After a 22-49 start to the season, the Royals are in sell-off mode, flipping Jon Jay two weeks ago and today moving the last remaining HDH member for three Washington Nationals prospects. The three players acquired are 23-year-old third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez, 21-year-old centerfielder Blake Perkins and 17-year-old right-handed pitcher Yohanse Morel.
In Gutierrez, the Royals are getting a 6’3, 215 lbs third baseman who played shortstop in his younger days before moving to the hot corner where he profiles well with a strong arm. At the dish, he has shown an ability to hit for a solid average (.285), but has yet to exhibit much of a power profile. For this deal to work out, Gutierrez is going to need to unlock his power and become an offensive threat. This profile is very similar to that of Emmanuel Rivera as a well-built corner infielder who is good with the bat, a good defender, but still waiting to unlock the power.
Via BP – The Good: Gutierrez has the chops to be an above-average third baseman, showing good lateral movement, plus footwork charging the ball, and plenty of arm for the position. At the dish, he demonstrates good hand-eye skills, tracking balls deep into the zone with plus barrel manipulation to work gap-to-gap. Despite a strikeout jump in High-A this season, the third baseman historically controls the strike zone and featured plus plate discipline in the AFL this autumn.
The Bad: The hit-glove-arm give Gutierrez three MLB tools, but his power lags well behind despite a body type and adequate strength to impact the baseball. Both the swing plane and approach orient to line drives, with Gutierrez working counts looking to get on base more than round them. While not a clogger, he does not offer any real value on the bases.
The Perkins part of the deal is very similar to the players the Royals have at High-A Wilmington already in a good defending outfielder with a patient approach. After joining the Nationals, Perkins was taught to switch hit but the left side has still lagged this season after showing some progress last year. The power altogether is lacking, meaning his game is built around his impact on the bases with his plus speed and defensive play in centerfield. At best he gives the appearance of a fourth outfielder.
The gem of the deal in the future might be the Yohanse Morel, a 6’0 170 lbs Dominican right-hander who can throw 95 mph with a decent slider.
Overall, this deal doesn’t look great, as the players in the return besides Morel look less than what the Royals already have in the system. This very well could be a reaction to Kelvin Herrera’s last appearance in which Sal Perez thought there was something going on while he threw. Perhaps the Royals thought they better get some kind of return before an injury occurred and left them without, similar to what happened with Greg Holland and Joakim Soria. While that opinion is understandable, I think this return is light and would have rather the Royals looked to add Seth Romero and the baggage that he may have brought with him instead of a few limited upside players.