Pirates Trade for Yamaico Navarro

Dec 8, 2011 by

Pirates Trade for Yamaico Navarro

The Pirates made a small but very interesting trade yesterday, picking up Yamaico Navarro from the Royals in exchange for Brooks Pounders and Diego Goris. Navarro was listed by Baseball America as the 12th best prospect in the Red Sox system heading into 2011, noting his bat speed and uncommon power for a middle infielder. Navarro put up these numbers for the Sox in 2010-2011 :

 

PA BB/9 K/9 HR AVG OBP SLG OPS wRC+
2010-AA 378 11.1 14.0 8 .271 .355 .416 .771 116
2011-AAA 149 11.4 16.8 5 .258 .362 .469 .831 129

 

After moving over to the Royals in the Mike Aviles deal, Navarro’s production slipped considerably, with his walk rate dropping to 6.9 and his ISO taking a hit from .211 down to .120. I don’t know if this was just a reaction to the trade, or if the Royals messed with his swing mechanics, but if Navarro can get back to his previous level of production he could turn out to be a significant acquisition for the Bucs.

Now here comes the disclaimer. The scouting report on Navarro is that he does not have enough defensive skills to be an everyday SS, but could stick at 2B. With that position occupied by Neil Walker, Navarro’s role with the Pirates will probably be that of a utility player who can fill in at SS, 3B and 2B, as well as the OF, and provide a contingency plan should Pedro Alvarez continue his implosion.

Brooks Pounders was the 2nd round pick in the nightmarish early rounds of the Pirates’ 2009 draft. Pounders is aptly named; although listed at 225, his weight has been an issue in his development so far. He did have an outstanding year at West Virginia of the SAL in his second professional season, at a league relevant 20 years old. He had a terrific K/9 of 9.8, but the Pirates used him in relief from day one, which means he has a long way to go to establish himself in the Royals’ system. I did not have Pounders listed as a top 30 prospect in my rankings.

Goris had a really good year in the Dominican Summer League, but it was his fourth season, and at age 20, he was very old for his level and probably a candidate to be released. I have heard no mention of him as a prospect.

This is a very solid, defensible trade for the Pirates. It will be up to them to get the most out of Navarro; he has been described as a bit of a malcontent who doesn’t take care of himself. However, his offensive numbers are very promising for a middle infielder. Even if he ends up in a utility role, he should be a solid contributor when the Pirates are ready to contend.

photo courtesy Keith Allison

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