The Blue Jays received OF Forrest Wall, and 1B Chad Spanberger, the Colorado Rockies’ 13th and 24th ranked prospects, respectively, for reliever Seunghwan Oh.
Originally drafted as a 2B (the 35th player chosen in 2014, the highest ever selection for a player at that position since the draft was reduced to one phase in 1987), Wall had a smashing pro debut in the Pioneer League, and was named to loop’s 2nd best prospect. Wall’s play at Second was underwhelming, so the Rockies moved him to CF last year. He injured his shoulder making a diving catch early last season, and was done for the year.
Baseball America‘s assessment after ranking him the organization’s 18th prospect heading into 2018:
Wall has struggled to live up to his draft pedigree as a gifted hitter. He has a solid feel for contact but little power and does not drive the ball. He has plus speed to make it work as a singles hitter with a lot of stolen bases, although the Rockies are optimistic he can grow into extra-base power as he gets stronger. Defensively, Wall was nearly unplayable at second base and labrum surgery on his right shoulder in high school sapped his arm strength. Wall has hope to make it as a contact and speed-type, but now has major surgery on both shoulders to deal with and needs to find a defensive home. He is expected to be healthy for the start of 2018.
An early look at Wall as he repeated the Cal League for a third time by baseballcensus.com:
Bigger and stronger this year; body seems more underneath him than in years past, with better musculature and hopefully better durability in turn. Throwing arm looks considerably stronger in the outfield — a big development considering it’s been a major question mark the last few years. Speed is there as much as ever both in the outfield and on the bases; still leading off for Lancaster this year and picked up right where he left off with hard, aggressive base running in my early looks … Biggest development is significantly more aggression early in his approach at the plate; now a first and second pitch swinger on purpose this year; trying to be more aggressive to hit good pitches given to him early rather than work counts as he had in the past. Swing can still do damage; some loft power is there and plenty of gap-to-gap pop, especially to his pull side and especially considering his speed. Forrest Wall is behind schedule after a couple High-A hiccups, but if things go right in 2018 he won’t be in Lancaster for long, and there’s still time for him to get back on the prospect track for the Colorado Rockies — though the window is closing.
It would appear in Wall that the Blue Jays are getting a prospect who has lots of upside, but has had his development stall, and it’s becoming questionable as to whether he will ever meet it. Promoted to AA Hartford after 47 games with Lancaster, Wall’s line has been a low .206/.289/.359.
Spanberger, a 15th round pick last year, is a bat-first player. BA’s take:
Power is Spanberger’s lone plus tool. He is physically imposing at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds and can turn around premium velocity and send it a long way. His below-average feel for hitting pushed him down draft boards despite his raw power, and that also showed up with 71 strikeouts in his pro debut. Spanberger is a work in progress defensively at first, but has embraced the challenge.
A report from baseballcensus.com late last year:
Slightly open stance at start with slow load and small leg kick; short to the ball, long through it with simple, efficient stroke that lets his hands do the work. Feel for barrel helps lift ball with authority, predominantly to pull side. Over-aggressive at times and will hack dead red early in count regardless of where pitch is, but feel for hitting the ball with authority and bat speed to back it up in most scenarios. Well balanced throughout swing mechanics with good, high finish to help lift ball.
Sent to the Low A South Atlantic League this year, Spanberger has put up a line of .315/.363/.579, and leads the league in Slugging, OPS, RBI and Total Bases. The question is why those numbers haven’t led to a promotion to a higher level. A 12.4% K rate is decent for a guy with his power, so perhaps the presence of 1B Tyler Nevin (son of former MLBer Phil) has something to do with Spanberger’s long stay in the Sally. JJ Cooper of BA tweeted that Spanberger was being showcased:
Had scouts tell me they figured Rockies were showcasing Chad Spanberger for a trade when they kept him in LoA all year. Was too advanced for Sally League, but it worked. Now sent to Blue Jays in Seung Hwan Oh.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) July 26, 2018
Spanberger’s totals are exciting, but we’ll have to see how he fares against higher level Pitching. His bat is really his only calling card.
A player to be named later, or cash considerations on the part of Colorado will eventually complete the deal. For now, the Rocks get a stabilizing force in their inconsistent bullpen, and the Blue Jays get a pair of players who should at least strengthen some minor league lineups.