July 23, 2012
Myers to Chicago
Addison Reed has blown two saves over the past 10 days. Kenny Williams has responded by acquiring Myers. The biggest question accompanying Myers to Chicago is role. One has to figure the White Sox do not intend to use Myers as their closer. His $10 million option for next season vests with 45 games finished, and he joins the club with 29 already. Various reports do have the Astros sending over enough money to cover all but $1 million Myers is due this season, as well as money to use toward the $3 million buyout or next year’s option.
Regardless of the role, Myers will approach hitters with the same repertoire. He uses a variety of low-90s fastballs and two breaking pitches to get outs. Myers is a groundball-heavy pitcher and one stingy with walks. Still, he lacks the high-end stuff that teams typically expect from their late-inning options. Two other subplots to watch: Myers has, uncharacteristically, struggled against left-handed batters; and he’s a been bit homer-prone at times, something that could pop up more often in a more friendly hitting environment. —R.J. Anderson
Acquired RHP Matt Heidenreich, LHP Blair Walters, and a player to be named later from the White Sox for RHP Brett Myers and cash. [7/21]
The Astros continued their flurry of minor moves to add depth to their system, and the two players acquired from the White Sox are just that: depth pieces.
A fourth-round pick in 2009 out of a California high school, Heidenreich was having a solid year during the first half of the year at High-A Winston-Salem, but he's been hit hard in three starts following a promotion to Double-A. The 21 year old has just average velocity, but the pitch plays up due to his ability to locate it, and he takes advantage of his six-foot-five frame and high arm angle to add a good downward plane on the offering. His curveball and changeup are solid but unspectacular, and he just doesn't have the stuff to overpower hitters. He has a chance to progress to the big leagues on his pitchability, but his upside is limited.
An 11th-round pick out of Hawaii last June, Walters benefited by getting extra looks from scouts who came in to see eventual first-round pick Kolten Wong. He pitched well early in the year with a 2.88 ERA in 13 starts for Low-A Kannapolis, but he has faltered since moving up to the Carolina League, allowing 20 runs over his first 26 innings. He's a short-ish, physical lefty who pounds the strike zone with an average-to-slightly-above fastball that can touch the low 90s, and his breaking ball is just average. The 22 year old depends on getting ahead of hitters, and he has the ability to do so, but scouts see him as lacking a pitch to put them away once he gets there. Left-handers who can throw strikes always get plenty of chances, and his believers see an outside shot at a future relief role. —Kevin Goldstein
R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. Follow @r_j_anderson