MLB Trade Rumors: The Texas Rangers are scouting Luiz Gohara, a 21 year old lefthanded pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, according to Joel Sherman, who says Keone Kela and Jake Diekman are being pursued by the Braves. David O’Brien says there’s a “good chance” a Gohara/Kela deal gets done if he shows he’s healthy, though Ken Rosenthal says that the Braves aren’t moving Gohara, or any other starting pitching prospect, unless they can get starting pitching help, rather than bullpen help, and specifically says the Braves aren’t interested in a Gohara for Kela/Diekman deal.
So there’s a lot going on here. Sherman says there are three scouts at Scranton, where the Braves’ AAA affiliate plays today, though there are a number of players the Rangers could be scouting, and it isn’t necessarily just to see Gohara (O’Brien says Gohara, who wasn’t originally slated to start today, isn’t being started today just to showcase him to Texas). The Braves supposedly had interest in Cole Hamels, and have been linked to Adrian Beltre, though there are differing reports on how much the Braves are interested in Beltre, versus Kela, Diekman, or Jose Leclerc.
Gohara would be something of a buy-low guy...he came into the season #23 on the Baseball America top 100 prospect list, in the top 50 on the MLB Pipeline list and in the 60s on the Baseball Prospectus list, but he’s not had a good 2018 campaign, putting up a 5.67 ERA in 9 starts in AAA and a 5.95 ERA in the majors, mostly working out of the pen. He was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in a deal that sent Mallex Smith to the M’s in January, 2017, and is huge, throws hard, and has enough control questions that its an open question whether he can stick in the rotation. He’s dropped to #71 on the BA mid-season list, and to #63 on the MLB Pipeline mid-season list.
I made a run at Gohara, amusingly enough, in the SBN offseason sim this past winter, trying to get him for Jurickson Profar or one of the young corner bats, but the Atlanta g.m. wasn’t having it. Gohara would probably immediately be the best pitching prospect in the Rangers system, if they found a way to land him, and you have to figure they’d give him a long leash in the rotation if he came to Texas, but while there’s upside there, his control problems would likely be a source of frustration for fans, and there’s a significant chance he ends up as, well, another Keone Kela — a hard-throwing late inning reliever.