Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hot Stove Update: Angels Make Two Trades

The Angels made two relatively minor trades today that I think may pay off quite well for them down the road.  In the first move they traded catcher Hank Conger to the Houston Astros for minor league catcher Carlos Perez and RHP Nick Tropeano.  In the second deal, they acquired lefty swingman Cesar Ramos from the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league RHP Mark Sappington.

Conger is probably the most recognizable name in the group due to his high ranking in prospect lists a few years ago.  He is a switch-hitter with some power but never hit up to expectations with the Angels putting up a line of .221/.293/.325 with 4 HR last year which is very close to his career average.  He was a backup catcher to Chris Ianetta, but played in about 40% of the Angels' games last year.

Carlos Perez put up a line of .259/.323/.359 with 6 HR's for AAA Oklahoma City last year.  He'll probably serve as Ianetta's backup this year with Ianetta probably getting more PT than the last 2 years which will help the Angels because Ianetta is the best hitter of the 3, by far.  BTW, Ianetta is a classic 3 true outcomes player who puts up OBP's above .350 despite low BA's while striking out about 30% of the time, probably due to working deep into counts.  When he makes contact, he hits quite a few HR's.

Nick Tropeano is the big prize in this trade, IMO.  I have liked Tropeano since he was a college pitcher for Joe Nathan's alma mater, Stony Brook.  Tropeano was a 5'th round draft pick in 2011.  He is 24 years old.  He's big at 6'4", 200 lbs.  He has a FB that runs 90-92 MPH and a plus changeup that was named as the best in the Astros system.  His breaking ball is still a work in progress.  He put up a fine line of 9-5, 3.03, 124.2 IP, 33 BB, 120 K's for AAA Oklahoma City.  He went 1-3, 4.57, 21.2 IP, 9 BB, 13 K's in a small sample size with the Astros.

All in all, I really like this trade from the Angels perspective with Tropeano being the big prize with the two catchers being close to a wash.

Cesar Ramos was a swingman for Tampa Bay last year racking up 82.2 IP while going 2-6 with a 3.70 ERA.  He had 66 K's with 39 BB's.  Too many walks, but he was much better out of the bullpen.  He gives the Angels a Jeremy Affeldt type lefty in the bullpen who will reliably get LH batters out, but can be left in against RH batters too.  I did not realize this until I looked him up, but Ramos as the Padres first round draft pick in 2005!

The Angels give up Mark Sappington who regressed this year but pitched quite well out of the bullpen for high A Inland Empire after a demotion from AA.  His ERA was almost 6 but he had a K/9 of close to 9, but walked to ton of batters too.  I think I may have seen this guy pitch out in San Bernardino last year, but not sure.  Obviously did not make much of an impression if I did.

Again, the Angels add a very nice bullpen piece comparable to Jeremy Affeldt for a guy who is barely hanging on in a bullpen in high A ball.

Two very solid trades for the Angels. The kind that doesn't make headlines but can make a huge impact.

Addendum:  Nice article this morning in Fangraphs re. Conger's pitch framing skills which seems to be the reason why the Astros were willing to give up a Tropeano for him.


  1. This is probably a comparable haul to what the Giants would potentially get in return for a healthy Hector Sanchez.

    1. Possibly, but Conger has a specific statistical skill, albeit a controversial one, that the Astros brass value more than your average front office which they possibly overpaid for.

  2. breaking news. pablo's agent says he wants a 6 year deal.


    1. 6 years is a long time to keep your fingers crossed that he keeps his weight under control and even longer if he doesn't.