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Colorado Rockies trade rumors: Examining Angels' potential offer for Charlie Blackmon

With new rumors surrounding Charlie Blackmon and the Angels, it's time to examine the new L.A. pitchers that have entered the conversation.

Nick Tropeano would be an interesting return for the Colorado Rockies.
Nick Tropeano would be an interesting return for the Colorado Rockies.
Harry How/Getty Images

Last night, new rumors concerning a Rockies outfielder emerged. Unlike most of the recent rumors, though, this one centered around Charlie Blackmon and not Carlos Gonzalez. A pair of young Angels pitchers, Nick Tropeano and Cam Bedrosian, were mentioned as a possible return to Colorado by the Orange County Register's Jeff Fletcher.

Both Tropeano and Bedrosian have Major League experience, which would make for an interesting return, considering our work around the Angels thus far has only reviewed some of the system's top minor league prospects. Nevertheless, here we are with an interesting Blackmon-to-the-Angels trade rumor, and it behooves us to at least look at the hypothetical return to put the Angels' trade chips in perspective.

Nick Tropeano

Tropeano, a right-handed starting pitcher, has been in the Angels system since being acquired in a trade that sent Hank Conger to the Houston Astros in November of 2014. Originally drafted by the Astros in the 5th round after his junior year Stony Brook University, Tropeano was the America East Conference Pitcher of the Year in both of the final two seasons of his college career.

Tropeano's best pitch is his changeup, and it's a swing and miss-quality offering. That is evidenced by his solid strikeout numbers across all minor league levels, and even in the Majors this past year. Though the fastball was originally seen as a big reason that he fell in the draft back in 2011, Tropeano has managed to add a couple of ticks to it, and it now sits in the low 90s and has been clocked at 95 mph on occasion — certainly enough to get the job done.

Tropeano also has the prototypical pitcher build that one likes in a member of a Major League starting rotation, at 6'4" and 190 pounds. His delivery isn't smooth, which leads to some concerns, but he hasn't had any injury issue yet as a result of it and the deception that comes with his slightly non-traditional delivery is a big plus.

In the minors, Tropeano struck out 9.3 batters per nine innings while only walking 2.8 per nine. Granted, his toughest season did come last year while at Triple-A Salt Lake City in the Pacific Coast League (PCL). However, as it has been noted time and again — especially here with Rockies prospects at Colorado Springs and now Albuquerque — a pitching prospect struggling in the notoriously hitter-friendly PCL is fairly common and hardly represents a concern that they will struggle in the big leagues.

Tropeano has Major League experience for both the Astros in 2014 and the Angels in 2015. While he initially struggled during his Astros debut, his performance for the Angels in 2015 was phenomenal. In eight games (seven starts), Tropeano struck out 38 batters while walking only ten and giving up just two home runs. While his ERA was solid at 3.82, his FIP, which is a far more accurate predictor of future performance, was only 2.60. He also managed to accumulate 1.1 fWAR in just 8 games.

Though Tropeano no longer has rookie status because he has pitched over 50 career innings, his service time is still extremely low at only 68 days. This means that Tropeano still has six years of team control and wouldn't be a free agent until after the 2021 season, which is a very, very attractive thing for a rebuilding team like the Rockies. Tropeano also has two minor league options left, should he need to use them.

With options remaining and age and time on his side, if Tropeano were to come to Denver in some sort of trade, he'd immediately battle for a mid- to back-end rotation spot along side pitchers like Jordan Lyles, Jon Gray, Chris Rusin, Tyler Chatwood, and others.

Cam Bedrosian

Bedrosian, a right-handed relief pitcher, was the Angels' first round pick (29th overall) in 2010. After a short professional debut of five games (four starts) he experienced some arm issues and ultimately missed the entire 2011 season dealing with the after effects of elbow surgery. After returning from the surgery, Bedrosian started 21 games in 2012, and then was eventually turned into a full-time relief pitcher in 2013.

Bedrosian's best pitch is probably his slider, though his fastball is also a good, hard offering. After ditching his curve ball since becoming a reliever, Bedrosian has developed the slider into a true put-away offering. The pitch has great deception ideal for a late-inning guy, as it looks very similar to his fastball until breaking down hard and late. The fastball sits in the mid-90s, too, and it can be dialed up on occasion with very good life to it as well.

Once he switched to relief, Bedrosian's minor league numbers became truly remarkable in some ways. In 2014, he struck out 16.4 batter per nine innings across three levels (High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A) before being promoted to the big leagues. Once in the Majors he struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings as a 22-year-old. Last year, Bedrosian split time between Triple-A Salt Lake City and the Angels, striking out 10.6 and 9.2 batters per inning at each respective level.

The downside to all this, however, continues to be the walks; Bedrosian has always struggled to command his pitches. Though he's had great strikeout numbers at every level of the minors and in the Major Leagues thus far in his young career, he's also had some very unseemly walk numbers to accompany them. His mechanics aren't consistent enough right now, but as a reliever the concerns aren't quite as strong as if he were a starter.For his minor league career he averaged a walk every other inning (4.5 BB/9) and that didn't get any better in the Majors. Over his two big league seasons, Bedrosian has walked 31 batters in 52 ⅔ innings (5.3 BB/9).

Like Tropeano, Bedrosian has less than a full year of service time accrued despite spending parts of two seasons in the Major Leagues. That means he can't be a free agent until after the 2021 season, just like Tropeano. However, he only has one option remaining, which puts a little more urgency on the demand for him to be able to develop big league command and control sooner rather than later.

★ ★ ★

Because neither of these pitchers still have rookie eligibility, they are not technically seen as prospects any longer. However, John Sickels at Minor League Ball recently wrote up Tropeano as a young and interesting pitcher to follow. Because of the service time and options that they both have left, these two are intriguing options in any possible trade that the Rockies might make with the Angels.

Though I personally like Tropeano better because of the his polish and command, Bedrosian's strikeout numbers are also something that one can dream about seeing in a future closer or late-inning fireman should he ever figure out his command. Of course, the Rockies already acquired one hard-throwing, command-challenged reliever from the Angels recently, and thus far that's worked out pretty well for Colorado.

It's important to remember that although the Angels may not have many prospects left in what has become a very thin farm system, they do have a collection of young, controllable arms like Tropeano, Bedrosian, Andrew Heaney and others that, depending on the full package, might make a hypothetical trade possible.