Just when you thought maybe the Oakland A’s spring rebuilding sale was done, they made another trade Sunday morning, sending starting pitcher Sean Manaea to the San Diego Padres less than a week before Opening Day. In exchange they got two prospects, which means we’ve got two new players to meet!
Joining the A’s farm system are IF Euribiel Angeles and RHP Adrian Martinez. Neither of them are national Top 100 prospects, but one of them ranks around the Top Ten in Oakland’s system and the other is close to contributing in MLB as soon as this year. Let’s take a closer look!
The clear headliner of the deal is Angeles. He ranked No. 10 in the Padres system per Baseball America, and No. 12 per MLB Pipeline, with Pipeline now inserting him at No. 11 on the A’s updated list. He made his debut in U.S. pro ball last summer as a teenager, hitting well in Low-A and earning a late-season promotion to High-A.
- Angeles, 2021 A-: .343/.397/.461, 128 wRC+, 3 HR, 18 SB, 7.9% BB, 15.1% Ks
- Angeles, 2021 A+: .264/.369/.361, 110 wRC+, 1 HR, 9.3% BB, 18.6% Ks
That’s a strong first impression, especially considering he won’t turn 20 until May, making him the age of a 2020 high school draft pick. Those numbers also match up with his scouting report, which emphasizes his above-average Hit tool and aggressive approach at the plate. Pipeline offers these details:
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 40 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, Angeles doesn’t hit for a ton of power, but puts that ball in play with strong bat to ball skills and an aggressive approach. The right-handed hitter hit .354 against right-handers in 2021, suggesting he’ll be tough to match up against as he continues to climb the ranks. There’s some uppercut in Angeles’ quick swing, but that translates more to doubles and triples as he uses his above-average speed to take the extra base. He also knows how to steal a bag when the opportunity presents itself, swiping 36 over his first 149 professional games.
While Angeles is most comfortable at shortstop, the position he played prior to signing, it’s likely he’ll wind up at second base. He’s played second, third and shortstop early in his career and that versatility may help expedite his path to the big leagues — especially if he keeps hitting at his current pace. Angeles has quick feet, solid hands and the arm strength to play anywhere on the infield, though his accuracy needs to improve. Of course, if he continues to rake, the A’s will find a spot for him to play.
Baseball America calls him “a natural-born hitter” who “can make contact with any type of pitch in any part of the strike zone,” including the quickness and patience to handle both heaters and breaking balls and a knack for finding the barrel of the bat. However, they warn that he sometimes takes it too far and sells out for contact at the expense of driving the ball, noting that “the Padres believe Angeles will hit the ball with more authority as he cuts down his chase rate” even though he’ll never be a slugger (30-grade power). On defense they don’t rule out shortstop but suggest second base or utility as more suitable homes for his 55-grade fielding. Their takeaway:
The Future: Angeles could develop into an everyday second baseman if he tightens his plate discipline. If not, a utility infielder capable of playing third base, second base and shortstop is a reasonable outcome.
For a look at that bat in action, here’s 90 seconds of him crushing all kinds of pitches, including some breaking balls.
Euribiel Angeles over his last 40 games:— Lake Elsinore Storm Baseball (@Storm_Baseball) July 13, 2021
+ 19 game hitting streak
+ Hits in 38 of 40 games
+ .960 OPS pic.twitter.com/PuuBRfTALR
Timing up another breaking ball for a hit.
I have recently fallen in love with Euribiel Angeles as a prospect— Drake Mann (@DrakeMann4) July 31, 2021
- future plus hit took
- consistent barrels
- solid bat speed
- good fielder
- power projection
- solid plate discipline
- Above-average speed
- 128 wRC+#HungryForMore pic.twitter.com/AppEEu014q
And some loud opposite-field contact.
The ceiling doesn’t appear as high as some of the other recent acquisitions, but he’s exactly what the A’s system has lacked lately. For years we’ve followed a long line of prospects who could be stars if only they could make enough contact, only to see them never develop that lynchpin tool. Angeles won’t have that problem. Whether he can do enough else remains to be seen, but right now he can hit the ball and he can play defense, and he’s already begun to demonstrate it on the field at an extremely young age instead of just possessing theoretical talent.
The secondary piece of the return package, Martinez is much nearer to MLB-ready. He ranked No. 19 in the Padres system per Baseball America, and No. 26 per MLB Pipeline, with Pipeline now inserting him at No. 25 on the A’s updated list. He spent last summer in the upper-minors, getting results in Double-A but hitting some turbulence in Triple-A, and earned himself a spot on the 40-man roster.
- Martinez, 2021 AA: 2.34 ERA, 80⅔ ip, 83 Ks, 24 BB, 4 HR, 3.14 FIP
- Martinez, 2021 AAA: 5.28 ERA, 44⅓ ip, 39 Ks, 17 BB, 6 HR, 5.29 FIP
He did most of that work as a starter, but he’s also got relief experience in the past, with the question remaining which role he’ll settle into long-term. The 25-year-old has two pitches that rate well in his fastball and changeup, but the development of his slider could help determine his potential as a future starter. Pipeline says the following:
Scouting grades: Fastball 55 | Slider 45 | Changeup 60 | Control 50 | Overall 45
The 6-foot-2 right-hander throws with a loose delivery and sits between 92-96 mph with a fastball that has good carry and horizontal movement. His best offering is a low-to-mid-80s changeup that grades out as plus and dives as it approaches the plate. He also throws a mid-80s slider, though it’s not as advanced as the other two pitches and has slightly better than average control.
A bit of a late bloomer, Martinez was added to the 40-man roster last November. Further development of his slider could help him slot into the back end of a rotation, but as it stands, his fastball-changeup combination could help him land a spot in a big league bullpen.
Baseball America has his four-seamer going as high as 95 mph “with fade and run” but a warning about his command. They love his changeup, using the word “disgusting” and calling it “a true out pitch,” with “screwball-like action that dives down and away from lefties.” Their takeaway:
The Future: Martinez projects to be a middle reliever with his fastball and changeup combination. His major league debut should come in 2022.
See below for that arsenal in action, earning him all kinds of chase swings at pitches in the dirt.
Assignment from @ProspectJesus: Padres RHP Adrian Martinez looks really good. Deploys a really impressive CB/CH combination. Garnered a lot of whiffs on pitches in the dirt because hitters looked lost. He used FB, CB, CH in any count. Changeup is the best and go to out pitch. pic.twitter.com/LNOJH3umPu— Trevor Hooth (@HoothTrevor) July 4, 2021
Some more whiffs.
ICYMI: Adrian Martinez's Start last night— El Paso Chihuahuas (@epchihuahuas) September 26, 2021
6.0 IP/ 4 H/ 1 ER/ 2 BB/ 10 K
9 of the 10 Ks were swinging and the 10 Ks tied a career high, set a Triple-A career high, and set the team season high! pic.twitter.com/BANMlOv0jN
Rebuilding a pitching staff means stocking up a depth of talent, and Martinez adds to that list. Even if he ends up in the bullpen, a reliever with two plus pitches can be a valuable contributor. And in exchange for that relatively modest ceiling, we shouldn’t have to wait long to see him in the majors, perhaps as soon as this summer.
In terms of total trade value, the Padres appear to have gotten the better end of the deal, and in that sense the A’s have taken some criticism for not demanding higher-rated prospects. I’ll halfway disagree with that last part.
Manaea’s situation was different than the Matts or Bassitt or Montas, because it was probably now or never in terms of seriously trading him. There was no waiting until next winter, and there wasn’t likely to be much if any upside to waiting until July, with a lot of realistic risk of getting nothing at the deadline if he briefly slumped or got hurt. That doesn’t mean give him away for free, or for pure salary relief, but it does mean prioritizing getting at least something.
The A’s achieved that. This was not a straight salary dump, and these aren’t just nominal prospects. Oakland got back some talent, one role player for the present and one promising youngster to develop for the long-term future. Could or should they have done even better? Who knows! But they had virtually no leverage so let’s not get carried away.
As a one-year rental earning $10 million, Manaea was never going to fetch as big of a return as the other stars this offseason. He didn’t end up fetching as much as Athletics Nation probably hoped he would, especially after the A’s held out so long for the best deal possible, and especially since Oakland had to chip in a prospect of their own in 13th-round draft pick RHP Aaron Holiday.
But he did fetch something, a pair of solid prospects we’ll be happy to have in the system, and if super-young Angeles breaks out a little more then the package could start looking pretty darn good. That’s more than nothing, and it’s one more step forward in the rebuild. That doesn’t mean you can’t be disappointed in the return if you want, especially when coupled with the painful loss of such a beloved player as Manaea, but don’t overlook that the farm just improved a bit.