The LA Angels recently completed a trade with the Miami Marlins, sending right-handed pitching prospect Tyler Stevens to the Marlins for lefty pitcher Dillon Peters. Peters was drafted in 2014, and despite command issues through Triple A and the MLB last year he’s shown enough talent to prompt a trade from Angels GM Billy Eppler. Dillon Peters doesn’t exactly jump off the page, so what exactly did the Angels trade for?
The LA Angels have sent Tyler Stevens, a 2017 draft pick out of the University of New Mexico, for Marlins 2014 draftee Dillon Peters. This move highlights the Angels win now mentality, trading for a piece that can affect the club now, even if it doesn’t seem so at first. Peters doesn’t look like an immediate upgrade, but there are some nuances that make this trade more worthwhile than it seems.
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Although Peters has had a rough go of it, pitching to a 6+ ERA in 59 IP through two MLB seasons, he is only 25 and ranked in the Marlins Top 15 prospects as recently as 2017. Still, this isn’t enough to call this trade worthwhile, but there is still more to be seen.
Dillon Peters isn’t exactly an explosive-pitcher, standing at 5’9 offers a bit of challenge regarding imposing dominance in his pitching and given his troubles pitching up in the zone he isn’t exactly beating hitters. However, the tools he has offer some confidence in his ability to get Major League outs from the bullpen with the Angels. He throws as hard as 94 mph and carries a pretty good curveball capable of getting MLB outs despite what his current numbers suggest. His issues are with command and given his size he should be a guy who pitches with surgical precision (at least mentally), yet he constantly allows himself to get wrecked up in the zone.
However (and this is a big however), Peters had success in the Minors, pitching to a 3.37 ERA in 339.1 IP with okay strikeout/walk peripherals. The issue with Peters isn’t his actual talent, it’s his utilization of it. While he has the stuff and talent to beat hitters he allows high contact rates, again an issue of working high in the zone too often, and his strikeout rates (7.6 K/9 in 4 MiLB seasons) aren’t strong enough to level out the hits he allows. He could be better at limiting walks (2.1 BB/9 in 4 MiLB seasons), which all in all shows that he is very much a fix-up player.
There are a few things that offer confidence regarding Dillon Peters journey to Anaheim. He has the tools necessary to find success in a Major League bullpen and we’ve seen a recent trend of ex-Marlins finding great success after being traded. Now I know Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton were already top-tier players before being traded, but if you apply this sentiment in a relative fashion we might see Peters go from high struggles to decent success. That’s all the Angels really need, players who can offer the opportunity for success to fill the gaps. Given their woes with keeping pitchers healthy it’s very smart to have guys at the Triple-A/MLB level ready to break in and contribute. Very similar to the trade of Ian Kinsler to Boston for Ty Buttrey and Williams Jerez.
A few things about Tyler Stevens, the prospect the Angels traded for Peters; he was drafted in 2017 out of the University of New Mexico after posting stellar numbers as a workhorse type starter. Though he has been working out of the ‘pen in the Minors he is very capable of a switch to starting. However, he may work better from the ‘pen given his imposing physique, mound explosiveness, and dominating mentality. I spoke to him this past season when he was with Class A Advanced and detailed his profile as a prospect, which you can read here. Overall he looks to develop into something worthwhile given his tools and success at the Class A and Double A levels in 2018. His potential ranges from multi-inning reliever to effective closer.
All in all this is a trade that is about winning now even if it doesn’t look to be all that fancy. Dillon Peters is a fix-up pitcher who very well can succeed in a Major League bullpen given his talents, yet he hasn’t applied his tools as effectively as need be which has contributed to his Major League struggles. It’s a trade worth making, though they are giving up a promising piece in Tyler Stevens. Really though, this is a lateral move. The Angels move Stevens, a young pitcher with a promising tool set, for Peters, a young pitcher with a promising tool set.
Although Tyler Stevens has applied himself effectively we haven’t seen effectiveness from Peters. This is a difficult trade to analyze, one that will be clear only in hindsight, though what we can see between the lines should offer enough confidence. The Angels are looking to win now, and though this move may not highlight this sentiment exponentially, it can’t be ignored that this is a move made to bring the Angels more opportunities for Major League success. From this we can confidently say the Angels are moving in the right direction.