Cleveland Indians

Trade Analysis: Kevin Plawecki joins Tribe

This deal is a perfect one for both sides after the Mets signed Wilson Ramos and the Indians dealt away Yan Gomes. The Mets have Travis d’Arnaud and Tomas Nido around to backup Ramos if need be, and that made Kevin Plawecki expendable. The Indians have been in search of a backstop all off-season after sending Yan Gomes to Washington in one of their many cost-cutting moves of the winter.

Indians Receive Kevin Plawecki

The presence of Travis d’Arnaud and Tomas Nido behind newly signed Wilson Ramos made Kevin Plawecki the odd-man out for the Mets.

Plawecki was the Mets first-round pick in 2012 out of the University of Purdue. He’s spent part of four seasons in the big leagues with the Mets, and has been an above-average offensive catcher for the last two due to the plus raw power and above-average walk rates. The sub-par hit tool suffocates the plus power, and his ~48% ground ball rate over the last two seasons doesn’t help. Steamer projects Plawecki to hit .241/.313/.384, with seven homers in 296 PAs over 75 games. He should compete with Roberto Perez and Eric Haase for the starting catching job and would be a low-end fantasy option.

Mets acquire Walker Lockett, RHP, and Sam Haggerty, 3B

Walker Lockett made his Major League debut with the Padres last year and was moved to the Indians as part of the Padres 40-man roster crunch this December. It didn’t last long, and now the former top prospect is on the move again, this time to the Mets. This is what I wrote about Lockett in December:

“The Padres drafted the 6-foot-5 righty in the 4th round of the 2012 draft. He has battled shoulder and blister issues throughout his pro career thus far. He finally made his MLB debut on June 1st, 2018 filling in for the injured Joey Lucchesi. Lockett ended up appearing in four games for the Padres, making three starts and posting a disappointing 9.60 ERA. In 133.1 innings over 23 starts for Triple-A El Paso, Lockett struck out nearly eight batters per nine and had a 4.73 ERA (4.58 FIP). Lockett throws a 91-93 MPH fastball with some run and sink, an 80 MPH curve and mid 80s change.”

Nothing has changed here, and until Lockett finds a weapon to use against lefties its hard to project him as anything other than a depth piece. He should spend most of 2019 at the Mets new Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse.

Sam Haggerty was one of my last cuts from my Indians top 30 list and ultimately didn’t make the list due to his inability to stay healthy. Injuries hit Haggerty hard throughout his professional and amateur career at the University of New Mexico. He fell down to the 25th round due to an oblique injury that he played through, and the oblique popped up again in 2017. He missed some time in 2018 due to a shoulder injury.

His best offensive season came in 2017 while he was in High-A, and he hit .253/.355/.398 with three homers and 49 stolen bases over 501 PAs and 112 games played. The hit tool and power tool are both below-average, and always will be. Haggerty’s offensive value comes from plus speed and his ability to take a walk. He’s posted walk rates of over 11% at every stop and had a 15.9% walk rate in 2018 across Double-A and his Triple-A cup of coffee. He profiles as a utility option at the big league level but I’m worried he won’t hit enough to make up for the fact that he doesn’t play shortstop. He’s a strong defender at third and second base and there’s no reason to think he couldn’t be an asset in the outfield, but if he doesn’t hit it doesn’t matter. Haggerty is worthy of consideration for the backend of the Mets top 30.