The Phillies swung a trade today, adding some depth to their minor league system by acquiring C.J. Chatham from the Boston Red Sox.
#Phillies acquire INF C.J. Chatham from Red Sox for a player to be named later. Chatham ranked as the 14th-best prospect in Boston's system per @MLBPipeline To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Vìctor Arano DFA’d.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) January 18, 2021
You can see right there that Chatham was labeled as MLB Pipeline’s 14th best Red Sox prospect, but I prefer the guys over at Fangraphs. Since he’s too old to have made their 2021 list, here is what they had to say about Chatham prior to last season.
Chatham’s rather lengthy injury history becomes less problematic when you accept that his likely future role is of a part-time, bench variety. He’s a bunch of 45s on offense, he plays a fine shortstop, and last season he started seeing more time at other positions, mostly second base. He played some left field and third base out of necessity in the fall because some of his teammates went home early. He has an outside shot to be Boston’s starting second baseman next year, but we have him projected as a utility man long-term.
The worrying thing is that Fangraphs has done their list for Boston for this season and he didn’t make the cut even though it is 46 players deep. Maybe the upside isn’t there as it might be with other, maybe the injury history is just a little too much, who knows why they didn’t put him on the list.
Looking through his minor league statistics, there isn’t much to get excited about in the way of power, but the batting average is always up around .300. He doesn’t strike out too much, but also has little in the way of patience. The scouting report available at Fangraphs has a lot of numbers in the 40s on the scouting scale while Pipeline looks a little more optimistic, throwing some 50s his way.
It’s a good gamble for the team to take since they don’t have much in the way of depth at the upper minor leagues. In the past, they’ve relied on minor league signings to help pave the way for the season, but those guys didn’t have much of a ceiling left. With Chatham, at least you can squint and see a decent utility guy who can hit the baseball more often than not, something that has been missing from the hitting prospects of late (coughMoniakcough). Even if that ceiling isn’t very high, it’s not nothing. And with the Phillies, that’s something.
Let’s take a minute, though, to pour one out for Victor Arano. Injuries are just the worst. Poor guy had good stuff and just couldn’t stay healthy long enough to show it off. He’ll probably latch on somewhere, but if not, it wouldn’t be the worst thing to give him a minor league deal and bring him back just to give him one last try at Lehigh Valley to put it all together.