So far, in his short time with the Chicago Cubs, left-hander Cole Hamels has done nothing but dominate for his new team, providing MUCH needed stabilization to at least one spot in the rotation through his first three starts: 18.0 IP, 11H, 2ER, 4BB, 20Ks.
Indeed, I doubt even the most optimistic in the Cubs front office thought things would go this well when they sent Rollie Lacy, Eddie Butler, and a player-to-be-named later to the Texas Rangers back at the deadline, but voila! Magic.
Speaking of that deal, and, more specifically, the “player to be named later,” it seems we’ve finally gotten a resolution:
Rangers have acquired OF Alexander Ovalles from the Chicago Cubs to complete the trade that sent Cole Hamels to CHC on 7/27. Ovalle was playing in DSL and had surgery to remove hamate bone last month.
— John Blake (@RangerBlake) August 14, 2018
The Cubs will reportedly send 17-year-old outfielder Alexander Ovalles, whom they signed in the 2017-2018 IFA period, to the Rangers to complete the deal.
I can’t claim to know a ton about Ovalles (even his signing bonus is difficult to drum up, though it must’ve been small because the Cubs were in the penalty box last year), but I can tell you that he was playing in the Dominican Summer League earlier this year and doing quite well for himself: .316/.430/.368 (137 wRC+). And although the power clearly hadn’t shown up yet, he was walking a ton (17.0%) and hardly ever striking out (14.9%). Or perhaps more to the point, a 17-year-old not hitting for power isn’t much of a problem. He’ll fill out.
Of course, as Blake points out, Ovalles had to have surgery to remove the hamate bone in his hand (a procedure you might recall from Albert Almora’s prospect days – it’s not that uncommon) and hasn’t appeared in a game since the end of June. What that’ll do to his immediate future is unclear, but he has a ton of time to get back on track.
It’s difficult to say what, or rather, how much, the Cubs just gave up in this deal, because Ovalles is very far away from the Majors, but I think it’s important to point out that, at most, he’s basically a lottery ticket. Maybe his early stats make the odds of that ticket hitting increase, but he’s a gamble nonetheless. Basically a perfectly reasonable inclusion in that deal.
In the meantime, the Cubs get a so-far-so-dominant starter at a time when they need it most. And that closes the deal for good. Eddie Butler, Rollie Lacy, and Alexander Ovalles for Cole Hamels.