The Marlins and Cardinals announced Tuesday afternoon that the recently DFA’d Austin Dean has been traded for Dominican outfield prospect Diowill Burgos.
This landing spot comes as a surprise—Dean’s defensive shortcomings seemingly made him a better fit for American League teams who could use him at least part-time as a designated hitter. That being said, the Cards are thin on right-handed-hitting corner outfielders after trading away José Martínez and watching Marcell Ozuna enter free agency.
Offensively, Dean has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues (.331/.398/.546, 27 HR in 640 PA), but that hasn’t translated to the majors in a limited sample (.223/.268/.388, 10 HR in 311 PA). The 26-year-old has two options remaining in case he fails to impress during spring training and/or if St. Louis signs Ozuna, Nicholas Castellanos, Yasiel Puig or another veteran to bump him down the depth chart.
Here is Dean’s goodbye post from Instagram:
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Just wanted to take a moment and say thank you to the @marlins. Yall drafted in me in 2012 and it has definitely been a journey. I cant thank yall enough for every opportunity that you have given me over the past 7 years. Ive made life long friends, and had amazing mentors along the way. MIAMI FANS: Thank you for the love and support you have showed me the past 2 yesrs. I will miss hearing DEAN MACHINE from yall for sure. With that being said, im very excited to start a new chapter in my life. Im very blessed to be a St. Louis Cardinal now!! LETS GET IT⚾️ @cardinals
Similar to the recently acquired José Estrada and Angeudis Santos, Burgos is a teenager who hasn’t competed at any full-season level yet. His stock has fluctuated since receiving a $300,000 signing bonus from the Cardinals in 2017. He was approximately a league-average hitter during the 2018 Dominican Summer League, but made significant adjustments when repeating the DSL last year, per Baseball America:
Burgos is tracking the ball and recognizing pitches much better than he had in the past, which has helped him cut down on his strikeouts and allowed his power to play, with a .370/.473/.731 line through his first 33 games.
Just three games after that report, Burgos was promoted stateside to the Gulf Coast League...and came back down to Earth (.205/.311/.333, 2 HR in 90 PA).
FanGraphs is particularly high on the 6-foot-1, 190-pound D.R. native. Eric Longenhagen tweets that they had Santos ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the entire Cardinals system with a 40+ Future Value. That’s the same FV that they recently gave Jorge Guzman, Osiris Johnson and Víctor Mesa Jr. Their updated Marlins top prospects list slots Santos directly behind those three at No. 19 overall:
He has a softer, top-heavy frame with bulky shoulders, and probably won’t grow into substantially more power, but he’s already got quite a bit. We’re being a little more aggressive in ranking what is a relatively projectionless, corner-only bat in this situation because we have increased confidence that Burgos will continue to hit for power because of his hitting hands talent.
Not a well-rounded player by any means, but the ceiling of an everyday big leaguer.
On the more conservative side, MLB Pipeline has Santos at No. 30 on their Marlins list (with outfielder Tristan Pompey being squeezed out of the Top 30 as a result).
The Marlins 40-man roster remains full, meaning that a corresponding move would be required if they follow through on adding MLB veterans to their vulnerable bullpen.