It has been one month since the Los Angeles Dodgers moved four players to the Washington Nationals to acquire both Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. The move shocked a lot of people in the baseball world. Not only would the Dodgers receive a future Hall of Fame starting pitcher, but an All-Star shortstop. But what may have been even more impressive is what the Dodgers were willing to give up in the deal. Two top prospects were involved, including top-catching prospect Keibert Ruiz. In addition to Ruiz, the Dodgers sent their top pitching prospect Josiah Gray, who had recently begun pitching for the big league club. Now that the players have a month of game time under their belts, it is time to take an early look at how well the trades have gone for both sides.
Scherzer and Trea for the Dodgers
Max Scherzer has pitched in five games for the Dodgers and is 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. He has struck out 41 batters in 29 innings, which is 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Scherzer’s walk average is only 1.6 walks per nine innings. His home run average is only 0.6 home runs per nine innings. Max has given up five runs and two home runs since coming to the Dodgers. In other words, the Dodgers have been getting more than what they could have hoped for out of Scherzer in the trade thus far. Scherzer has been amazing.
For the Nationals, Max Scherzer pitched to a 2.76 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 111 innings. He averaged 11.9 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings. His home run rate was 1.5 per nine innings pitched. Scherzer is outperforming his statistics in Washington in almost every single category for the Dodgers, so they have nothing to complain about. The only statistic that seems to be worse is the number of hits per nine innings that Scherzer gives up, but we’re talking about a 0.1 hits per nine innings difference. The difference is so tiny that it is irrelevant. Besides, Scherzer’s WHIP is already lower in Los Angeles than it was in Washington.
Trea, the Secret Agent Second Baseman
Scherzer has been awesome on the mound and Trea has been absolutely unstoppable at the plate. Trea’s batting average has been the exact same since coming to the Dodgers in the deal: .322. His OBP is about a James Bond lower for the Dodgers than the Nationals. For Washington, his OBP was .369 and for the Dodgers, his OBP is .362. This is a difference of .007. But Trea has seen a drop off of .039 in his slugging percentage since the move to Los Angeles. His pretty .521 slugging percentage for the Nationals is now nice, but not as pretty at .483 for the Dodgers. These two slight decreases in numbers have combined to lower Trea’s OPS from .890 for the Nationals to .844 for the Dodgers.
One of the reasons for this may be that his fly balls are not leaving the yard as often and are instead turning into fly-outs. Trea’s ground outs divided by air outs statistic has dropped to the lowest of his career at 0.64. For the Nationals this season, it was 1.02 and it is 1.03 for his career. This shows that Trea has been getting out due to fly balls rather than by grounding out. But this is a tiny gripe, if you can even call it a gripe, as Trea’s OPS is .842 for his career.
Trea has played in 22 games for the Dodgers and has hit two home runs, eight doubles, walked six times, knocked in seven runs, stolen five bases, and scored 17 runs. In his 22 games, Trea has 28 hits. This man is nothing short of lightning on the basepaths as well. The Dodgers are undoubtedly happy to have him at second base for both this season and next. He looks great in the field at second base now too.
Top Prospects Gray and Ruiz Now With the Nationals
Since the move to the Nationals, Josiah Gray has pitched to a 4.22 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 32 innings. He has recorded three quality starts in his six starts. As a Dodger, Gray only had one start and it was not a quality start. His ERA was 6.75 and his WHIP was 1.50 for the Dodgers. But his strikeouts per nine, which was very high for the Dodgers at 14.63, has fallen to 9.28 for the Nationals. Keep in mind that Gray only pitched eight innings for the Dodgers, so it was a small sample size. And 9.28 is is still a great strikeout average for the 23-year-old righty.
JoJo also lowered both his walks and home runs per nine innings, which are 3.09 and 2.53 respectively since joining the Nationals. For the Dodgers, Gray averaged 5.63 walks per nine innings. His home runs per nine innings for the Dodgers was 4.50. So the Nationals are seeing the young pitcher progress well and should be pleased with him as part of the deal.
Ruiz Debuts for Nationals
Keibert Ruiz is making his debut as a National at the time of writing. The 23-year-old native Venezuelan catcher is 1-for-4 with no strikeouts in terms of batting. In terms of calling pitches, Nationals pitching has given up seven earned runs to the Philadelphia Phillies. In the minors for the Nationals, Ruiz amassed a .308/.365/.577 slash line in 20 games and has an OPS of .942 with five home runs, six doubles, 14 RBI, eight walks, and 11 runs scored in 78 at-bats. These at-bats came at the Nationals’ triple-A affiliate in Rochester.
As a Dodger this season, Keibert had one hit in seven at-bats, which was a solo home run. He made appearances in six games and struck out in five of seven at-bats. Ruiz also played in two games for the Dodgers in 2020. His career slash line as a Dodger is .200/.200/.600 with an OPS of .800. Ruiz went 3-for-15 with two home runs, two RBI, two runs scored, and eight strikeouts as a Dodger. Ruiz’s career minor league slash line is .301/.356/.453 with an OPS of .808, so the Nationals are looking forward to Ruiz progressing in the major leagues.
Carrillo Regresses and Casey Progresses to AAA
Gerardo Carrillo began the season in double-A for the Dodgers and is now in double-A for the Nationals. For the Dodgers, Carrillo pitched to a 4.25 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 59 1/3 innings. His strikeout average was 10.6 per nine innings. The nearly 23-year-old righty’s hits average was 7.4 per nine innings. After the move to the Nationals farm system, Carrillo has pitched to a 4.58 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in 19 2/3 innings. His strikeout average has fallen to 7.3 per nine innings. Carrillo’s hits average has grown to 9.2 per nine innings. So while Gerardo’s walk rate has remained about the same, he is giving up more hits and striking out fewer batters since the move to the Nationals.
Donovan Casey is performing much better than Carrillo. After the trade, Casey amassed a .347/.353/.612 for double-A Harrisburg to earn a promotion to the Nationals triple-A affiliate in Rochester. Since his promotion, Casey has amassed a .293/.370/.415 slash line in 41 at-bats. To add to that slash line, Casey has five doubles, three RBI, one stolen base, four walks, and eight runs scored in 41 at-bats. Casey also has 16 strikeouts in his short stay in Rochester. The 25-year-old outfielder’s OPS is currently .784.
Were Trea and Scherzer Worth the Prospects?
The Dodgers should not be upset about losing Keibert Ruiz. He does have great power and has amassed a great average in the minors, but the Dodgers already have Will Smith blocking his path. Smith has proven to be a clutch hitter and a solid backstop. As for Josiah Gray, the Dodgers may miss him a bit, but their roster is already stacked with injured pitching that would likely have blocked Gray’s path to the majors in future seasons. The best thing for Gray’s career was probably a trade like this. He will gain more experience from this move.
Not only were Trea Turner and Max Scherzer most definitely worth the prospects, but the Nationals also ought to be happy with the deal. Ruiz and Gray should be solid major leaguers as they continue to develop and accumulate major league experience. Donovan Casey seems like he may be on his way to the majors in the next couple of seasons. Time will tell what will happen with Carrillo. Scherzer is set for free agency after this season, but Trea Turner will be on the Dodgers through next season. Either way, the Dodgers are poised to make a run at another World Series title this season with their current roster.
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