On Thursday morning, reports came in that Justin Upton had been traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Atlanta Braves. The deal includes a handful of other players, including pitcher Zeke Spruill.
He is the news from the MLB Twitter account:
Minor league infielder Brandon Drury was also included in the deal, according to the MLB on Twitter:
So, who is Zeke Spruill? In five years, will we look back on this deal as a win for the Diamondbacks because they landed him?
By most accounts, Spruill looks like a fourth or fifth pitcher in a starting rotation in the big leagues. Mark Anderson of Baseball Prospect Nation has the following insights on his potential:
Spruill continued to gain consistency in 2012 and he looks like a solid number four starter at the big league level. His sinking fastball that generates plenty of ground balls will sit at 92-93 mph and touch 95. He trusts his heater and attacks hitters with it early in at-bats. His breaking ball shows as an above-average pitch and his change-up is certainly useable. He could use some polishing at Triple-A in 2013 but his big-league debut may not be far off.
In 2012, Spruill went 9-11 in 161.2 innings with a 3.67 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 106 strikeouts for the Mississippi Braves in Double-A ball. He went 2-2 in 22.1 innings with a 3.63 ERA and 13 strikeouts for the Devil Dogs in the Arizona Fall League as well.
Spruill isn't a flashy prospect. He won't blow batters away with overwhelming stuff or accumulate a ton of strikeouts, but he is a consistent and steady pitcher that gets the job done more often than not.
Baseball America ranked him as the Atlanta Braves No. 9 prospect after the 2012 season.
Yes, some folks will regard this trade as a major win for the Braves since they didn't give up either of their top two pitching prospects, JR Graham or Julio Teheran. But Spruill is a very nice prospect, even if he doesn't have the name recognition of the top two guys.
I would expect him to make a run at the Diamondbacks staff in 2014.