Miami parted ways yesterday with closer A.J. Ramos in part of a pre-deadline deal. Normally, these sorts of transactions have a top player going from an also-ran to a possible contender, but in this case, strangely, the buyers (the New York Mets) are actually behind the sellers (Marlins) in the standings.
So, what do we know about these guys anyway?
Merandy Gonzalez, Right-Handed Pitcher
Gonzalez, now part of the Jupiter Hammerheads, first surfaced as a 17-year-old prospect in the Dominican Southern League with the Mets (2) in 2013. Over the past four seasons and change, he had worked his way up to the Florida State League, with the St. Lucie Mets. This year, between St. Lucie and the Columbia Fireflies, Gonzalez had racked up a 12-3 mark with a 1.78 ERA and a 0.981 WHIP.
According to the MLB prospect list:
While Gonzalez is a bit undersized at 6-foot-1, his arm is more than big enough. He pitched at 93 mph with Brooklyn but showed he can reach back for 96-97 mph. He'll throw a very good curveball and messes with a slider, and they will run into each other at times. He has the ability to throw an above-average breaking ball, and likes to throw it, so getting him to focus on one might help him developmentally. His changeup is developing, and he needs to throw it more often so it can improve. While he's generally around the strike zone, he does leave balls in the middle of the plate at times. With good athleticism and a repeatable delivery, his command should improve over time.
Gonzalez joins the Hammerheads as Miami’s new number six overall prospect, and their second-ranked right handed pitcher, behind Tyler Kolek and just ahead of Drew Steckenrider.
Ricardo Cespedes, CF
Cespedes, who has now joined Batavia, also joined the Mets organization out of the Dominican League. He first showed up a 16-year-old center fielder in 2014, then worked his way up through the next three and a half seasons to the high-A Fireflies. This season, between Columbia, the GCL Mets, and the Brooklyn Cyclones, he has slashed .243/.270/.280, with a .551 OPS and 15 RBI.
mlb.com had this to say about Cespedes:
Cespedes has the chance to be a five-tool player. With a loose, whippy bat, Cespedes started showing that he can drive the ball, especially to the pull side. He's shown some occasional power, with more to come as he matures physically. He's played a good amount of center field thus far in his career, and while he could play there, it seems more likely that his home will be in a corner, where his above-average arm would play well -- although there might be more pressure for the power to show up.
Cespedes, a 6’1” lefty-hitter, shows up in Batavia as Miami’s new number 24 prospect according to the Pipeline. He ranks as the sixth-best OF prospect in the system, behind Sean Reynolds and ahead of Isael Soto.
The Hammerheads get into action at home at Roger Dean Stadium today at 5:30PM against the Lakeland Flying Tigers, although Gonzalez is not likely to play. The Muckdogs will host the State College Spikes at 7:05PM, and we should get a look at Cespedes.
The value of a trade is never readily evident quickly, and much less so in cases that involve players in the lower reaches of the minor leagues. Ramos is quickly approaching 31 years of age, while Gonzales (21) and Cespedes (19) are not as old added together as utility outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. Overall organizational impact will not be measured this season. Let’s revisit this trade (and the Hechavarria trade, and the Phelps trade for that matter) during summer of 2021 for a more complete point of view.