The D-backs picked up a Major Leaguer who can help them right away. The Pirates received two prospects who are years away from making an impact but could have high ceilings. In essence, the two clubs executed a stereotypical January trade.Arizona acquired outfielder Starling Marte from Pittsburgh in exchange for
The D-backs picked up a Major Leaguer who can help them right away. The Pirates received two prospects who are years away from making an impact but could have high ceilings. In essence, the two clubs executed a stereotypical January trade.
Arizona acquired outfielder Starling Marte from Pittsburgh in exchange for Minor League shortstop Liover Peguero and right-hander Brennan Malone on Monday, the clubs confirmed. The Pirates also picked up $250,000 in international bonus pool money in the deal, and the D-backs will additionally receive cash considerations.
Peguero and Malone were ranked as the No. 18 and 9 prospects in the Arizona system by MLB.com at the end of the 2019 season but are likely to sit higher in the Pirates pipeline when organization rankings are updated next month.
Peguero, in particular, seems primed to make a jump.
"He's the type of young player that scouts get excited about and our analysts get excited about," PIttsburgh GM Ben Cherington told MLB.com. "He does a bunch of things that good Major League players, when they were 19, did. We're excited about that."
Signed for $475,000 in July 2017, the Dominican Republic native is coming off a breakout campaign. Peguero got off to a hot start at Rookie Advanced Missoula, where he hit .364/.410/.559 with 15 extra-base hits and eight stolen bases over 38 games. The right-handed hitter, who turned 19 on Dec. 31, saw his numbers dip following an August promotion to Class A Short Season Hillsboro (.262/.333/.357 in 22 games), but played a crucial role for the Hops in their run to a Northwest League championship, providing a walk-off double in Game 1 of the semifinals. His .326 overall average was third-highest among D-backs farmhands with at least 200 plate appearances and his .866 OPS placed 11th.
Peguero's best current tool is plus speed, with his hit tool also showing above-average potential. With a solid arm and good range, he has a good chance to stick at the premium position of shortstop.
Malone was taken with the 33rd overall pick in last year's Draft out of the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The 19-year-old right-hander signed for the slot value of $2.2 million and made seven appearances (three starts) in the D-backs system last summer. He struck out eight and allowed four earned runs on four hits and five walks over eight innings between the Rookie-level AZL affiliate and Hillsboro. He also appeared in one postseason game for the Hops, surrendering one earned run on two hits in one inning.
The 6-foot-4 hurler was a high Draft pick on the strength of his mid-90s fastball (which has touched the upper-90s at times) and plus slider. Malone's curveball and changeup also could be average offerings in time, and if he can master the full arsenal, he has the tools to be a Major League starter.
"He's got, as far as body type, the physical capability and the delivery traits to be a starting pitcher. He's got exceptional arm strength and velocity and the makings of good secondary stuff," Cherington told MLB.com. "He's a really good kid -- smart, intelligent young man. Again, 19 years old and a long way to go and a lot of work to do. But we're excited about the ingredients he has that gives him the ability to be a starting pitcher."
Marte will likely become Arizona's starting center fielder, allowing All-Star Ketel Marte to slide back to second base. The newest Marte on the D-backs roster has two years of team control left before he becomes a free agent, including a team option for $12.5 million in 2021. The 31-year-old veteran was worth 3.0 WAR last season (per FanGraphs) after hitting .295/.342/.503 with 23 homers and 25 stolen bases over 132 games for Pittsburgh.
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.