As most, if not all of you know, Ike Davis was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on the evening of April 19th. Some of you may also know that the Mets acquired soon to be 26-year old Zach Thornton; a somewhat underwhelming reliever in the Pirates system. Now, what I am certain that none of us know is the name of the second player involved in the deal; the mysterious player-to-be-named-later (PTBNL).
So if we don’t know the name of the PTBNL, what do we know?
In a series of tweets by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, he speculates that the PTBNL will be “pretty significant” and is “expected to be a 2013 draft piece.”
This makes sense due to the fact that players who were drafted in 2013 are not eligible to be traded until one year after they sign with their respective teams.
Also, according to John Harper of the New York Daily News, Sandy Alderson insists that the value of the PTBNL has not changed from the type of return they could have received in the offseason when they were reportedly offered lefty Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles for Davis.
This likely eliminates the possibility that either 2013 first round picks Austin Meadows (#9 overall) or Reese McGuire (#14 overall) are the PTBNL because if Sandy could have gotten that kind of return in the offseason, it’s safe to say Ike Davis would have been on a different team to begin the season.
There has been considerable buzz around four players, specifically, that are rumored to be the PTBNL. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Standing at 6’3” and weighing in at 195 pounds, 18-year-old Blake Taylor is a lefty that has the potential to start in the big leagues. His fastball already sits in the low-90’s but his frame suggests he may be able to add a bit more ticks to his fastball as he matures. His repertoire also boasts a solid average to above average curve and his control is decent. For Taylor to stick as a starter, though, he’ll need to develop a third pitch, likely a changeup.
Former LSU tiger JaCoby Jones was drafted in the third round (#87 overall) of the 2013 draft purely based on his raw potential. Jones has always had the athleticism and tools to be a five-tool player, he just never put it together in his college career. With speed that has been described as plus to plus-plus, the Pirates decided to take a leap on him early in the draft with the hopes he could reach his potential. He saw time at both shortstop and centerfield during his pro debut but was eventually sidelined with a knee injury.
Dickson has a similar skillset to left handed pitcher Blake Taylor but he was drafted two rounds later and is a few years older. He sits in the low 90’s with his fastball and occasionally touches the mid-90’s; something he could probably do regularly once he matures. Dickson also has a killer curve in his arsenal that he uses to get strikeouts. With an improved changeup and better control, Dickson profiles in the middle of a rotation. If he can’t improve much on his current stuff, he profiles in the bullpen.
John Harper speculates that the PTBNL could possibly be 18-year-old Neil Kozikowski, whom the Pirates drafted in the eighth round of the 2013 draft. Kozikowski only throws in the high 80’s right now but is very projectable, standing at 6’4” and weighing 180 pounds. His arsenal reportedly consists of a fastball, slider, changeup and cutter and he apparently throws with a ¾ arm slot. Harper mentions that a Mets scout saw him before the draft last spring and really liked him.