The Orioles tonight acquired lefty-hitting outfielder Travis Snider from the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Stephen Tarpley and a player to be named later. To make room on the 40-man roster, they designated catcher Michael Ohlman for assignment.
Tarpley is a lefty that will turn 22 on Feb. 17. The Orioles selected him in the third round of the 2013 draft out of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College.
This year, he went 3-5 with an ERA of 3.68 in 66 1/3 innings with short-season Single-A Aberdeen. He began the year in extended spring training and is a pitcher that made strong improvement during the year. He ended it allowing just one run over 15 innings with 18 strikeouts in his last two starts for Aberdeen.
He is rated by Baseball America as the Orioles’ No. 16 prospect. Here is the scouting report I submitted to BA on Tarpley for their Prospect Handbook:
Tarpley was Cleveland’s eighth-round pick out of high school in 2011, but chose to go to Southern California where he made 13 starts as a freshman. He transferred to Scottsdale (Ariz.) CC and the O’s drafted him in round three in 2013 and signed him to a $525,000 slot bonus.
This left-hander with a very good arm made big improvement during a 2014 season that began with him struggling during extended spring starts and ended with him dominating at short-season Aberdeen.
Tarpley pitched in the low 90s, touching 93 and 94 with a solid hard curveball along with a slider and changeup. His changeup rates as his best secondary pitch due to his command with it. During the season, he made big strides in repeating his delivery, which led to more consistent command. If that continues, he may have No. 3 starter ceiling. He will likely begin 2015 in Low-A Delmarva’s rotation.
Meanwhile, now we find out if another team will claim Ohlman. The catcher was ranked as the Orioles’ No. 9 prospect after the 2013 season, but fell to No. 19 on the BA list after a 2014 season where he hit .236/.310/.318 with two home runs and 33 RBIs in 113 games with Double-A Bowie.
His offense fell off in his first season at the Double-A level after back-to-back seasons batting over .300, including a .313 mark in 2013 when he won the Carolina League batting title. His OPS fell from .934 in 2013 to .628 last year. Some scouts I talked to wondered if his offense would benefit from a position change.
As for Snider, on the plus side he has two seasons of team control remaining and is a scheduled to make $2.1 million this year.
He is coming off a solid 2014 where he hit .264/.338/.438 with 13 home runs and a career-high 38 RBIs in 140 games with the Pirates.
He had a particularly strong second half. Over 170 at-bats, Snider hit .288/.356/.524 with nine homers, 24 RBIs and an .880 OPS.
What is your take on this trade?