Texas Rangers: Grading the Jesse Chavez Trade with Chicago

The Texas Rangers made their first trade of the summer Thursday when they acquired prospect Tyler Thomas, from the Chicago Cubs for Jesse Chavez.

Rangers Get
LHP Tyler Thomas
Cubs Get
RHP Jesse Chavez

The Texas Rangers made their first big trade of the summer sending Jesse Chavez to the Chicago Cubs. Unsurprisingly, they acquired a young pitching prospect with upside, in Tyler Thomas. The Rangers were well known sellers in this season’s trade market and the top priority for them was acquiring young pitchers. They started off on the right foot when they acquired Jason Bahr from the San Francisco Giants earlier this month and continued the trend with Thomas.

What the Rangers Received

Tyler Thomas is a 22-year old left handed pitcher from Fresno State in California. A 7th round draft pick by the Cubs in the 2017 draft, Thomas spent his first year in pro ball with the Eugene Emeralds, Chicago’s short-season Single-A affiliate. Making 11 appearances out of the bullpen, Thomas impressed with a 2.33 ERA and holding opponents to a .227 batting average. Building on last season, Thomas moved to the Single-A South Bend Cubs. Working mostly as a starter, Thomas has posted a 3-5 record with a stellar 2.88 ERA through 14 starts. Opponent’s batting average dropped to .210 this year and he’s amassed 81 strikeouts in 75 innings. His stat that stands out most though is his Walks Hits per Inning Pitched which is a stunning 0.96.

Tyler Thomas isn’t a physically imposing pitcher on the mound. At just 6’1″ his fastball sits in the upper 80’s and sometimes crosses into the low 90’s. He has plus command though and an exceptional changeup as well as a slider. That top-end command is what has allowed him to dominate the Single-A level and is what gives the Rangers hope that he can develop into a quality Major League pitcher.

Grading the Move

He may not translate as a starter which is a bit disappointing. Generally, low velocity starters in the minors transition into middle relief roles in the majors. Like we mentioned above, his ability to command the strike zone is what had the Rangers intrigued. Not a highly rated prospect, we have to go on stats when judging Thomas but they are very impressive. Even in Single-A, his ability to hit the strike zone translates well to the big leagues which will help Texas. Additionally, Thomas has a lot of room to grow as a pitcher and represents an impressive return for a veteran long-reliever on a 1-year deal.

Grade: B+

Let us know how you feel about this deal and where the Rangers stand in the trade market this summer below.

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