LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- We're in the land of rumor and speculation, so why not discuss some possible players that could be included in a deal for Royals pitcher Zack Greinke. Tim Darley, a contributor we've highlighted here on the ESPNDallas.com Rangers blog and a minor-league enthusiast, put together a list of minor-league centerpieces and secondary pieces (some major league players could be involved as well). Let's look at the bigger names in this post and later today we'll look at the others. Here goes:
As the Rangers consider trading for Greinke to bolster their rotation, here’s a look at the key trade chips which might be involved in the deal. The Royals will be looking to supplement an formidable farm system which includes top prospects: Wil Myers, C; Eric Hosmer, 1B; Mike Moustakas, 3B; and LHPs John Lamb, Danny Duffy and Michael Montgomery. The Royals rumored targets are top flight pitching prospects and “up the middle” position players, which just so happens to be the strengths of the Rangers farm system. While any deal could include a host of complimentary pieces, these names might appear in the top tiers of a package for Greinke:
Martin Perez: Perez was acquired as an international free agent in 2007 and spent all of 2010 as a 19 year old in AA Frisco. At times his command faltered, which had not been a major problem early in his career, but his9.1 k/9 rate was a bright spot as he faced batters generally four years older than him. Despite some struggles, Baseball America tabbed Perez as the #5 prospect in the Texas League (side note: #1, #2, #3, and #6 on that list are already Royals property). If the Royals seek ace potential, Perez has it. He might be the Rangers only untouchable player and, for that reason, he might be the Royals top target.
Jurickson Profar: Signed as a 16 year old shortstop out of Curacao for just over $1.5 million, Profar signed with the Rangers’ offer for a chance to play the field as opposed to developing his low-90s fastball on the mound. As a 17 year old shortstop, Profar compiled a .250/.323/.373 line against players nearly five years his senior. Amongst those older players, Profar was voted the #1 prospect in the Northwest League as a result of his profile as an above average hitter from both sides of the plate wotj power potential and above average defense at shortstop. He’s not quite as far ahead of the curve as Elvis Andrus was, but he is in that ballpark.
Tanner Scheppers: A top talent in the 2009 draft who fell to the Rangers supplemental pick (received for the departure of Milton Bradley) due to injury concerns, the 23 year old righty started the season off in a bullpen role in Frisco and was absolutely dazzling with a 1.13 era and 23 strikeouts in 16 relief innings. Scheppers was subsequently promoted to Oklahoma City and then moved to the rotation, where he did not experience the same success. He still finished the season with more than a strikeout per inning and is expected to improve as he develops his ability to pitch. Baseball America listed Scheppers’s fastball and curveball as the best pitches, respectively, in the Rangers system, and he has “Greinke-like” potential, if he is able to stay healthy.
Engel Beltre: Beltre was acquired along with David Murphy and Kason Gabbard from the Red Sox for Eric Gagne and might have been the Rangers top target in that trade because of the potential to develop into a five tool player capable of manning centerfield. In 2010, the 20 year old Beltre was promoted mid-season to AA Frisco. Overall, Beltre hit .300/.346/.410 on his way to being Baseball America’s #5 player in the California League and #18 player in the Texas League. Beltre has all the tools to be a superstar and, for the first time last year, started to show results in line with his potential.