A’s deal Josh Reddick, Rich Hill to Dodgers for prospects
Although Holmes (No. 82 overall prospect, according to MLB.com) appears, on the surface, to be the big prize of the trade, Cotton is not only more MLB-ready but also boasts a greater track record of dominance.
In five seasons since being drafted in the 20th round of the 2012 MLB Draft, Cotton has appeared in 94 games — making 59 starts — at all five levels of minor league baseball. Despite a mediocre 23-24 career record, the 5-foot-11 right-hander has posted a very respectable 3.77 ERA, while striking out 10.2 batters per every nine innings and 3.76 per every walk.
Using a low- to mid-90s fastball and a plus-changeup, the 24-year-old hurler has powered his way to the cusp of a big league debut. He also mixes in a curveball and slider on occasion.
Cotton has struggled a bit in his first full season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, posting a 4.90 ERA in 22 games. That number, though, lands him in the top 25 of the very hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League (PCL).
In his 16 starts, Cotton tossed one of just 11 shutouts in the PCL this season, and has the league’s fourth-lowest WHIP (1.15). His 119 strikeouts leads the PCL, despite having thrown just 97-1/3 innings.
Montas, 23, has made four of his seven appearances in 2016 with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Unlike Cotton, however, he brings some major league experience — having pitched in seven games with the Chicago White Sox. After being called up as part of the September roster expansions, the right-hander posted an 0-2 record with a 4.80 ERA.
In eight innings as a reliever he allowed just one run. His final two appearances, though, came as a starter, the second of which — on the regular season’s final day — he held the Detroit Tigers to one run over four innings while striking out seven.
The Dominican Republic product began the season shelved, having undergone rib resection surgery — removing the first rib on the right side. On June 24, he broke another rib. He had been expected to join the Dodgers postseason push prior to the latest injury, which he is expected to return from some time in the next month.
When healthy, Montas is a fireballer of the highest order — with a fastball that can surpass the 100-MPH mark. He backs the gas up with a mid-80s slider, which helps him to more than one strikeout per inning in his career — including his 20 strikeouts in 15 innings as a major leaguer. He adds a changeup, although as this point in this in his career it is not a pitch he uses much.
Holmes, taken in the first found (No. 22 overall) in the 2014 draft, is another high–velocity guy. Having been clocked into triple-digits, the 20-year-old righty more commonly cruises is the mid-90s, adding an average changeup.
En route to 100 strikeouts in 105-1/3 innings this season, Holmes also features a plus-curveball which is normally clocked in the low- to mid-80s — more standard of a slider. With High-A Rancho Cucamonga, he has gone 8-4 with a 4.02 ERA. Uncommon to power-pitching strikeout artists, Holmes has a knack for keeping the ball in park, having allowed just six home runs in 2016.
The South Carolina native is more of a high ceiling acquisition, offering expectations of future success rather than the near-future MLB arrivals of the other two pitchers.
Reddick, who joined the A’s after being traded from the Boston Red Sox in 2012, was slashing .296/.368/.449 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs, despite losing a month due to a broken thumb, this season. In his four-plus seasons in Oakland, the right fielder swatted 84 homers, knocked in 300 runs and won the 2012 Gold Glove Award.
Hill (9-3, 2.25 ERA) had been on track to make his first All-Star Game appearance before a strained groin landed him on the disabled list for a month. He was placed on the DL — his second stint this season — with a blister problem on Sunday.