The Houston Astros made another trade today, shipping reliever Brett Myers to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for a pair of pitching prospects, left-hander Blair Walters and right-hander Matt Heidenreich. The Astros will also receive a player to be named. Here is a look at the two prospects we know about.
Matt Heidenreich, RHP: Heidenreich is a 6-5, 185 pound right-hander, born January 17, 1991. A fourth round pick in 2009 from high school in Lake Elsinore, California, he was considered your basic raw arm when drafted, with a fastball in the low-90s but needing help and time to refine his below-average breaking stuff and inconsistent mechanics.He has made progress in both areas.
He began 2012 with High-A Winston-Salem, going 8-2, 3.57 with a 62/13 K/BB in 93 innings, which earned him a promotion to Double-A. With Birmingham, he is 1-2, 5.89 in 18 innings with a 9/5 K/BB and 27 hits allowed. He has developed a slider and changeup to go with his fastball, giving him a chance as a fourth starter or perhaps a reliever.
Blair Walters, LHP: Walters is a 6-0, 200 pound lefty, born November 8, 1989. Drafted in the 11th round from the University of Hawaii in 2011, he was a reliever in college due to mediocre secondary pitches, but the White Sox were developing him as a starter. He posted a 2.88 ERA with a 69/18 K/BB in 72 innings for Low-A Kannapolis this spring, followed by a 7.01 ERA with a 24/4 K/BB in 26 innings for High-A Winston-Salem, with 38 hits and 20 runs allowed.
Walters has an 89-92 MPH fastball that moves well. He uses a breaking ball with slider/cutter action, and is working to develop his changeup, which is currently inconsistent. He throws strikes and has a good feel for pitching, but still needs to show his secondary pitches will off-set his fastball successfully at higher levels. He could be a back-end-rotation starter or a reliever.
Neither of these guys are spectacular prospects, but both of them could be useful and add more pitching depth to the Houston system. The first place White Sox, meanwhile, add a veteran bullpen arm for the stretch run without giving up one of their best prospects. This seems like a reasonable deal for both teams to me.