We all remember the 2017 trade deadline when the Texas Rangers sent Yu Darvish to the LA Dodgers for a package of prospects including OF/DH Willie Calhoun, INF Brendon Davis and RHP A.J. Alexy, right?
Hope you didn’t lock in your judgements of that deal just yet, because the A.J. Alexy is finally making his Texas Rangers debut against the Colorado Rockies Monday night at Globe Life Field.
The Texas Rangers will learn more about how the Yu Darvish trade went following A.J. Alexy’s debut
Alexy, 23, was having an outstanding 2021 campaign in the minors prior to his big league call-up, pitching to a 1.66 ERA in 65 innings pitched between AA Frisco and AAA Round Rock. He racked up 76 strikeouts in those 65 innings, along with a 1.02 WHIP.
The 22nd-ranked prospect in the organization by MLB Pipeline, Alexy had always been the most intriguing piece in the deal, with Willie Calhoun succumbing to numerous unfortunate injuries despite his talent and Brendon Davis, well… he’s with the LA Angels now.
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In retrospect, it’s easy to say the Darvish deal wasn’t a major success for either team. The Dodgers lost the 2017 World Series to those cheating Astros and Darvish would depart LA to sign a free agent deal with the Chicago Cubs that off-season.
Meanwhile, Calhoun has suffered many injuries and just hasn’t been the player the Rangers were hoping he’d be, save for a decent 2019 season. Combined with Brendon Davis leaving the organization, the Darvish trade sure has felt like a wash.
But A.J. Alexy’s case is precisely why you should reserve your judgments on these deals, in the same way that you should about the Kyle Gibson/Ian Kennedy and Joey Gallo trades from this year’s deadline: you just never know who might emerge.
You can even look at the Mike Minor deal with the Oakland A’s from 2020 and see that Dustin Harris has emerged from seemingly out of nowhere to become a fast-rising pipeline star. Again, it’s best to hold off any major evaluations of trades until the prospects received make their debuts.
It’s especially exciting that AJ Alexy is a pitcher, a position the Texas Rangers have had myriad troubles with in regards to development over the years. He will give the team a chance to rectify those misses and start laying down the path to a bright pitching future, just as Glenn Otto did for five innings on Friday night against the Astros.
Time will tell how the 23-year-old fares as a big leaguer, and we shouldn’t judge him after his first ever start. Nor should we finish completing our evaluation of the Yu Darvish trade until we’ve seen a large enough sample size.