Phillies Prospect Alberto Tirado Will Determine Payoff of Trading Ben Revere

The Phillies traded away Jimmy Cordero, leaving Alberto Tirado as the lone piece left from trading Ben Revere. Tirado’s future will determine the trade’s payoff.

Before the 2013 season began, the Phillies traded away two young pitchers in Trevor May and Vance Worley to acquire the light-hitting but contact-heavy outfielder Ben Revere. After playing two and a half seasons in Philadelphia, Revere was traded yet again to the Blue Jays for fireballers Alberto Tirado and Jimmy Cordero at the 2015 trade deadline.

Jimmy Cordero was traded to the Nationals this week for a player to be named later or cash. This came after the club designated him for assignment to open up his 40-man roster spot. With Cordero being traded, Tirado is the lone piece left to determine the outcome of trading Ben Revere.

I called Tirado a “pipe dream” after ranking him as the No. 24 prospect in the Phils system. He has an electric fastball-slider combination as well as a changeup that can work as a solid third pitch. He struck out 35.3% of opposing hitters in 61.1 innings at Low-A Lakewood this season with that effective arsenal.

Why Tirado is still stuck in the lower-minors despite turning 22 in December is because of his completely nonexistent control. While he strikes out batters at an extremely high rate, he walks batters just as much. Tirado walked 13.2% of opposing hitters in his stint at Low-A this season.

The front office added Tirado to the 40-man roster this week in order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.

So either a) the club believes he can be a major-league contributor at some point or b) another team feels that they could stash Tirado in their bullpen in 2017 as they try to reign in his control.

For Tirado to be equal compensation for the Phillies, he should equal the value they got from Revere as well as the value he provided for Toronto. In two and a half seasons in Philadelphia, Revere racked up 3.6 Baseball Reference wins above replacement along with 0.6 rWAR for Toronto in his half season there. Revere averaged 1.4 rWAR per season in that three-year span, with 2.6 coming in 2015.

When Dan Farnsworth of Fangraphs evaluated the team’s prospects prior to the 2016 season, he gave Tirado a future value of 40-45.

According to their ratings, that translates to a middle reliever or low-end setup man in the bullpen, which is where Tirado is likely to end up. Those roles equate to about 1-1.5 WAR per season. There’s the dream scenario where Tirado finds his control, making him an ideal closer. That would be lovely, but it looks highly unlikely.

If Tirado can fill into his likely future role as a mid-tier reliever, he could equal the production the Phils and Blue Jays got in Revere’s time there. However, Tirado has to show he can sustain success in the upper-minors, and that is no surefire thing with control erratic as his.

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