Pitcher Jerad (not Jared) Eickhoff is a 6’4″ right handed pitcher drafted in the 15th round of the 2011 draft. He was described by the Texas Rangers’ SB Nation site as a “potential workhorse starter.” He throws in the low-90s, though his fastball has touched the higher reaches of the 90s. They ranked his potention as that of a number three or number four starter or reliever. He falls at number 17 in MLB.com’s top 30 prospects for the Rangers.
Jorge Alfaro, a 22-year-old catcher, ranks as the organizations sixth-best prospect. Additionally, he ranks #69 in overall prospects (nice). The Colombian is described as having “the best combination of raw power and pure arm strength among Minor League catchers,” and he had ankle surgery in June. But his potential is a 20-plus home run guy:
Alfaro has the strength and bat speed to drive balls out of any part of any ballpark without selling out for power, yet he’s still overly aggressive at the plate. He swings and misses frequently, and he needs to do a better job of taking pitches and recognizing breaking balls. If he figures it out, he could be an average hitter with 20-plus homers per season …
Similarly, he has a cannon arm and good athleticism for a catcher but needs a lot of refinement behind the plate. He threw out just 28 percent of basestealers and committed 23 passed balls in 90 games in 2014. Though the Rangers have experimented with Alfaro at first base and in the outfield, they’re not giving up on the idea that he can become an All-Star catcher.
Right hander Alec Asher just makes the Rangers’ top-30 prospect cut at number 29. The 6’4″ 23-year-old can hit 96 mph with his fastball and also throws a hard slider. MLB.com says his “changeup remained a reliable third pitch and he continued to use a curveball to give hitters a different look.” He has some of the better control and command of the Rangers’ starting pitcher prospects, and “could end up as an innings-eating mid-rotation starter.”
The Phillies are also getting starting pitcher Matt Harrison. The 29-year-old is 1-2 this year with a 6.75 ERA in three starts. Over his major league career, he’s 50-35 with a 4.21 ERA. He’ll likely land on the Phils.
And the potential prize of the deal is outfielder Nick Williams. Williams ranks as the Rangers’ fifth-overall prospect. The 21-year-old lefty is the 64th overall prospect but his ceiling is higher. “Williams’ lightning-fast hands and his strength allow him to drive almost any pitch he can reach,” MLB.com said. “He has made impressive strides with his plate discipline in 2015. With moderate patience, he could be a force at the plate when he reaches the big leagues.” They say he could play all three outfield positions, though his speed isn’t a strength. In 96 games in the minors, he’s batting .300/.357/.480. He’s struck out 77 times to 31 walks.
Thompson, just coming in on reports as part of the deal, is the highest ranked prospect in the package. The number four youngster in the Rangers’ system is another 6’4″ pitcher and he’s ranked #60 overall. He’s the prize here. As MLB.com says:
Scouts liked Thompson as a power-hitting first baseman when he was coming out of a high school in 2012, but they realized his ceiling was higher on the mound and the Tigers made him their top pick (second round). He sped to Double-A last July at age 20, then went to the Rangers along with Corey Knebel in a trade for Joakim Soria. Thompson’s stuff picked up after the deal and he now rates as Texas’ best starting pitching prospect.
Thompson usually throws his fastball at 90-93 mph, peaking at 95 and featuring sinking life. That’s not even his best weapon, however, as that distinction belongs to a slider that can reach 87 mph with depth and qualify as a true wipeout pitch at times. He also uses a curveball and changeup, both of which show flashes of becoming solid-or-better offerings.
Thompson has a classic starter’s build that should give him durability and allows him to pitch on a tough downhill plane. He throws a decent amount of strikes but still is refining his command. He’s a good bet to become a No. 3 starter and has a chance to become a No. 2.
It looks like the Phillies’ haul was bolstered by their willingness to take on Harrison’s salary – he’s owed $40 million over the next three years – and the Phils are walking away with three of the Rangers’ top six prospects. On Baseball America, they’re ranked even higher: