, this year reaching Triple-A Memphis. He ranked as their No. 8 prospect in the midseason update and is hitting .285/.351/.408 with eight home runs and 31 stolen bases. Mercado has improved himself as a hitter, shortening his swing and refining his approach to make more consistent hard contact. He is a plus runner and fits well in center field. He provides the Indians with another outfield option possibly this year, but also in the near future—a clear organizational need for the Tribe.
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Conner Capel, OF
Capel had a solid first full professional season in 2017, hitting .249/.319/.482 with 22 home runs with low Class A Lake County, and entered this year as the Indians’ No. 15 prospect. This year, he moved up to high Class A Lynchburg and is putting together another solid season, batting .261/.355/.388 with six home runs in the Carolina League. While Capel has provided solid production in the low minors, questions about his profile persist. He has played mostly center field this season after mostly playing right field in 2017, but he doesn’t have the plus speed teams usually look for in center field. If the lefthanded hitter can consistently tap into his power as he did in 2017, he would fit well in right.
Jhon Torres, OF
The Indians signed Torres out of Colombia in 2016, and he made his U.S debut this year in the Arizona League. Listed at 6-foot-4, 199 pounds, the righthanded-hitting Torres is physical, strong and has some raw power that he has shown off, hitting four home runs in 27 games in Arizona. Torres has mostly played right field in pro ball, and that’s where he profiles best.