Scout's Take: Rangers land Lindblom, Bonilla

Bonilla finished last season in Double-A

As Michael Young agreed to waive his no-trade clause on Saturday, the Texas Rangers sent their club's all-time hits leader to Philadelphia in exchange for right-handed pitchers Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at the two hurlers with the help of a few pro scouts.



The Deal: The Texas Rangers traded INF Michael Young to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for RHPs Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla.

Although the trade had been in the works for the last week, it hinged upon Young agreeing to waive his no-trade clause, which he did on Saturday afternoon. The deal was initially reported by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News and confirmed by USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

As part of the deal, the Rangers will reportedly pay approximately $10 million of the $16 million Young is owed in 2013, the final season of his five-year, $80 million deal. Texas will also pay Young $1.2 million to cover the difference in state income tax.

I don't feel that I need to really write-up Young, as he's a plenty known commodity for Rangers fans. Here's a closer look at right-handed pitchers Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla:



Rangers Acquire: Lisalverto Bonilla, RHP

Date of Birth: June 6, 1990 (22)
Birthplace: Samana, Dominican Republic
Height: 6'1" Weight: 164
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Signed: December 2008 – International free agent by Phillies

The 22-year-old Bonilla was set to represent the Phillies in this past summer's MLB All-Star Futures Game, but he injured his right thumb while "clowning around with teammates in a hotel room" the night before the game. The injury ultimately required surgery and kept Bonilla sidelined for the remainder of the regular season. He returned for the Phillies' fall instructional league and is currently pitching for Escogido in the Dominican Winter League.

Ranked as the number 15 prospect in Philadelphia's system by MLB.com earlier this offseason, Bonilla has been considered an intriguing arm for a few years. He began to convert the raw talent into results in 2011 at Single-A Lakewood, where he posted a 2.80 ERA. Although the Dominican Republic native finished that season in the starting rotation, he returned to the bullpen full-time in 2012.

Prior to his injury, Bonilla had a cumulative 1.55 ERA in 31 total relief appearances with High-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. Over 46.1 innings, he yielded just 31 hits, walked 21, and struck out 64.

With Escogido this winter, the 6-foot-1 hurler has a 7.24 ERA in 16 appearances, spanning 13.2 innings. He's allowed 20 hits while walking six and striking out 17.

Although I haven't finalized this year's Lone Star Dugout Top 50 Rangers Prospects list, Bonilla will likely rank somewhere around number 30. He'll almost certainly open the 2013 season at either Double-A Frisco or Triple-A Round Rock with an outside shot for a late-season call-up if he refines his command and becomes more consistent with his secondary stuff.

I also spoke to a handful of scouts about Bonilla on Saturday, and most saw his changeup as a potential (though currently inconsistent) future plus pitch in addition to his good, lively fastball. All of the scouts saw him as a reliever with a seventh- or eighth-inning type ceiling. Here's what two of the scouts had to say:

Scout #1: "Good arm. I saw him at instructs after he missed some time due to a finger injury right before the Futures Game. He's smaller but a good athlete with a live 91-94 mph fastball and a solid slider. Likely reliever."

Scout #2: "Lean frame but has some muscle and he's athletic. Live arm. Works at 92-95 mph with a changeup and a work-in-progress slider. The change flashes but it's inconsistent right now and plays down to average. Aggressive, max-effort relief profile. The command is a bit erratic right now."

Year Team W-L IP H BB SO ERA
2009 DSL Phillies (DSL) 6-2 70.0 48 16 76 1.41
2010 GCL Phillies (RK) 2-1 32.1 32 5 38 1.95
Williamsport (SSA) 1-3 26.1 33 12 18 6.49
2011 Lakewood (A) 4-5 106.0 91 29 95 2.80
2012 Clearwater (A+) 1-1 13.1 9 4 18 1.35
Reading (AA) 2-1 33.0 22 17 46 1.64




Rangers Acquire: Josh Lindblom, RHP

Date of Birth: June 15, 1987 (25)
Birthplace: West Lafayette, Indiana
College: Purdue
Height: 6'4" Weight: 240
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Signed: 2008 – 2nd round by Dodgers

A former second-round pick of the Dodgers, Lindblom began his professional career as a starting pitcher before gradually transitioning into a relief role. He reached the major leagues as a reliever in 2011 and had success, posting a 2.73 ERA in 27 appearances.

After opening the 2012 campaign in a seventh-inning-ish role for the Dodgers (and pitching well), he was sent to Philadelphia in the Shane Victorino trade. Lindblom scuffled a bit in Philly, as he had a 4.63 ERA and issued an uncharacteristically high 17 walks in 23.1 innings.

The 25-year-old righty should occupy a middle relief role for the Rangers in 2013. He provides some much-needed depth to a Rangers bullpen that is still surrounded by a number of question marks. Aside from Joe Nathan, the newly signed Joakim Soria, and Robbie Ross, the club doesn't have a healthy reliever that's spent an entire season in the big leagues.

Following Saturday's trade, I caught up with one scout who provided some in-depth analysis on Lindblom:

Scout #3: "His makeup is off the charts. When he moved to the bullpen with the Dodgers, he really came after hitters. He got in there and threw strikes. His fastball can be a little straight at times––a little true. He's got some fly ball tendencies, especially lately. I know he's been working on a two-seamer recently and that could really help him. The stuff is fringy so he's got to have command. He'll be around 92 and 94 mph, but closer to 92 on most nights. I thought the breaking ball just went backwards a little bit late last year––that's something he's going to need to have to keep hitters honest. The stuff will play if the command is there and the breaking ball is 45 or 50-ish. He's a guy that profiles in middle relief and will have some success, but when he's leaving the ball up he'll get whacked. His command wasn't the same in Philadelphia as it had been in L.A. He didn't seem as comfortable. I think he's better than he showed in Philadelphia, but how much better is what we'll see."

Year Team W-L IP H BB SO ERA
2008 Great Lakes (A) 0-0 29.0 14 4 33 1.86
Jacksonville (AA) 0-0 5.0 5 1 4 3.60
2009 Chattanooga (AA) 3-5 57.1 55 14 46 4.71
Albuquerque (AAA) 3-0 39.0 34 12 36 2.54
2010 Albuquerque (AAA) 3-2 95.0 143 32 84 6.54
2011 Chattanooga (AA) 1-3 42.1 30 14 54 2.13
LA Dodgers (MLB) 1-0 29.2 21 10 28 2.73
2012 LA Dodgers (MLB) 2-2 47.2 42 18 43 3.02
Philadelphia (MLB) 1-3 23.1 19 17 27 4.63


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