RedSox acquire RHP Zeke Spruill from Arizona for minor league RHP Myles Smith.

The Gray Eagle

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Spruill is a 25-year-old righty who had been DFA'd by AZ on the 8th.
 
Former second round pick of the Braves. Got absolutely torched in 79 IP in the PCL this year, but threw 22 decent innings in the majors. I have no idea if he is a sinkerballer, but the way things are going I wouldn't be surprised if he was.
 

foulkehampshire

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soxhop411 said:
#RedSox also acquired RHP Zeke Spruill from Arizona for minor league RHP Myles Smith. Separate deal.
 
https://twitter.com/PeteAbe/status/543566480437424129
link to tweet
 
 
 
He's another groundball-type pitcher.
 
Per bleacherreport:
 
"Spruill continued to gain consistency in 2012 and he looks like a solid number four starter at the big league level. His sinking fastball that generates plenty of ground balls will sit at 92-93 mph and touch 95. He trusts his heater and attacks hitters with it early in at-bats. His breaking ball shows as an above-average pitch and his change-up is certainly useable. He could use some polishing at Triple-A in 2013 but his big-league debut may not be far off."
 
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1499422-zeke-spruill-scouting-profile-on-prospect-reportedly-dealt-for-justin-upton
 
Edited: Removed the Irony. 
 

grimshaw

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Shockingly, he had a 51% gb rate last year.
Also - he was the first Zeke in the bigs since 1959.  There were 3 in the 1800's and then a nice long break in between Zeke's.
 

syoo8

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According to a report on Venom Strikes, he is indeed a sinkerballer.
 
 
 
Spruill continued to gain consistency in 2012 and he looks like a solid number four starter at the big league level. His sinking fastball that generates plenty of ground balls will sit at 92-93 mph and touch 95. He trusts his heater and attacks hitters with it early in at-bats. His breaking ball shows as an above-average pitch and his change-up is certainly useable.
 

Darnell's Son

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The Gray Eagle said:
Spruill is a 25-year-old righty who had been DFA'd by AZ on the 8th.
 
Former second round pick of the Braves. Got absolutely torched in 79 IP in the PCL this year, but threw 22 decent innings in the majors. I have no idea if he is a sinkerballer, but the way things are going I wouldn't be surprised if he was.
Here's a write up from 2013 on Spruill from Fangraphs:
 
The Scouting Report: Spruill has never been a big strikeout guy but his numbers dipped even more in 2013. He has a four-pitch repertoire — 87-92 mph fastball, slider, curveball and changeup — but he favors the first two offerings. He combined to use his fastball and slider 90% of the time during his big league stint. His slider is not of the swing-and-miss variety but it throws off hitters’ timings and helps him create above-average ground-ball rates.
The Year Ahead: Drafted out of a Georgia high school in 2008, Spruill already has six years of minor league seasoning under his belt but he appears headed back to Triple-A for a second tour of duty. I’ve said it before on this list and I’ll say it again: Arizona has a lot of pitching depth so the right-hander will be in a dogfight for a big league promotion.
The Career Outlook: Like Holmberg ahead of him, Spruill is a pitcher that projects to settle in at the backend of a big league rotation while providing a healthy amount of inning. He’ll keep the infielders busy with his ground-ball tendencies. Finding a consistent weapon to combat left-handed hitters might help him raise his profile a bit.
 

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foulkehampshire said:
 
 
Ironically, he's another groundball-type pitcher.
 
Per bleacherreport:
 
"Spruill continued to gain consistency in 2012 and he looks like a solid number four starter at the big league level. His sinking fastball that generates plenty of ground balls will sit at 92-93 mph and touch 95. He trusts his heater and attacks hitters with it early in at-bats. His breaking ball shows as an above-average pitch and his change-up is certainly useable. He could use some polishing at Triple-A in 2013 but his big-league debut may not be far off."
 
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1499422-zeke-spruill-scouting-profile-on-prospect-reportedly-dealt-for-justin-upton
 
This is not irony. Consider yourself warned.
 
 
grimshaw said:
Shockingly, he had a 51% gb rate last year.
Also - he was the first Zeke in the bigs since 1959.  There were 3 in the 1800's and then a nice long break in between Zeke's.
 
And a righty too, which goes along with Cherington's claim that the right side infield defense is most important for righty ground ball pitchers.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Myles Smith, although a 4th rounder in 2013, posted a 5.82 ERA and a 73/62 K/BB in 103 innings in A ball this year as a 22-year-old, so if Spruill is even marginally useful as a bullpen arm on the Pawtucket shuttle, this seems like a win.
 

SeanBerry

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I'm not going to say this was the reason at all for his lack of success at the AAA level, but sinkerball pitchers can really struggle in the PCL. Spruill is a guy who had success in other levels. I think he's an interesting pick up for the Sox and I wonder how he'll do in the IL. I don't hate his chances at all.
 

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grimshaw said:
Also - he was the first Zeke in the bigs since 1959.  There were 3 in the 1800's and then a nice long break in between Zeke's.
Zeke Astacio pitched 86.2 innings for the Astros in 2005 and 2006.
 

sean1562

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I dont understand why would Arizona do this. If he is a potential 4 starter why didnt they just keep him? I thought the whole point of trading Miley for them was so they could get some young potential 3-4-5 guys in their system? but then they trade this "projected 4 starter" away for a kid that posted a 5.82 ERA and a 73/62 K/BB in 103 innings in A ball this year as a 22-year-old?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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sean1562 said:
I dont understand why would Arizona do this. If he is a potential 4 starter why didnt they just keep him? I thought the whole point of trading Miley for them was so they could get some young potential 3-4-5 guys in their system? but then they trade this "projected 4 starter" away for a kid that posted a 5.82 ERA and a 73/62 K/BB in 103 innings in A ball this year as a 22-year-old?
 
I'm no expert on the Arizona farm system, but a "projected 4" isn't exactly the kind of guy you make moves to clear a rotation spot for.  He was DFA on Monday, so he clearly didn't figure into their future plans.  From the D-Backs perspective, this is probably nothing more than a "get something instead of nothing" trade.
 

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I wonder if this trade was essentially tacked on to the Miley trade since they couldn't agree on the last prospect. Arizona clearly felt they should have been given a bit more, so Ben offers another low-level player in exchange for the guy they just DFA'd?
 

Drek717

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NomosRubber said:
The Inn @ Pawtucket already looks full (Barnes/Owens/Rodriguez/Ranaudo/Wright).  Additional moves in the works?
I'd say Spruill is destined for the bullpen.  His PCL stint last year was just plain bad (makes you wonder about the DBacks AAA infield defense), but other than that every single sample he's got shows a heavy split or, when he had a strong season, good numbers against both sides of the plate.
 
Burke Badenhop has a similar tool set as a pitcher and for his career exhibits a significant split favoring RHBs as well.  The Sox picked him up last year and saw him produce career best numbers in ERA and FIP despite having the lowest K/9 of his career by a whole K, a jump in his BB/9 over the two previous seasons, and a WHIP still in-line with career numbers.
 
In fact, Spruill's small 22 inning sample size at the ML level last year saw him post a 2.56 FIP compared to Badenhop's 3.08.  For Badenhop last year was only the second time his ERA beat his FIP by a significant amount.  It was basically neutral in 2013 for Milwaukee and then in 2012 for Tampa it was a similar ~0.50 runs better to his 2014 season.  The entire preceding four years saw worse ERAs than FIPs consistently.  Spruill's ERA in the majors was about one whole run worse than his FIP.  For hsi entire ML sample (all 33 innings of it) he has also been massively better as a reliever (OPS against of .632) than as a starter (OPS against of 1.065).  Obviously incredibly small samples.  That was even true in his PCL sample where as a reliever he posted a 3.64 ERA with a .651 OPS against, a K/9 of 8.2, and a SO/W of 3.91.  As a starter he had a 7.12 ERA, .832 OPS against, K/9 of 7.1, and SO/W of 3.20.  His WHIP as a reliever was also 1.277 versus 1.484 as a starter.
 
Basically, the Sox probably think they've found a young Burke Badenhop under team control for peanuts, at a time when they feel there is a market or strategic advantage to exactly that kind of pitcher.
 
I'll add that I find it interesting how Badenhop's two biggest positive gains over his FIP came in the AL East.  While it would necessitate further analysis (that would take a ton of time) I wonder if the Sox have analyzed the division-wide track record of sinkerball/high GB% pitchers and found that the AL East, for whatever reason, shows a significant pro-GB pitcher trend.  Some reasons could be the smaller than average parks across the division or a more dramatic advantage gained from defensive shifts for GB pitchers (With Maddon being one of the first to go all-in on a wide variety of defensive shifts and the rest of the division adapting faster than the rest of baseball).
 
Whatever it is, the Sox really seem to think they've found something with GB pitchers the rest of the market is missing.  If they're right Spruill could be an absolute steal for someone who in Smith who likely will never sniff AAA let alone the majors.
 

Plympton91

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NomosRubber said:
The Inn @ Pawtucket already looks full (Barnes/Owens/Rodriguez/Ranaudo/Wright).  Additional moves in the works?
I wouldn't be surprised if Barnes and Wright are in the major league bullpen.
 

billy ashley

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
Myles Smith, although a 4th rounder in 2013, posted a 5.82 ERA and a 73/62 K/BB in 103 innings in A ball this year as a 22-year-old, so if Spruill is even marginally useful as a bullpen arm on the Pawtucket shuttle, this seems like a win.
 
Smith is a big armed college draftee who had very little experience pitching in school as he was originally a SS. He has always been ticketed to the bullpen due to the fact that he was really rough in terms of command, mechanics and lack of secondary offerings. The hope (I believe) was that the fastball would help him through lower minors and that he'd figure out the command and secondary stuff. According to Sox Prospects, his slider has looked good at times. Though his velocity has dipped at times due to altering his mechanics.
 
Basically, I don't disagree with MMS, no one should cry over Myles Smith leaving. He's more interesting than his overall line, but the chances of him figuring out are pretty small and the absolute best case scenario for him would be to become a high leverage reliever... and again, that's very unlikely.
 

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Plympton91 said:
I wouldn't be surprised if Barnes and Wright are in the major league bullpen.
 
Don't forget about Workman, Johnson and Escobar.  Maybe Escobar goes to the AAA pen, but unless Barnes, Ranaudo, Wright and Workman are all destined for the pen, there doesn't seem to be room for Spruill.
 

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grimshaw said:
Also - he was the first Zeke in the bigs since 1959.  There were 3 in the 1800's and then a nice long break in between Zeke's.
 
For all nine of the previous US-born players who knowingly went by the name or nickname "Zeke", none of them had the birth name of Zeke or Ezekiel.
 
phrenile said:
Zeke Astacio pitched 86.2 innings for the Astros in 2005 and 2006.
 
Yup. He's one of two known major leaguers in history with the Spanish version of Ezekiel as a birth name. The other, OF Ezequiel Carrera, is still active and signed with the Jays 10 days ago. So we may well see the first-ever MLB instance of an Ezekiel pitching to an Ezequiel.