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Prospects in the Gallo trade

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Who are the guys the Rangers are getting in the reported Joey Gallo trade?

2021 New York Yankees Photo Day
Your new favorite bat-first infield prospect, Ezequiel Duran!
Photo by Mike Carlson/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Texas Rangers are reportedly getting six prospects — Ezequiel Duran, Glenn Otto, Everson Pereira, Randy Vasquez, Josh Smith and Trevor Hauver — from the New York Yankees in exchange for Joey Gallo and John King.

It has since been reported that Pereira and Vasquez are not in the deal, and Joely Rodriguez is going to New York instead of John King. So ignore what I wrote about Pereira and Vasquez.

So let’s look at the return.

Fangraphs has updated their Rangers prospect board to include the new additions. They have Ezequiel Duran at #3 in the Rangers system, between Josh Jung and Justin Foscue. Josh Smith is at #8. Everson Pereira is at #18. Trevor Hauver is at #32. Glenn Otto is at #38. Randy Vasquez is at #49.

BA released, just this evening, ahead of schedule, their updated top 30 list for the New York Yankees. They have Duran at #6 on the Yankees’ list, Smith at #8, Otto at #20, Hauver at #22, Pereira at #24, and Vasquez is N/R. Clarke Schmidt, who was originally reported to be in the deal, is at #10 on this list, incidentally.

This would suggest that Duran and Smith would be seen as the lead pieces in the deal, and they are the guys who are also getting the most run on my Twitter feed.

Duran is a 22 year old righthanded hitter who has excelled offensively this year in his first taste of full season ball, slashing .290/.374/.533 in 67 games in high-A. He has 71 Ks against 28 walks in 297 plate appearances, so there’s some strikeout concerns there, but the overall performance is impressive. For what it is worth, he had 22 Ks and just 1 walk in May, and then 49 Ks against 27 walks since then.

Duran has played some shortstop but has mostly been a second baseman, and he’s a bat-first guy. There appears to be a significant amount of enthusiasm about his offensive potential. I would assume that Duran will go to Hickory, and he and Justin Foscue will split time at second base and play some other positions, but one or the other of them could go to Frisco, even though Frisco’s infield is also kind of crowded.

Duran is Rule 5 eligible after this season, and seems like a lock to be protected.

Smith turns 24 in August. He’s a lefthanded hitting middle infielder who has mostly played shortstop this season. He was the Yankees’ second round pick out of LSU in 2019, ranked #68 in the draft class by BA. In a write-up that I am sure sounds familiar, BA said in their draft profile that “Smith doesn’t have any ‘wow’ tools...but...[his] consistency and reliability when healthy has given him a fairly high floor.”

Smith slashed .324/.450/.477 in the New York-Penn League in 2019. This year, he slashed .333/.480/.795 in 50 low-A plate appearances before moving up to high-A, where he has slashed .320/.435/.583 in 125 plate appearances, with 12 steals in 15 attempts. That’s pretty good, even for a 23/almost 24 year old in high-A. He gives the Rangers yet another bat-first high-floor infielder from a big time college conference, and he goes to Hickory or Frisco, I guess, though again, Frisco’s infield is crowded.

Pereira is a righthanded hitting 20 year old center fielder. He had a nice season in the Appy League as a 17 year old, was awful in the New York-Penn League in 2019, and then only recently got on the field this year. Between the FCL and low-A he is slashing .397/.479/.714 with 9 walks and 18 Ks in 73 plate appearances this year.

BA mentions his “above-average bat speed and exit velocities,” and we know how the Rangers gravitate towards high exit velocity guys. He also is seen as someone who should stick in center field, from what I’ve seen. He’s Rule 5 eligible after this season.

Otto is a 25 year old righthanded pitcher who was the Yankees’ 5th round pick out of Rice University in 2017. He was a reliever in college who has mostly started as a pro. He has quality stuff but questions about his command (although he has 115 Ks against 17 walks in 75.2 IP this year between AA and AAA) as well as an injury history, which leads folks to see him as a likely reliever. He’s pitched very well in the minors this year, though.

Otto will be Rule 5 eligible for the second time this offseason. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him in Arlington at some point.

Trevor Hauver was the Yankees’ 3rd round pick in 2020. A 22 year old lefthanded hitter, Hauver is a bat-first guy who is playing second base right now in low-A but whose ultimate position is in question. He’s slashing .288/.445/.498 in low-A with 78 Ks against 64 walks in 299 plate appearances. That’s kind of weird.

Randy Vasquez is a 22 year old righthanded pitcher who has 50 innings at low-A this year and one start at high-A. 66 Ks, 25 walks. He’s Rule 5 eligible, but I’d say at this point he’s unlikely to be protected.

One additional thing to keep in mind...a couple of BA writers have noted that the Yankees did not allow scouts at their Alternate Training Site in 2020, and didn’t have an Instructional League team. Prospect rankings and evaluations are even more uncertain than usual because of the lost COVID-19 season, but the Yankees are, it appears, even more of a black box than most in that regard.

What you’ve seen several prospect writers say is that there’s a lot more variation and flux in rankings than normal, and that folks shouldn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the pre-season rankings as a result. So take that as you will.

UPDATE — Keith Law also likes the deal for Texas: https://theathletic.com/2737932/2021/07/28/keith-law-rangers-get-quantity-over-quality-from-yankees-in-trade-return-for-joey-gallo/

(I’m not getting out of bed and walking across the house to get on the computer so you get the iPad linkage).

Keith also says that the “lack of a more famous name” will “irk” Rangers fans hoping for one of the Padres or Yankees top prospects.