Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Did The White Sox Make The Right Trade With The Diamondbacks?

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In a flurry of moves a few weeks ago, the White Sox added a couple new players to the 40-man roster. They traded Gregory Santos to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Prelander Berrora, outfielder Zach DeLoach and a draft pick in the Competitive Balance Round B. This was a solid trade for the White Sox, but they were not done that day. Later, they traded high potential pitching prospect Cristian Mena to the Diamondbacks for outfielder Dominic Fletcher. 

At first glance, this seems like a great trade, but later reports from Bob Nightengale show that the White Sox had the choice between Fletcher and another outfielder, Jake McCarthy. Now that begs the question, did the White Sox pick the right outfielder?

Both McCarthy and Fletcher will be 26 for a majority of the 2024 season, with McCarthy being slightly older. Age could have played a factor in Chris Getz’s decision, but with the age being so close, it likely did not. The one thing that is a big difference is the service time. McCarthy exceeded his rookie status in the 2022 season, which will make him a free agent in 2029, while Fletcher is still considered a rookie and will be a free agent in 2030, giving him that extra year of team control. This likely played a big part in the decision by Getz, as having an extra year of team control could be huge. 

But, on the other side of things, McCarthy has had more major league experience. That can be a good thing, as he has shown exactly what he can do, as opposed to Fletcher’s little time in the major leagues. 

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McCarthy has been in the league since 2021, where he came up in limited action, just playing 24 games. He did alright in his first stint in the pros, but 2022 is really where he showed up. In 99 games in 2022, he placed 4th in the rookie of the year voting. He hit .283 with a solid .342 OBP. He added eight home runs and 43 RBIs in that same time span. The most impressive part about McCarthy is his speed, as he added 23 stolen bases in that time. According to Baseball Savant, he is in the 99th percentile in sprint speed, which makes him one of the fastest players in the major leagues. This is something the Sox have been missing, so he could have been a nice addition. 

In 2023, he came back down to earth and played just above average. He hit .243 with two home runs and stole 26 bases. These are okay stats, but it seems that is closer to what he will do in the major leagues.  

He rates out as just an average fielder, so that is another consideration Getz had to make when choosing between the two players. 

Fletcher on the other hand has had limited playing time in the MLB, just playing in 28 games last season. However, he was much better than McCarthy, as he had more WAR than McCarthy in less time. 

Fletcher hit .301 with two home runs and had 14 RBIs. He did not steal a base but he did walk a decent bit, seven times in just above 100 plate appearances. According to Baseball Savant, Fletcher has a significantly stronger arm and is a better fielder. This is likely what lead to the choice for Chris Getz. The only category at this point that McCarthy is lightyears ahead in is speed, as Fletcher won’t offer much with his legs. 

Knowing what we know, it seems that Getz made the right choice as of right now. Whether that will age well remains to be seen, but Fletcher seems to have more upside. McCarthy could do well in more at-bats and he would have looked great leading off for the White Sox, but at this point we need more upside with the bat, and it seems Fletcher provides that. 

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