Future Friars: Scouting the Return From the Yangervis Solarte Trade

Credit: MiLB

This afternoon, it was announced that the San Diego Padres had dealt incumbent infielder and widespread fan favorite Yangervis Solarte to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The return: a pair of prospects with upside in outfielder Edward Olivares and right-handed reliever Jared Carkuff.

 

I had a couple of thoughts when news of the trade (and, shortly after, the return) first broke:

  1. Man, I’m really going to miss Yangervis Solarte.
  2. Who the heck are these guys we got in return?

Therein lies the beauty of most baseball trades, however: general managers identifying talent in the far reaches of others’ farm systems.

A little bit of research later, and a clearer picture of each of the organization’s two newest players begins to form.

Allow me to outline…

 

Edward Olivares (OF)

The majority of available reports on Olivares point to a player who has the upside to be A.J. Preller’s next diamond in the rough. Whether he reaches that ceiling or not, however, will depend almost entirely on whether the 21-year old can polish some of the athleticism he brings to the field.

Olivares’ calling card is his power-speed combination. Through 120 games split between Single-A Lansing and High-A Dunedin in 2017, the outfielder posted 17 home runs and 20 steals.

Credit: Blue Jays from Away

The speed is legitimate, with MLB Pipeline putting a 60 grade on it, and translates well to in-game situations on the bases. With a lanky 6’2”, 186-pound frame, Olivares also comes with some additional physical projection that should allow him to tap into his power at the plate more fully. A few mechanical adjustments will contribute to that projection further, as Olivares would do well to add more consistent leverage to his swing. That being said, the ball already jumps off his bat, and any added pop will simply be icing on the cake for a player who added 27 doubles and 10 triples to those aforementioned 17 round-trippers in 2017.

His biggest weakness? Discipline at the plate. As can be seen in the video above, he shows a propensity to chase pitches off the plate, and his swing, while short to the zone, fails to consistently cover the outer-third of the plate. Statistically, those bat-to-ball skills have yet to truly hold him back, as he still managed to post a respectable .269 batting average last season. However, as he faces more advanced pitching in the upper levels of the minors, improvements on a .30 walk-to-strikeout ratio will need to be made.

On defense, Olivares’ speed affords him enough range to competently cover all three outfield positions. Scouts grade his arm as strong enough to play in right, and he’s a feasible fit in both center and right moving forward.

Ultimately, the Venezuela-born Olivares (who slots in as the Padres’ No. 24 prospect per MLB Pipeline) joins other toolsy outfielders like Jeisson Rosario and Michael Gettys in the Friars’ system. Likely to begin 2018 in High-A Lake Elsinore, he has the look of a probable fourth outfielder at the big league level, though with some refining of his obvious physical tools, he comes with the potential to improve on that projection and make his way as an athletic, offense-first option for the Padres.

Jared Carkuff (RHP)

Less information exists on the inter-webs about the other half of the package from the Blue Jays, right-handed reliever Jared Carkuff (the video above was posted more than a year and half ago).

Credit: MiLB

A 35th-round selection in the 2016 draft out of Austin Peay University, Carkuff pitched at four different minor league levels in 2017, spending the majority of his time between Single-A Lansing and High-A Dunedin before a three-inning cameo at Triple-A Buffalo. Overall, he posted a 3.86 ERA over 63 innings, striking out 51 and walking just 15.

Carkuff’s primary offerings are a fastball that can run up into the low-nineties with some natural sink and a slider usually thrown in the low-to-mid eighties. Mechanically, he’s fairly clean, with the only complaint being a dose of rigidity in his arm swing. Between his pitching arsenal and his clean mechanics, Carkuff lives around the zone and keeps balls on the ground enough to have already advanced much farther than most 35th-rounders will.

At 24 years old, Carkuff isn’t likely to add much (if any) bulk to his lanky 6’3”, 180-pound frame, and at this point, what you see is likely what you’re going to get. However, that still projects as an arm with major league potential if things break right, even if his ultimate outlook is probably nothing more than the sort of ho-hum bullpen option only recognized by hometown fans. Expect him to join Olivares in High-A Lake Elsinore to start 2018.

Oh, the Carkuff clan also appears to be full of fans of questionable karaoke renditions, so there’s that.

When it comes down to it, neither player offers too much in the way of run-and-tell-your-friends career projections (American Idol aspirations aside). That being said, both have enough current talent and physical upside that it shouldn’t surprise anyone if either (both?) make their way to Petco Park in the next few years as semi-regular contributors on playoff teams to come.

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Noah Hilton

Noah is a current undergraduate at the University of San Diego. In addition to his classes as a Business Economics student, Noah serves as the scouting director for the nationally-ranked USD baseball team and as an NFL correspondent with The Mighty 1090. You can follow him on Twitter @thebackseatlamp


This article has 3 Comments

  1. Yeah, agreed with SD Don- I didn’t see any evidence that this pick-up was nearly as decent as you made it out to be. One article went as far as to say that his swing isn’t really mechanically fixable… and if the guy is really a free-swinger, you’d like to see a much higher contact rate already and it’s not there. It’s nice they’re stacking the minors but it would have been nice to get this trade swing for Headley, who in all likelihood, needs to be unloaded.

    I appreciate the enthusiasm but unless AJ has a crystal ball, this is very much a head-scratcher of a deal. Swapping a popular, cheap, and versatile utility-starter with some pop for a guy who has major plate issues in A ball is in short, stupid. He’s welcomed to prove me wrong but we won’t know for around three years, if we actually have a chance to remember that this trade happened. You know?

  2. I think you are reaching a little on your excitement level of this package. This is a RH 21 year OF who had a decent year in A ball but struggled in High A to the tone of a .576 OPS. As you stated he has plate discipline issues already. He is very similar to the tools as Gettys’ has, and will need to be protected in the Rule 5 draft next season or risk losing him already. So what we got here is a one year look at best.

    Rosario is LH and ONLY 18 years old with all tools at 50 or higher. House is a switch-hitter with better bat tool, power and is ONLY 19 years old.

    1. I agree — the questions about the hit tool introduce an additional level of volatility that has to be factored into his range of outcomes. That being said, the .576 OPS you mention came over just 19 games at High A — a small sample if ever there was one. Given his power-speed combo/20-20 potential, I don’t think a 4th-OF outlook is reaching at all (maybe the 60th-ish percentile of outcomes?), and I think you’ll find the majority of major baseball publications agree (Example A: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/instagraphs/padres-acquire-lottery-ticket-edward-olivares/). As a whole, the industry appears to be fairly bullish on Olivares. The good news? It seems he won’t have to reach his ceiling to be useful to the big league club down the road.

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