Update: 25 year old Houston Outfielder Austin Wates will also head to Miami in this deal. Wates had been hitting .299/.396/.381 in 331 plate appearances for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
In 2011, the Houston Astros acquired a then 21 year old Jarred Cosart as part of a steep prospect package for All Star right-fielder Hunter Pence. Now, after thirty big league starts for Houston, Cosart is being flipped for his own package.
The Marlins have acquired Cosart, along with rookie utility man Enrique Hernandez in exchange for third baseman Colin Moran, outfielder Jake Marisnick, righty Francis Martes and a competitive balance pick directly after the first round in 2015.
Cosart, 24, was ranked by Baseball America as the #50 prospect in baseball heading into the 2012 season and pitched to a 1.95 ERA over 10 starts as a rookie last year. His peripherals, though, left a lot to be desired (he walked more batters than he struck out) and he’s been much closer to an average starter this season, going 9-7 with a 4.47 ERA in 116 1/3 innings.
A sixth round pick back in 2009, Enrique Hernandez, had never been one of the better prospects in a talented Houston system. He had never been much of a prospect at all. Last season, he hit just .236 with a .297 on base percentage in Double-A. But at 21, he was young for the level, and Hernandez broke out with Triple-A Oklahoma City this year. He hit .337/.380/.508 across 297 plate appearances, earning a major league call up on July 1st. Since then, he has posted a .768 OPS over 24 games, appearing in the outfield and both middle infield positions.
In return, the Astros will receive a bevy of offensive upside.
Colin Moran’s pure hitting ability and polished bat put him in the running for the first overall pick in last year’s draft, though he ultimately fell to Miami at #6. He was ranked as the 61st overall prospect by Baseball America coming into the season.
Marisnick, at #79 on the list, marking the third consecutive year in which he’s appeared in the rankings. Though he had underwhelmed in a 40 game stint with Miami at the end of the year, he was coming off a season in which he hit .289/.350/.489 with 12 home runs between Advanced and Double-A. His defense in center had always been outstanding and the plus power potential was beginning to show.
But both players have moderately underperformed at the plate this season. With a .294/.342/.393 line and just four home runs for High-A Jupiter, Moran has only confirmed scouts’ longstanding fears: that he would be a line-drive hitter with a good eye at the plate, but that he would never develop enough power to be a star. The Florida State League is not the ideal hitter’s environment and he could as yet develop the ability to leave the yard fifteen or so times a year, but the stats this season don’t help his case.
Marisnick, meanwhile has hit .277/.326/.434 for Triple-A New Orleans. He’s shown some power with 10 shots in 89 games, but that is a partly a product of the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League environment, and regardless, is not reflective of the 30 homer potential he was thought to possess. In the majors, he has looked overmatched for the second straight year, collecting no extra base hits and posting a .382 OPS across 51 plate appearances.
His glove can carry him even if the power never fully develops, but he will have to show at least some capacity to hit major league pitching.
An 18 year old who has never pitched above rookie ball, Martes is some thing of a “lottery ticket” in this deal. He currently owns a 4.97 ERA and a SO/9 of 9.6 in 29 Gulf Coast League innings.