Two Guys Talkin’ Trades – Quick Deadline Day Analysis

7-31-21 – By Joe Boyd & Justin Verno

Joe Boyd – Justin and I are back trying to examine the flurry of action on Friday.  I wanted to get a quick analysis out on the deals that were done, but I think we’ll be back Monday to tie everything together.  

Braeden Ogle to Philadelphia for Abraham Gutierrez, C 35+ FV ($1M)

JB – It would’ve been nice to have saved my piece on Gutierrez from the first time around, but it appears that Cherington got his guy on Friday.  The deal is curious considering they have added so much to the catcher position this month, but I’m not here to talk depth, I’m here for the numbers.

On the face, Ogle is unranked on the Pirates Fangraphs prospect rankings, however they do give him a 40-FV on his personal page.  So if we go with that grade, he is worth $1M and this is a very even trade.  So why make it?  Both are Rule 5 eligible in 2021, but the thought, as many have pointed out, is that there is a higher likelihood that a Triple-A LHP will be selected over a Single-A catching prospect.  

Sounds like Pittsburgh got a high character guy as mentioned in Baseball America, “You can’t ask for a better person,” Josh Bonifay said. “He shows up ready to work every day and he’s a true leader behind the plate. Good bat-to-ball skills, good arm, excellent receiver. He’s really coming into his own.”

Gutierrez, like several other acquisitions this week, seems to have amazing bat control only striking out 14% of the time with an OBP of .418.

Austin Davis ($2.7M)  to Boston for Michael Chavis, 1B/2B/OF Graduated 45-FV ($6M)

JB – Austin Davis was not really on our radar.  We thought about putting together a Shreve valuation, but I’m pretty sure Davis never came up?  Nonetheless, he’s a Free Agent in 2026 and his 2022/2023 ZiPS are 0.2 WAR each.  Plug that into the system and you get a surplus of $2.7M.  

In exchange, Boston gave up their former #3 prospect, and graduated 45-FV Michael Chavis (quick soapbox here, this is why saying ‘I want the team’s #3 prospect in a deal!’ is foolish.  San Diego’s #3 != Boston’s #3).  Chavis has been slumping, but has had very few opportunities this year.  Fangraph’s latest Chavis scouting report from way back in 2019:  

“Chavis was a well-known Atlanta-area prep prospect, who in high school was a strong statistical performer with easy plus raw power that showed up in games. He didn’t have a clear positional fit as an amateur, and that’s still mostly the case now–he was a shortstop in high school but wasn’t an athletic fit there, tried catching, which didn’t work, and scouts generally projected third base or first base long term. Though he has mostly played third, pro scouts see Chavis as a first base-only type, and he started seeing time there during the 2017 Fall League and again late in 2018. He missed much of 2018 with an 80-game PED suspension, which ominously came after a breakout 2017 campaign during which he hit 31 homers. He has now reached Triple-A, and had a strong half-season after the suspension was up, but scouts are wary of being all-in on a player whose entire profile is dependent on power and who has also had a recent PED suspension. One-dimensional hitters who are limited on defense tend to end up in a first base platoon (and in this case, it’d be the lesser side of one) or as a low-end starter like Kevin Millar. Either way, it seems unlikely a high-payroll, contending club like Boston would wait for a young player with limited upside to break in as an everyday player. We think Chavis is a low-end regular, who may be trade bait once he further establishes his level of performance post-suspension.”

Chavis’s star has clearly diminished, but he still brings a power bat to the lineup.  He may be a ‘change of scenery’ guy and who better to turn him around than the guy who saw enough to draft him in the first round of the 2014 draft?  

Richard Rodriguez to Atlanta for Bryse Wilson, RHP graduated 45-FV ($4M) & Ricky DeVito, RHP 40-FV ($1M)

Justin Verno – This is an interesting deal and frankly Joe, a tad surprising. I won’t get lost here, we’ll save this for later, but getting an MLB player or a player close to the majors isn’t something either of us expected in any of these deals really. And getting Bryse Wilson here changes the equations. 

Bryse flew up the Braves system, side stepping a lot of their ballyhooed talent along the way. Making his MLB debut in 2018 at the age of 20  Bryse won’t wow you with his stuff, he doesn’t bring the heat but what he does do is work his stuff. He has a good 4 pitch mix and a feel for the plate. If he can find that effective cutter and spot his slider he could be a solid #5. 

Look, I get it, that’s not the hope we had for the RichRod return. But when you get an MLB player back that has 5 years of control attached to him it really changes the math, ZiPS has him projected at a WAR of 1.7 and 1.7 over the next two years. Even if you use a WAR of 1 over his arbitration years you get a massive steal for the Bucs, at least on the surplus value end of it. Using those numbers gives us a win value of 57.6 millions. And Joe, even if we used a ridiculous payroll number, let’s say 30 million over those 5 years(and Wilson isn’t making that) we’d have a surplus of 17 million. That alone is a surplus win. It’s not sexy but teams need a good 4-5 starter as much as they need an ace. 

Ricky Devito is a 40 FV ($1M)starter that likely projects to the bullpen. A solid 3 pitch mix Devito has experienced a velo bump and can now hit 97, after sitting low to mid low 90’s,  and has a splitter that could be plus offering, per fangraphs.  

The value in the RichRod deal comes from Wilson. It’s a win from the surplus value point of view, and in the end this is what Joe and I have been playing with here? But it’s not at all the return we all expected but it works. 

JB – Justin, I did the same evaluation for Wilson and got a whopping $46M in surplus based on those projections. To make the trade even, Wilson needs to average 0.5 WAR for his career.  Same goes for Chavis, I could come up with a Surplus Value of $14M based on his 0.8 and 0.7 WAR projections from ZiPS.  I think Justin and I expect an adjustment on these projections for both prospects, but this is the difficulty of making an analysis of recently graduated prospects.  

When we see a player on the farm that’s a 50-FV position player, we can be comfortable tagging him with the $28M valuation.  But if he has moved to the majors, we now have to start looking at projections, ZiPS, arbitration numbers, and age.  It becomes a case-by-case evaluation, so you have to add some subjectivity.  We both came away from these trades as clear wins for Pittsburgh, regardless.  The Boston trade should be a fairly straight forward value victory from the way that we have been analyzing trade values throughout our time on ITBB.  And the deal with Atlanta is not exactly what we had hoped with a 45 & a 40 FV.  But Wilson’s projections should excite the fanbase, not only for the rebuild, but for the near future as something to enjoy in the near term.

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