Adam Fine Trade

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The other day, Derek asked us to write fanposts about our favorite transactions by David Stearns. This may come across as deliberately controversial, but my favorite move of the off-season has been the trade of Adam Lind for Carlos Herrera, Daniel Missaki, and Freddy Peralta. I'm not trying to be controversial or click bait-y, because the truth is, I'm not sure why so many people seemed to be disappointed by the trade.

Though a certain Senior Writer most certainly panned this trade as a perfect example of #theTank being alive and well, I believe it is yet another genius move by good ole Slingin' Stearns (or Dealin' Dave apparently). Now, I love Nottingham and Diaz and every move by Stearns, but there are two big reasons why this was my favorite move:

  1. It's smart.
  2. It's refreshing.
1. It's smart.
When you read about young pitching prospects, there's often two words that come up regarding their development: control issues. Control issues are the bane of many failed prospects throughout the years. I'd be willing to bet that more pitchers fail to live up to their potential due to a lack of control than arm injuries.

Now, if you try to define an ace, there are generally four things to look for. They generally 1. Throw hard, 2. Have lots of Ks, 3. Limit BBs, and 4. Limit HRs. If you have a guy who throws in the upper 90's, there's a good chance he'll probably strikeout a lot of batters. If he also has a handle on his control, he'll be much more effective in the K department, he'll be able to limit free passes and the long ball, and he's probably an ace.

During the process of grooming a pitcher into Ace-dom, teams will look for the velocity first and try to develop the control later. After all, it should be easier to learn how to gain control than to add a couple ticks to a fastball. This is a lot easier said than done, however. In the NBA, if a player cannot shoot a threepointer (Hi MCW) or a free throw (Hack a 'Dre, Hack a Shaq, Hack a Dwight, etc.), history shows it's very difficult to teach these skills. One would think that with practice, accuracy will improve, but that is not always the case in basketball, and it is certainly not always the case with pitchers.

This is the reason why I liked the return on the Adam Lind trade so much. Each of Herrera, Missaki, and Peralta has control already, even as teenagers. Look at these stats:

Peralta: 28.8 K%, 3.4 BB%, 0.4 HR%, 233 BF
Missaki: 25.6 K%, 3.8 BB%, 0.0 HR%, 133 BF
Herrera 22.7 K%, 4.0 BB%, 1.2 HR%, 322 BF

You can't teach that type of control. And for each of them to already possess the type of control to excel in three of the four Ace categories, that's huge. None of them are going to be throwing in the high 90's, but there is a much greater track record for pitchers who can't overpower with speed but have excellent control than there is for pitchers who overpower with speed and have zero control.

So in summary, arguably the biggest impediment to the success of young pitchers should not be an impediment to these three at all.

2. It's refreshing.
I love Doug Melvin. I truly, madly, deeply do. But the Adam Lind trade is not one we would have seen during the old regime. Two trades took place last year that I think would have been a reasonable expectation for the return DM would have received for Lind. Those were the Indians' trade of Brandon Moss for Rob Kaminsky and our own Brewers' trade of Gerardo Parra for Zach Davies. Both pitchers are fine, almost certain to be major leaguers, but they are the types of guys whose ceilings and floors aren't too far apart. We can safely project both Davies and Kaminsky to pitch in a Major League rotation, and to never amount to much more than a back end starter. There certainly is value in that, I just think we got more value in the Lind trade.

Ok. I have to admit, I'm going to use some Dwain Price type "logic" in the next couple paragraphs. Let's pretend all three of these young pitchers pan out and make it to the bigs. If all three were to make it, their floors would almost have to be equivalent to Davies'. But are there ceilings necessarily the same as their floors, as is the case with Davies? We don't know yet. Every one of them, along with Trey Supak and Bubba Derby, has the potential to reach a much higher ceiling. We just don't know yet. Neither do the teams which traded them, which is why we were able to acquire three players in Herrera, Missaki, and Peralta rather than just one like Davies or Kaminsky. (BTW, I just thought of Daniel Missaki's nickname - Milwaukee Missaki. We all pronounce Milwaukee muh-WAU-kee anyways, which makes the name flow better IMO).

While some people are down on this trade because it seems like quantity over quality, I'm not sure that's a real reason to be upset by it. It's unreasonable for us to truly expect all three of these young arms to pan out, but having multiple guys trying to make it definitely increases our chances of finding a diamond in the rough. Lots of research shows that just under 1 in 4 (~22%) pitching prospects pan out. So statistically speaking, at least one of Herrera, Missaki, Peralta, Supak, and Derby should make it to the big leagues. Will any of them end up being better than Kaminsky or Davies? Who knows. But we also know that Kaminsky and Davies don't really have much chance to be better than they already are, so yes, I'm saying there's a chance that one of these guys will be better.

And that's why I am refreshed by this trade. Rather than getting a high-floor, low-ceiling guy in return for Lind, we picked up three wildcards that won't yet take up a spot on the 40-man roster. It's refreshing to stockpile guys in the lower minors, rather than focusing on players who could make it this year, albeit with less potential. It's refreshing to have a plan and a dual focus on stats and scouting to identify players who have yet to break out.

I don't know what will happen, but I'm excited to see more trades just like the Adam Lind one in the future. Adam fine trade, indeed.