After a lot of build-up, the Dodgers had a relatively quiet trade deadline.
The two most noteworthy trades they made were acquiring Joey Gallo from the Yankees and dealing away Mitch White and prospect Alex De Jesus to the Blue Jays for prospects Nick Frasso and Moises Brito.
White is 27, has five more years of control after this year, and has settled in nicely into his swingman role with the Dodgers, shuttling back-and-forth between the minors and majors as well as between starting and relieving.
In 105.2 career innings, he’s put up a 3.58 ERA and 3.87 FIP, generally looking like a potentially average starter if given a chance and a useful long relief/spot starter at worst. While the upside appears limited, he has given the Dodgers valuable innings, especially with the nature of their injury-prone roster construction.
While most will know White, De Jesus’ inclusion is notable, as the 20-year-old shortstop/third baseman has been productive between A (.265/.390/.458/.847) and A+ (.282/.376/.421/.797) levels in the last two seasons. He has shown a discerning eye and a bit of pop, which is what makes him promising, but defensive questions and swing-and-miss in A-ball makes him something of a longshot.
He was ranked as the #19 prospect at MLB Pipeline, #43 at FanGraphs, and #16/#24 at Dodgers Digest.
De Jesus has enough strength and bat speed that he doesn’t have to lengthen his right-handed stroke and swing for the fences to hit for power. He did a better job of using the opposite field in 2021 and could become an average hitter with solid pop if he stays under control. He drew 45 walks in his final 54 games and made more consistent hard contact once he started making better swing decisions. Six-foot-2 and more physical than his listed 170 pounds, De Jesus likely will move back to the hot corner in the future. He has below-average speed, though his surprisingly smooth actions and well above-average arm strength help him make plays at shortstop. His range projects as fringy at best at short but he could be at least an average defender at third base.
So a relatively proven MLB arm and a prospect with some upside.
On the Dodgers side of things, the likely reason to give up those two is the right-handed pitcher Frasso. A 2020 fourth-round pick of the Blue Jays, Frasso is 23, still in A+, and has thrown all of 41.2 professional innings due to Tommy John surgery in 2021.
That all seems less than exciting, however he has been electric during his limited time (especially after returning from TJS), posting a 1.08 ERA and striking out 65 compared to just 12 walks. Though it’s not really the numbers as much as the stuff, which has ticked up as he’s made his way back, touching 100 mph and throwing nasty off-speed.
Frasso isn’t in the Top 30 prospects for MLB Pipeline, and is #31 for FanGraphs, but would likely be higher now.
Frasso was an uncommon sort of prospect, a college dev project with room on his frame for more muscle. His 2021 was ultimately cut short by Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in June. Frasso had a velo spike right before breaking, as he sat 95 in his few innings of work, which is where he’d top out while in college. His broad-shouldered frame looks like a wire hanger under his jersey and he’s loose and flexible enough that he might throw harder on a pro strength program, which will be his sole focus during rehab. His secondary stuff — a mid-80s changeup and low-80s sweeping curveball — are below average, but Frasso locates them pretty competitively. He doesn’t have much experience as a starter, so that stuff might yet develop, though injuries have robbed him of reps to this point (he was also hurt in college).
Baseball Prospectus even gave him consideration for their Midseason Top 50, which is … promising.
Why he was considered: Frasso, a previously nondescript, underslot, 2020 fourth-round pick from Loyola Marymount, suddenly came out this season touching 100 with lively movement and throwing a completely unhittable slider. Like literally unhittable, he was running in the low-70s for whiffs per swing in Low-A with it. His changeup, while not tremendously appealing from a visual scouting perspective, has also been a very effective pitch for him so far.
Take a look for yourself.
He’s also 6’5 and freakishly athletic, so one can dream on the upside.
The other player the Dodgers are getting in the trade is a bit more of a mystery. Brito is a 6’5, 20-year-old left-handed pitcher, who has a 1.86 ERA in the Dominican Summer League, striking out 32 and walking just one in 29 innings.
That’s about anybody seems to know for now. We’ll likely find out more when he moves stateside.
It’s a risky trade in terms of dealing a low-floor big leaguer with almost all his years of control for an unproven high ceiling arm coming off major injury, but it’s also the kind of thing that could pay off in a big way if Frasso stays healthy and ends up as a Top 100 or even Top 50 arm, which is the kind of trajectory his current stuff is putting him on.
If you’re the Dodgers and you’ve kept your wealth of pitching prospects and quality arms instead of trading them in a blockbuster deal, then it’s likely something you can afford to take a chance on with hopes of hitting the home run.