Trade Analysis: Mets Acquire J.D. Davis From Houston In Five Player Trade

The Brodie Van Wagenen era in Flushing continues to take shape as the Mets acquired slugging corner infielder J.D. Davis from the Houston Astros. Along with Davis the Astros sent minor league utility infielder Cody Bohanek in exchange for our number 11 Mets prospect Luis Santana, 2018 12th-round outfielder Ross Adolph, and former NC State catcher Scott Manea. The Mets add a player with some interesting Statcast data and good Triple-A numbers albeit in the PCL. The Astros add an emerging talent in Luis Santana, as well as two system depth types coming off encouraging campaigns. Let’s dig a little deeper and dissect the return for each.

Mets Receive J.D. Davis, 1B/3B and Cody Bohanek, 2B/SS/3B

There’s certainly a chance that J.D. Davis is a diamond in the rough, held down in Triple-A for too long due to organizational depth on the corners in Houston. Or he might be exactly what he’s been: a borderline major league talent with plus raw power, but below grade bat-to-ball skills. Davis won the PCL batting title this year with a .342 batting average and has been a plus power hitter throughout his time in the minors. The Statcast data backed up Davis’ power during his 2017 stint in the big leagues, as he ranked 16th in Barrel%/PA. Those numbers slid back in 2018, as did his power numbers in Fresno. Perhaps the Mets believe that 2017 wasn’t a flash in the pan and view Davis as both competition for Jeff McNeil at third and a fill-in at first in the early going—before being relegated to a bench bat upon Peter Alonso’s ascension to Queens. The Mets have certainly bolstered their bench with the additions of J.D. Davis and Keon Broxton in recent days.

As for Bohanek he’s a no hit, utility infielder type that touched Triple-A, but he’s not someone I view as much more than system depth for the Mets.

Astros acquire Luis Santana, 2B, Ross Adolph, OF, and Scott Manea, C

The diminutive second baseman Luis Santana is the name that stands out here, and to many of our readers, the player in this deal of greatest interest. As part of a historically stacked Kingsport team, Santana set the Appy League ablaze, hitting .348/.446/.471 with 4 homers, 8 steals, and 27 walks to just 23 strikeouts over 242 plate appearances. This has been a breakout in the making as well for Santana. As you can see below, following a pedestrian beginning to his 2017 Dominican Summer League campaign, Santana’s number explode post July 6 staying above 137 wRC+ for the remainder of 2017 and the entirety of 2018.

Luis Santana wRC+.png

Santana uses the whole field and is adept at making consistent, line-drive contact with line drive rates in 22% range the past two seasons. He’s certainly capable of putting the bat on the ball, and his average fly-ball numbers don’t look too bad for someone who’s listed at 5-foot-8, but reportedly shorter. His short swing path, feel for the barrel, and polished approach make him a sure-thing for a full season assignment out of camp.

At the plate Santana starts with open stance similar to Ian Kinsler, but unlike Kinsler he involves a leg kick to engage his lower half. The swing is short to the ball, and his hands are noticeably quick. He’s a little noisy pre-load with a lot of “Sheffield-esqe” pre-pitch bat movement. So far it works, there’s maybe a little to clean up in his hands, but nothing I’m overly concerned about.

Ross Adolph was drafted in the 12th round out of the University of Toledo following a junior season in which he set the schools single season home run record. He’s a solid defensive centerfielder, with some power and the ability to run. At the plate he sets up at the back of the batter’s box, slightly closed, hands in with his bat on his shoulder. This allows Adolph to turn on fastballs in on his hand and drive them to his pull side. More than likely system depth in the end, but Adolph has enough skills to fight for the big leagues one day.

Scott Manea, the final prospect headed the Astros way is a neighbor of mine (seriously), and a player that caught a handful of times during his senior season at local powerhouse St. John’s Shrewsbury. He was drafted in the 40th round by Seattle but elected to attend NC State. He entered pro ball a few years later, but was signed as a free agent. The 2018 season was a breakout for Manea as he made strides both at the plate and behind it. He hit career highs in nearly every statistical category, trading in some walks for a massive increase in pull-side power. Another profile on the upswing, but more than likely a system depth player.