The Denver Danger completed a trade today with the Montreal Metros that both sides seem to be content with.
The main feature of the deal is an exchange of 25-year-old 3B Alex Beuno who will join the Metros, while Montreal will send 1B Luis Santos to Denver.
Joining Santos in Denver will be 18-year-old prospect RHP David Velez, who had been scouted out of Cuba by the Metros organization in 2016. He was inserted into the Surrey Rage (which was the rookie level at the time), the same year, where he went 3-2 in 8 starts, holding a 3.61 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP at just age 16.
Velez could end up the key piece in this deal for Denver down the road, if he develops as expected. Despite encountering tougher batters as he moved up to A-level last year, he let up very few home runs or walks, while improving his K/9 as he progressed, though he spent some of his time at A-level in the bullpen.
Now 18, Velez still looks good to continue starting, and has made strides to improve the movement on his pitches, a small repertoire that includes a 95 mph heater, a decent curveball, and a slider that’s coming along. Velez is a great long-term investment for Denver, which has been weak in pitching prospects for years.
The other player Denver is receiving, Santos, will provide some immediate benefits. A gap-power righty who left San Diego to move to Montreal in mid-2016 and ended the year with a slash line of .270/.314/.377, he had an off-season last year but is clearly capable of coming up with key hits and is a capable defensive player as well.
Santos may not end up at the top of the batting order in Denver, but Bueno was not there either, instead relegated to the #6 or #7 slot in most of his appearances. With Montreal, Bueno is likely to get a promotion to #5, behind a solid power core of May-Ramirez-Chinchilla.
With Santos in Denver, there is room for growth, and his defensive skills will be put to good use.
Bueno has big shoes to fill in the Montreal lineup, after the departure of previous 3B Hoshi Mizuguchi, who went to free agency and then signed with Seattle. Mizu was the Metros top run producer behind Ramirez, with 20 homers and 69 RBIs, ending 2017 with a WRC+ of 145 (Ramirez had 193).
Bueno has some raw talent that could see him develop further, but he importantly he wont hurt the team defensively at the corner infield spot, whereas Mizu was sometimes a liability there, drawing 13 errors last season, for a fielding pct. of .950, the team’s weakest position on defense.
Montreal and Denver are both said to be pleased with the deal.