The Texas Rangers have announced that outfielder Alexander Ovalle has been acquired from the Chicago Cubs as the player to be named later in the Cole Hamels trade. Ovalle, 17, was signed by the Cubs in July, 2017, out of the Dominican Republic. He has a .316/.430/.368 slash line in 94 plate appearances in the Dominican Summer League, with an encouraging 16:14 BB:K ratio, and 8 steals in 13 attempts.
With the final return on the Hamels trade now known, I feel like this was ultimately a pretty disappointing return. The other two pieces were Eddie Butler, a 27 year old former first rounder who is working as a middle reliever in the Ranger pen right now, and Rollie Lacy, a 22 year old righthanded pitcher who was an 11th round pick in the 2017 draft who signed for $125,000, and who was having a nice season in A ball this year in his first full season. Neither of those pieces are what would be considered substantial, and I think the expectation was that the PTBNL would be the key piece to the deal.
And that may be the case. Ovalle is having a nice year in the DSL, and his plate discipline numbers are encouraging. That said, he signed in the 2017 J-2 period with the Cubs when they were capped at $300,000 per prospect, so he wasn’t a big time signing, and he’s not showing up on anyone’s prospect lists right now,
I wasn’t expecting much of a return when Hamels was traded, and at this point, it looks like even my expectations were too high. I am willing to wait and see if the Rangers identified a couple of prospects in Lacy and Ovalle that they were ahead of the curve on, or see if the Rangers can unlock something in Butler that results in him having value going forward. At this point, though this seems quite underwhelming.