On Tuesday, the San Diego Padres headlined by Yasiel Puig and Trevor Bauer. For their part, the Padres shipped outfielder Franmil Reyes, starter Logan Allen, and infielder Victor Nova in order to receive outfielder Taylor Trammell, who entered the season ranked as the game’s No. 11 prospect, according to Baseball Prospectus.
Why would the Padres do this deal? Our best guess is they think Trammell has star potential, or at least stands a good chance of being an above-average regular who contributes in multiple facets. Reyes has put on an impressive power display this season, but rival evaluators have concerns about his approach and his well-below-average glove. Allen, meanwhile, is considered more of a No. 4 starter. Both are valuable in their own right — and it wouldn’t be surprising if Cleveland gets the most out of Allen — but the Padres were dealing from a surplus given they have Hunter Renfroe and Wil Myers on their 25-man roster as well as a number of middle to back-end starter types.
What about Trammell — what makes him so appealing? You’ve probably noticed he’s hitting just .236/.349/.336 this season in Double-A, underwhelming marks that look better with added context. For instance Trammell, 21, is three years younger than his average peer and has dealt with both finger and hamstring injuries this season. Beyond that, Trammell still has good tools.
Scouts evaluate players based in part on five components: their ability to hit for average, their ability to hit for power, their throwing strength, their running speed, and their overall defense. Trammell projects to be at least average in four of those categories, with his substandard arm limiting him to left field. Otherwise, he’s a well-above-average runner and fielder who could hit leadoff thanks to his on-base skills. He may even tap into his raw power more in due time, giving him a shot at being a star-level contributor.
One rival evaluator compared Trammell’s likely production to longtime Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner. That may not sound like a compliment, but it’s intended as one: Gardner has accumulated more than 40 Wins Above Replacement, including five seasons where he’s tallied at least 3.9 WAR. Besides, Trammell’s physical attributes give him a chance to be even better.
Whether Trammell can live up to his promise is to be seen. But if so, this could be a case where the Padres consolidated some of their depth into another budding young star. Worst case, the Padres may have found their future leadoff man and a potential Gold Glove candidate.