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Rockies trade for LHP Yoan Aybar

The former Red Sox prospect is a converted outfielder

The Rockies announced today that they have traded with the Red Sox for left-handed pitcher Yoan Aybar.

The 6-2, 210-lb. lefty was signed by the Red Sox as a non-drafted international free agent in 2013. He spent his first four professional seasons as an outfielder before the Sox converted him to a pitcher in 2018. (He was ineffective at the plate but had a strong arm.) Since then, he has gone 3-4 with a 4.45 ERA (85.0 IP, 42 ER) in 61 career relief appearances across four Minor League levels.

You can read Over the Monster’s assessment from January here, but this is a key passage:

Aybar is pretty much the prototypical high(ish)-ceiling, low-floor reliever. He features a big fastball that can get up into the high-90s and can miss plenty of bats, but also one that can miss the plate by a wide margin very often. He pairs that with a slider that, again, can miss bats but also lacks consistency. One common thread from scouting reports from Sox Prospects, FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus is that they all mention his athleticism and how that gives him a better chance than most to figure it out and become a good major-league reliever.

See for yourself:

As Baseball America puts it: “Aybar works from the stretch only but has to fight to stay in sync. Aybar has a loose arm but the arm stroke is lengthy, which limits his deception. His fastball averaged 95 mph in 2019 and topped out at 99. Lack of deception, tendency to pitch armside only and a below-average strike percentage limits his impact now. He occasionally flashes a hard, high-80s cutter-slider hybrid. The pitch is still a work in progress but gets its share of swing and misses.”

Aybar, who is 23, did not pitch in 2020 due to COVID-19. (He was the only player on the Sox 40-man roster who was not assigned to the Alternative Site.) He also seems like the kind of project that is Bud Black’s speciality and perhaps the Rockies’ 2021 version of Daniel Bard or Tyler Kinley.

In return, the Rockies sent the Sox infielder Christian Koss. He attended UC Irvine and played for the Grand Junction Rockies in 2019. In 53 games, Koss hit .332, with 11 home runs, 51 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases for an OPS of 1.050.