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A look at D-backs prospects sent, received in Starling Marte deals

Arizona Diamondbacks' Starling Marte watches his sacrifice fly off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Seven months after acquiring Starling Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a trade, the Arizona Diamondbacks flipped the center fielder to the Miami Marlins.

Arizona gave the Pirates a pair of players who were ranked by Baseball America as top-10 prospects in their system.

From the Marlins, the D-backs got back three players, two of whom have pitched in the majors this season.

That seven-month rental ultimately ended up being an exchange of Brennan Malone and Liover Peguero for Caleb Smith, Humberto Mejia and a player to be named later. Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro reported that pitching prospect Julio Frias is that player.

Let’s take a look at the prospects that have moved to and from Arizona over those two deals.

Acquiring Marte

On Jan. 27, the D-backs agreed to trade pitcher Malone and shortstop Peguero for Marte.

Malone had joined the D-backs less than a year before, as he was selected with the 33rd pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. MLB Pipeline reported that he had a fastball that regularly gets up to 96 miles per hour and a good slider.

In his first year of Rookie ball, the then-18-year-old Malone had a 5.14 ERA in seven innings over six starts.

The D-backs had picked four pitchers in the first two rounds, including two competitive balance selections, so they apparently felt they had the depth to give up one of them, though Malone was a top-10 D-backs prospect on Baseball America and MLB Pipeline rankings.

Peguero was also inside Baseball America’s top 10 D-backs prospects, but he was No. 18 on MLB Pipeline’s list. He signed with the D-backs as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2017.

He hit .309 in Fall Rookie ball in 2018, and then in 2019 batted .364 with five home runs and eight stolen bases.

As the case with Malone, Arizona’s depth in their minor league system allowed the front office to feel comfortable making the trade. The organization had shortstops Geraldo Perdomo and Blaze Alexander, making Peguero non-essential.

Peguero is now ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 5 prospect in the Pirates’ organization and Malone is No. 7.

Trading away Marte

Arizona stocked up on pitchers in the return for Marte.

Smith, 29, has enough MLB experience that he may be able to join the Diamondbacks immediately. He started 28 games in 2019 and 16 games the year before, but has only pitched one game this season.

Over Smith’s four years of MLB action, he has an ERA of 4.64 over 252.1 innings. He has started 47 of his 54 career appearances.

Mejia, a 23-year-old, was No. 30 on the Marlins’ MLB Pipeline rankings in 2019.

He made his MLB debut this year, pitching 10 innings over three games, all starts, and compiling a 5.40 ERA.

In the minor leagues last year, he had a combined 2.09 ERA in 90.1 innings between Class A and high Class A.

Frias is a 22-year-old that has been in the Marlins minor league system since 2015. Last season, his first higher than rookie ball, he had a 2.83 ERA in 14 starts in low Class A.

He was not on the Marlins’ top-30 rankings this season or last.


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