With the Philadelphia Phillies still considered in the hunt for Padres closer Heath Bell, they stunned the baseball world by acquiring arguably the best bat left on the MLB trade market. Pence, the former Astros right fielder, will add not only another quality outfielder, but a big bat to the solid Phillies lineup.
In 364 at-bats with Houston, Pence was hitting .321 with 61 RBI with a .361 OBP. Pence was in a one-year, $6.9-million dollar deal with Astros, the only team he's played with during his five-year career.
Pence, a career .290 hitter, was drafted by the Astros out of the University of Texas at Arlington in the second round of the 2004 draft. The 28-year-old native of Fort Worth, Texas, has hit exactly 25 home runs in the last three seasons, yet is mainly seen as a high-contact, high-average type of player with above-average speed.
The Phillies will ship 1B Jonathan Singleton, RHP Jarred Cosart and RHP Josh Zeid to the Astros for Pence and cash considerations.
Left-handed hitting Jonathan Singleton was drafted by the Astros in 2009 in the eighth round. Baseball America ranked Singleton as the 39th-best prospect prior to 2011. At High-A Clearwater, the 19-year-old power prospect was batting .282 with nine home runs.
Singleton's teammate, Jarred Cosart, was ranked by Baseball America as the 70th rated prospect coming into 2011. Cosart, a 21-year-old right-handed pitcher, was 9-8 with a 3.92 ERA.
The third prospect headed to Houston is RHP Josh Zeid, who was drafted in the 10th round in 2009. Zeid was 2-3 with a 5.65 ERA at Double-A Reading in 2011.
This is the second blockbuster deal in as many days, as Carlos Beltran was traded to the San Francisco Giants for High-A minor league pitcher Zack Wheeler just two days ago.
Pence, a versatile hitter, can hit many different spots in the batting order. He's fast enough to lead off, although he doesn't walk much. He also has enough pop to bat in the middle of an inconsistent Phillies batting order.
With arguably the best starting rotation in all of baseball—touting the likes of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee—the Phillies, with the acquisition of Hunter Pence, can now be considered one of the most dangerous hitting teams in the game as well.