The Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves have pulled off a blockbuster trade that sends Justin Upton and Chris Johnson to Atlanta for left fielder/third baseman Martin Prado, pitcher Randall Delgado, shortstop Nick Ahmed and pitcher Zeke Spruill, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
Source: Braves get Justin Upton and Chris Johnson from D-backs for Prado, Delgado, Ahmed and Spruill.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) January 24, 2013
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that first baseman Brandon Drury will also be included in the deal, going from Arizona to Atlanta.
The key piece to the deal for the Diamondbacks is Delgado. The soon-to-be 23-year-old pitcher has spent parts of the last two seasons in the majors, compiling a 3.95 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 127.2 innings pitched.
Here is a full look at the scouting report for Delgado as he moves from the Braves to the Diamondbacks.
Delgado will turn 23 years old on Feb. 9. He was called up to the big leagues in 2011, throwing 35 innings in seven starts during his brief run. He also had 18 strikeouts, 14 walks and a 2.83 ERA.
The Braves signed Delgado out of Panama in 2006 when he was 16 years old. He spent four seasons from 2008 to 2011 in the minor leagues. He also spent time in the minors in 2012, throwing 44.1 innings at Triple-A Gwinnett.
Last July, when the Braves were exploring trade options, there was talk that Delgado would be dealt to the Chicago Cubs for Ryan Dempster, but Dempster used his no-trade rights to veto the deal.
Delgado uses a three-pitch mix that includes a low- to mid-90s fastball, curveball and changeup. He is still trying to develop consistency with his offspeed pitches and command his fastball in the strike zone.
The biggest issue throughout his career has been his ability to throw strikes. He has walked more than 3.5 batters per nine innings pitched in all but one season (2010), including the minors.
Delgado's fastball has good velocity, there isn't a lot of movement to it and he leaves it up in the zone. That leads to a lot of flyballs and home runs, as evidenced by the 13 he has given up in just 127.2 innings.
Delgado's changeup and curveball still need work. The curveball is his best offspeed pitch, though he doesn't have a consistent feel for it. It can be a good swing-and-miss weapon when it is right.
The development of Delgado's changeup, as well as his command, is going to determine his future role. He doesn't have huge platoon splits right now, though left-handed hitters do have a .352 on-base percentage against him.
If he can at least develop an average changeup, Delgado could turn into a solid No. 4 starter at his peak. If the changeup doesn't come along, he could end up as a valuable setup man.
The difference in value between those two roles is huge, so the Diamondbacks are counting on Delgado putting the whole package together.
What They Are Saying
Prior to the start of the 2012 season, Delgado was ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Braves organization by Baseball America.
In his report on Baseball America's site (subscription required), Bill Ballew wrote that Delgado's delivery is clean but his arm action tends to change from pitch to pitch.
That change in Delgado's delivery would explain the inconsistent results throughout his career, as hitters can get a better look at the ball out of his hand when he is not hiding it as well as he can when he is on.
Looking Toward The Future
Delgado will likely start the season battling for a spot in the back of Arizona's starting rotation. The team has plenty of pitching depth, though there are a lot of question marks.
Trevor Cahill, Patrick Corbin and Ian Kennedy are locks for the top three spots. Brandon McCarthy will get one of the other two spots after signing with the Diamondbacks in the offseason.
Daniel Hudson will also be returning later this season, likely around the All-Star break, after undergoing Tommy John surgery last July.
That leaves Delgado and Tyler Skaggs as the two most likely candidates for the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Skaggs is the better prospect, but he could use more time in the minors if Arizona doesn't think he is ready. He has made just nine starts at Triple-A.