The Blue Jays dealt from their surplus of minor league Outfielders in order to shore up their middle Infield defence at the MLB level.
J.B. Woodman, a 2nd round pick in 2016, was dealt to the Cardinals for Almedys Diaz. Diaz worked out for Toronto as a Cuban IFA in 2014 before signing with St Louis.
Woodman was an athletic pick who played collegiately for Ole Miss, but struggled in his first crack at full season ball with Lansing this year. Scouts first noticed a swing-and-miss element to his game in the Cape league prior to his junior season. He led the SEC in Home Runs following that, which helped boost his stock considerably. Woodman’s arm is well suited to RF, but he has enough speed and instincts to play CF on occasion. Woodman has proven successful at working the count and seeing a lot of pitches as a pro, but his long swing meant that he was late on a lot of pitches. He was among the Midwest Leaders in K rate (37.5%), and Swinging Strike% (17.5%), but was 2nd in Line Drive rate (26.1%), suggesting some loud contact and hope for the future.
Diaz had a solid rookie season for the Cards in 2016, but dropped off last year, and lost his starting role to Paul DeJong. He would have to be considered an upgrade offensively over Ryan Goins, who was non-tendered shortly before the trade. Diaz is primarily a SS, but had reps at 2nd and 3rd last year to boost his versatility, and reports say that he didn’t look out of place at either spot.
It’s always a shame to see a team give up on a draftee after a relatively short period of time, but the Blue Jays have developed a good stock of quality OFs. Teoscar Hernandez, Anthony Alford, and Dalton Pompey all will be competing for a spot on the 25-man roster this spring, with Dwight Smith serving as at least decent AAA depth. In the next tier, Edward Olivares and Josh Palacios have probably passed Woodman in terms of development. Olivares had a breakout year at two levels in 2017, and Palacios, who was taken two rounds after Woodman last year (his stock fell to a wrist injury), had a huge second half (.328/.403/.421), and can play all three OF positions.
The deal potentially benefits both teams. Diaz can become an important reserve player in a multiple of roles for the Blue Jays, while Woodman gives the Cards an athletic player who still has enough upside to make it worthwhile to give him further time to figure things out.