The Houston Astros added to their future outfield on Monday morning when the organization acquired Danry Vasquez from the Detroit Tigers.
The official Twitter account for Houston reported the deal:
This morning, Astros have acquired OF Danry Vasquez from DET in exchange for RHP Jose Veras. Vasquez was one of Tigers top prospects.— Houston Astros (@astros) July 29, 2013
The Astros also receive a player to be named later in the deal.— Houston Astros (@astros) July 29, 2013
Vasquez is just 19 years old but has already shown that he can be a dangerous hitter. The Tigers signed the outfielder in 2010, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. At the time, he was one of the top outfielders in Venezuela, per Badler. Here’s what Tigers international scouting director Tom Moore said at the time:
The frame is there, there’s a lot of growth potential and that’s really one of the things that interested us a lot about him. The way he’s able to handle the bat, he’s premium bat-type guy. He already has power, but knowing that if he’s able to gain some strength in that frame, he’s really going to develop some more power. For us, he was one of the most advanced bats in the market that we saw this year.
Vasquez currently stands at 6'3" but only weighs 177 pounds. He played in 54 games for the Gulf Coast League right after signing and jumped out to a solid start, hitting .272/.306/.350 with 11 extra-base hits and 30 RBI. He started 2012 in Single-A Western Michigan but noticeably struggled.
In 29 games, the outfielder hit .162/.218/.222 with four extra-base hits and seven RBI. He was demoted to Low-A Connecticut, where he finished the season. There, Vasquez hit .311/.341/.401 with 20 extra-base hits—including two home runs—and 35 RBI in 72 games, earning himself a spot back with Western Michigan to start 2013.
Vasquez has played 96 games for Western Michigan this season, and it appears that he simply needed a bit more time to make the transition. In 2013, the youngster is hitting .281/.333/.390 with 26 extra-base hits—five of which are homers—and 39 RBI. That’s definitely improvement, but the power still really isn’t there.
In fact, Badler says that the prospect's power has always been a question mark:
Was just talking to a scout who saw Danry Vasquez recently and liked him. Power's always been the question mark, but he's a good hitter.— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) July 29, 2013
Vasquez likely won’t be in the majors for quite some time, and Dave Hogg of Fox Sports Detroit believes that it could be three more seasons.
Vasquez is a good LF prospect, but he's 19 and still learning at West Michigan. This is a kid who wasn't going to hit the majors until 2016.— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) July 29, 2013
That would likely mean that the outfielder would spend the rest of this year in Single-A, would play next season in Double-A and then Triple-A in 2015. Projecting that Vasquez could be in the big leagues in three seasons may be a bit bold considering he’s barely played a full season in Single-A.
Still, general manager Jeff Lunhow is just happy to have Vasquez in the organization, per the Astros’ official Twitter account:
Vasquez was ranked as Tigers #4 prospect by Jonathan Mayo. Luhnow on Vasquez: “We are excited to get an outfield prospect of Danry’s caliber— Houston Astros (@astros) July 29, 2013
More Luhnow on 19-year-old Vasquez: "He adds to an already formidable group of prospects at the A ball level.”— Houston Astros (@astros) July 29, 2013
As noted in the tweet above, MLB.com had Vasquez ranked No. 4 in Detroit’s system. His profile on the site says that he could be the type of player who hits 12-to-15 home runs per season. MLB.com projects him to be in the big leagues in 2015, a year earlier than Hogg predicted. That seems even bolder.
Who won this trade?
While it may take some time for Astros fans to see Vasquez in Houston, there’s no question that he’s going to be a part of what could be a strong outfield. The Astros already have George Springer, who’s quickly becoming one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Domingo Santana also looks to have a promising future.
The Astros didn’t really need Jose Veras, and it made sense to get rid of him before the trade deadline. In doing so, Houston picked up a prospect who could turn into a star one day. The organization definitely boosted its minor league system in the deal, and there’s no doubt Lunhow made a smart decision for the long-term benefit of the organization.
All statistics and information in this article was obtained via Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted and are current through July 28. All contract information was obtained via Cot’s Contracts and all injury information was obtained via Baseball Prospectus.