The Colorado Rockies went and scooped up the best right-handed reliever on the market, and did so for a relatively cheap package of prospects.
Phillies All-Star Pat Neshek is coming to Colorado in exchange for three minor leaguers, shortstop Jose Gomez and pitchers J.D. Hammer and Alejandro Requena, none of whom were above High-A at the time of the deal.
While Neshek is a rental, he is a very good one. His All-Star appearance wasn’t simply a case of him being the token All-Star from the NL’s worst team, his numbers this season would have made him worthy of an All-Star appearance regardless of the team he played for.
In 401⁄3 innings this year, Neshek has posted a 1.12 ERA ans 0.82 WHIP, with just five walks and 45 strikeouts. That’s right, Neshek has walked as many batters this season as Rockies relievers did in four innings Wednesday night in St. Louis. It’s not like this season is a big fluke for Neshek, either, as he sports a 2.76 ERA and 1.02 WHIP for his career.
What type of pitcher is Neshek? Well, there is a pretty good analogue in his new teammate Greg Holland. Both veteran right-handers have ridden heavy slider usage—they both throw sliders nearly half the time—and strikeout rates over 30 percent to a sub-2.00 ERA this season. However, Neshek’s strikeout-to-walk ratio of 45/5 looks more like the prime of Rafael Betancourt. It seems Jeff Bridich liked Holland so much, he went out and got another one. Only this one doesn’t walk people.
As for the package of prospects headed to Philadelphia, Bridich did a fine job of dealing from areas of organizational depth for the Rockies. The headliner of the group was Gomez, a 20-year-old shortstop that played this season at Low-A Asheville, hitting .324/.374/.437 with four home runs in 81 games. He was No. 18 in the latest PuRPs poll.
The key word in that breakdown of Gomez is “shortstop.” If you’re a Rockies fan, you’re probably hoping that the team’s shortstop for, well, the foreseeable future is Brendan Rodgers. That isn’t even mentioning the two shortstops already in the big leagues, Trevor Story and Pat Valaika, or Garrett Hampson, who is having a fine season at High-A Lancaster. Ryan Vilade, the Rockies’ second-round pick in 2017, just adds another name to the already somewhat clogged shortstop depth chart.
The other two prospects going to the Phillies are pitchers, which Bridich has emphasized acquiring since becoming general manager in 2015. The older of the two is Hammer, who, despite some flashy strikeout numbers, a fun name and 80-grade glasses game, is a 23-year-old reliever in A ball. There’s every chance fans would have ended up complaining about him in 2019 or 2020 like they complain about Scott Oberg or Jairo Diaz now.
As for the final player in the deal, Requena is a 20-year-old right-hander, ranked No. 27 on the most recent PuRPs list, for whom TINSTAAPP (“There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect,” for the uninitiated) definitely applies.
Really, the Rockies are winning just by being buyers at all. This may very well be the first time in franchise history that they have acquired an All-Star during a season in which he was an All-Star (if you can think of another instance of it, let me know in the comments). There could be more trades on the horizon if reports are to be believed, but in his first deal as a buyer at the trade deadline, Bridich made a good deal, helping the team in the present without hurting it much in the future.