With the Pirates out of first place in the NL Central by only two games (as of this writing), General Manager Neal Huntington felt he needed to improve his team for the playoff push by acquiring LHP Wandy Rodriguez and cash from the Astros for prospects Rudy Owens, Colton Cain and Robbie Grossman.
The acquisition of Wandy likely kicks out right-hander Kevin Correia. Wandy instantly improves the Pirates rotation simply by not being Kevin Correia; also, it adds another lefty to a rotation that only had one left-hander in Erik Bedard.
Wandy has decreased his BB/9 by a full point this year as well as increasing his ground ball rate to 50% (45% last year). So far, Wandy has a 3.79 ERA and a 3.90 xFIP to go along with a 7-9 W-L record.
I can’t believe I’m writing this, but Wandy’s wins potential actually improves by going to Pittsburgh; and that’s actually two-fold. Obviously the Buccos are better offensively than the Astros, but Wandy also has much better splits on the road this year than in Houston. His BB/9 is 1.82 on the road (as opposed to 2.48 at home) and his HR/9 is 0.66 on the road (1.06 at home). The HR split is completely legitimate, because Minute Maid Park plays very well for right-handed power hitters.
Overall, Wandy’s value shouldn’t change too much; he still isn’t an every start pitcher, but now becomes pretty much un-droppable in deep mixed leagues, and is probably now a #2 or #3 pitcher in NL Only leagues.
Astros' GM Jeff Luhnow continues to stockpile prospects in an effort to improve a farm system that Sickels ranked 25th in MLB by acquiring three of the Pirates' top 16 prospects according to Baseball America.
Robbie Grossman, ranked as the eighth best prospect in the Pirates' organization by Baseball America, was a sixth round selection by Pittsburgh in the 2008 amateur draft out of Cypress, Texas. Grossman is a switch-hitting outfielder who led Advanced A in walks (104) and runs (127) in 2011. This season, in 95 games for Double-A Altoona of the Eastern League, Grossman is triple slashing .266/.378/406 with 20 doubles, seven homers, 36 RBIs and nine stolen bases. Grossman is also leading the Eastern League in free passes, with 59.
Colton Cain was a ninth round selection in the 2009 draft by the Pirates, also out of Texas. Cain, a 6-3 lefty, uses his deceptive delivery to attack hitters with a low-90's fastball, curveball and changeup. Thus far in 2012, in 16 starts for the Advanced A Bradenton Marauders of the Florida State League, Cain is 3-5 with a 4.20 ERA and a 2.04 K/BB.
The Pirates minor league pitcher of the year in 2009 and 2010, Rudy Owens, is a left-handed starter who features a not-so fastball a slurve and a changeup. Baseball America called Owens Pittsburgh's 16t best prospect, but noted he was experiencing some difficulties with velocity causing his secondary pitches to be less effective. In 19 starts for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians of the International League, Owens is 8-5 with a 3.14 ERA and a 3.4 K/BB.
Written by Joshua Kay (@RaysNut_1292) exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com
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