Oakland A’s Net Three Prospects in Josh Donaldson Deal

The Oakland A’s appear to be completely retooling their roster after trading All-Star Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie and three prospects. Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman are both big league ready pitchers with a shot to stick in a rotation, but the star of the deal on the prospect side is certainly Franklin Barreto

Much like Willy Adames to the Tampa Bay Rays in the David Price deal at the trade deadline last season, Barreto is a piece that is far away, but has immense upside. The Venezuelan native has yet to see any action in full-season ball, but he has wowed scouts in his limited pro career. In 2014, at just 18 years old, Barreto hit .311 with six home runs and 29 steals in 73 games. There are a lot of questions as to whether or not he will be able to stick at short, especially given he is just 5’9” tall, but he has elite athleticism, a good glove, and a strong enough arm to make all the throws. While he does not project to produce much power in the future, he has a quick bat and is strong for his size, so he will be able to put plenty of balls into the gap while hitting for a good average.

Nolin is a big bodied lefty who made his big league debut in 2013 and has 2.1 innings to his credit but with six earned runs. He has the pitchability to remain in the rotation. He does not have a single plus pitch, typically sitting around 90 mph with his fastball, but a couple breaking balls and a quality change can help keep hitter off-balance. He struck out about twice as many batters as he walked in 2014 and a better than 3 K/BB in his minor league career. Filling the strike zone with a multitude of pitches can play well in the back of a rotation, especially in the spacious O.co Coliseum.

Graveman also has a four pitch mix, with two above-average pitches in his fastball and newly discovered cutter, along with a slider and change that he can mix in when he needs. He has solid control that could allow him to stick in the rotation, or he could be a ground ball specialist out of the bullpen where he should be able to allow his fastball and cutter to really play up. He began in Low-A Lansing to kick off 2014, making stops in High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A before finally making his big league debut on September 5th, a rare five level player.

While the general consensus is that the Jays pulled one over on the A’s, the A’s certainly did not come away empty handed. Lawrie will fit into their starting lineup, and two solid arms will certainly look even better in Oakland, but the real star in the deal is a guy who is still several years away, so it will be quite a while before we truly know who won this deal.